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Collection Sir Francis Drake (Kraus Collection)

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Digital Collections

Jay I. Kislak Collection

The Jay I. Kislak Collection of the Archaeology and History of the Early Americas is composed of important archaeological artifacts, rare books, manuscripts, maps and graphic works of art, which survey the earliest history of the lands that would become known as the Americas. The dates of the collection items range from around 2000 BCE until the twenty-first century.

Discovery and Exploration

From the Geography Division and Maps Division, this category documents the discovery and exploration with both manuscripts and published maps. Many of these maps reflect the European Age of Discoveries, dating from the late 15th century to the 17th century when Europeans were concerned primarily with determining the outline of the continents as they explored and mapped the coastal areas and the major waterways. Also included are 18th and 19th century maps documenting the exploration and mapping of the interior parts of the continents, reflecting the work of Lewis and Clark and subsequent government explorers and surveyors.

Puerto Rico at the Dawn of the Modern Age: Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century Perspectives

Puerto Rico at the Dawn of the Modern Age encompasses historically important writings by prominent Puerto Rican political activists and historians dating from approximately seventy years before the Spanish-American war (1831) until some thirty years after it (1929). Texts from the postwar period include the only English-language works in the collection. Among these are soldiers' reminiscences about the conflict and short histories designed to acquaint an American audience with Puerto Rico in the earliest years of its affiliation with the United States.


1492: An Ongoing Voyage

The exhibition examines the first sustained contacts between American people and European explorers, conquerors and settlers from 1492 to 1600. During this period, in the wake of Columbus's voyages, Africans also arrived in the hemisphere, usually as slaves. All of these encounters, some brutal and traumatic, others more gradual, irreversibly changed the way in which peoples in the Americas led their lives.

The Huexotzinco Codex, 1531

An eight-sheet document on amatl, a pre- European paper made in Mesoamerica. It is part of the testimony in a legal case against representatives of the colonial government in Mexico, ten years after the Spanish conquest in 1521. Huexotzinco (Way-hoat-ZINC-o) is a town southeast of Mexico City, in the state of Puebla. In 1521, the Nahua Indian people of the town were the allies of the Spanish conqueror Hernando Cortés, and together they confronted their enemies to overcome Moctezuma, leader of the Aztec Empire.

A New World

Online exhibition of the Library of Congress' treasures of New World maps including those of early America.