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World History - Primary Documents: Home

This guide contains two bibliographies for research projects using historical primary documents in the field of world history and is for use both by students and faculty; see the Introduction for further details.


The content in this research guide is the result of a sabbatical project by Nenagh Brown, Professor of History at Moorpark College, during the fall of 2021.  It is broadly divided into two parts.  The first, the greater part, is an annotated bibliography of over 200 freely-available online primary documents that can be used by professors and their students in world history courses (defined as all history courses that are not focused on the United States of America).  As a result of this work there is also a second shorter bibliography of databases that contain more primary documents that professors and students can search to find further sources; this is included as an appendix to the main bibliography.

The project started as a response to Moorpark College’s renewed commitment to creating an academic community that is anti-racist, inclusive, and equitable.  The goal is to broaden the primary documents used in classes at Moorpark to include more voices from our rich shared history. Traditionally such sources emphasize elite white men; this research guide allows students to hear the diverse voices of people of different genders, ethnicities, religions, and social groups.

The work of this sabbatical project was compiled into a LibGuide by Faten Habib, adjunct librarian at Moorpark College. Thanks to this work, these resources are now available to all history professors and their students at Moorpark College and within the Ventura County Community College District. 

Both bibliographies are freely available to all users under the following license:

Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Nenagh Brown,
Professor of History
Moorpark College, 2022


Sati Relief Memorial Image

“Sati Relief Memorial.” In Daily Life through History, ABC-CLIO, 2021. Image.

This annotated bibliography consists of over 200 primary documents by diverse authors from around the world drawn from prehistory to the present for the use of world history professors and their students.


The primary documents are organized first by history period, then within each period by geographic region, and finally within each region by date, as follows. Users can thus quickly search through the sources to find those that might be of use to them.

I           Early Complex Societies:
Africa (North), Asia (Southwest, South), Europe   

II         The Classical Period (c. 1000 BCE - 500 CE)
Africa (North), Asia (Southwest, South, East), Europe                        

III        The Post-Classical Period (c. 500 – 1500 CE)
Africa (Sub-Saharan, North), Asia (Southwest, South, East, Centreal), Europe, America (South                                 

IV        The Early Modern Period (c. 1550- 1750 CE)
Africa (Sub-Saharan), Asia (South, East), Europe, America (Meso-)

V         The Long Nineteenth Century (c. 1750 – 1914)
Africa (Sub-Saharan), Asia (Southwest, South, Southeast, East, Central), Europe, America

VI        The Modern Period (c. 1914 – the present)
Africa (Sub-Saharan), Asia (South, Southeast, East, Central), Europe, America (South), Global Primary Documents


Each primary document entry in this LibGuide includes the following information.

1. Title of document (year, author/s if known, abbreviated title, type of source if necessary, place of production)
2. Brief description of document
3. Database from which it is drawn
4. Notes for the user, including any other resources the database might provide to help working with the document
5. The document URL link
6. A link to any other resources about the document as in (4)
7. Citation format for users to copy and paste to give required credit when using the document”

Note: Some of the documents listed in this research guide have an asterisk. This indicates the document link is to a subscription database; students can obtain it for free if the college library has subscribed to the source. Moorpark College users have access to all the sources.

A fuller version of this annotated bibliography of primary sources is also available in this pdf format: Bibliography of Diverse World History Primary Documents