Valuable Online Resources for Students of History

The Internet contains many wonderful resources for researching history. It also contains a lot of unsupported opinions, misguided and misleading one-sided screeds, and downright falsehoods. Peer-edited online encyclopedias, while usually reliable, are subject vandalism and change without warning. What is a poor student of history to do?

Thankfully, we’ve sampled hundreds of history websites to bring you this collection of some of the most compelling, reliable, and helpful resources available today. These sites will whet your appetite for history. So if you’re gathering source material, looking to plan a project, or need some guidance with writing process, you’ve come to the right place.

Tricks of the Historian’s Trade

  • Bowdoin College provides a comprehensive guide to “Reading, Writing, and Researching for History.” This resource is full of helpful hints aimed at college students and even includes a short version for students in a hurry.
  • The Dartmouth College Writing Program offers helpful tips and tricks for writing history papers. This site also includes links to helpful research sites and other resources for non-History majors.
  • H-Net Discussion Networks is the primary online space for historians to gather to discuss the latest research, teaching, and controversies both new and old. Your history professor is probably here. The archive is searchable by keyword, so if you want to know what the professionals are saying about your topic, here’s where you go.

Multi-Regional and Multi-Era Research Sites

  • The British Museum, the granddaddy of museums, offers an impressive array of original documents and published papers online.
  • The Internet Ancient History Sourcebook boasts an enormous collection of original texts and public domain sources. This site features sections on ancient, medieval, and modern history, as well as subject-matter collections like women’s history and Chinese studies.
  • Spartacus Educational is home to a huge archive of historical information on a wide range of subjects. While the homepage is a bit haphazardly organized, the subject pages are extensive and easy to navigate. Articles are extensively linked so you can check the sources.

African History

  • Afriterra.org maintains a fine collection of historic maps of Africa and contains many high-resolution images.
  • The African Activist Archive is resource for information about American activism against apartheid and colonialism from the 1950s through the 1990s.
  • The African Online Digital Library presents “Africa Past and Present,” an ongoing series of podcasts about African history and current events from scholars of Africa.
  • Aluka describes itself as a “digital library of scholarly resources from and about Africa.” This informative site includes articles and primary source documents about contemporary Africa, African independence movements, and ancient African history.

Ancient History through the Middle Ages

Asian History

  • The Central Intelligence Agency’s China Collection is part of the Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room. Browse the CIA’s archive of National Intelligence Estimates regarding China going back about seventy years.
  • The Islamic World to 1600 provides a detailed political history of the Islamic world from the founding of Islam through the classical period. These articles from the University of Calgary are extensively linked.
  • Japanese Historical Maps offers over 1100 digitized maps and images from the seventeenth century up through the twentieth century. These resources are searchable by time period, region, and artist.
  • MANAS, UCLA’s clearinghouse of all things India, has extensive art and history sections with original documents and articles.
  • The Metadata Database of Old Japanese Photographs is an extensive collection of photos from the dawn of photography through the Meiji period.
  • The Silk Road Project explores the cultural and financial along the storied route from China to Europe from the first century AD through the seventeenth century. This resource contains maps, art exhibits, original documents, and informative web pages.
  • Southeast Asia Visions maintains an interesting collection of European accounts of travel in pre-modern Southeast Asia.

European History

  • Washington State University’s Discovery and Reformation Gallery, as part of the “World Civilizations Internet Classroom and Anthology” project, this source offers a nice overview of the Age of Discovery and the Reformation, with lecture notes, maps, and primary sources.
  • The University of Maryland’s Early Modern Women Database features primary and secondary sources concerning the varied experiences of women from the fourteenth century up through the modern age.
  • Lectures on 20th Century Europe showcases 16 full-text lectures on the political, military, and intellectual happenings of this most eventful century. This source also includes links to other digitized resources.
  • Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution, an online resource maintained by George Mason University and the City University of New York, boasts an extensive collection of French Revolution-related articles and sources.
  • The Uffizi Gallery site houses online samples and information about the art of the famed Italian museum.
  • The Waters of Rome , part of the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, contains maps, timeline, and all the information you could have ever wanted about medieval Italian sewage systems. Don’t miss this “cartographic history of nearly 2800 years of water infrastructure and urban development in Rome.”

History of the Americas

United States History

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