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Global History in the Age of Discovery

September 5, 2018
University Libraries

European travel, trade and colonial ambition increased dramatically in the century and a half following Christopher Columbus’s 1492 encounter with the Americas.

Coinciding with the advent of the printing press and a renewed interest in the great writers of classical antiquity, this Age of Discovery fueled scholarly attempts to write and rewrite global history.

“Histories of the World: Global History in the Age of Discovery” is an exhibition at Wilson Library that explores the genre of historical scholarship from the late-fifteenth century through the mid-seventeenth century, a transformative time in Europe’s conception of the global past.

The exhibition draws on the Rare Book Collection and North Carolina Collection, both at the Wilson Special Collections Library, including select items from the University Libraries’ Sir Walter Raleigh Collection. Elizabeth Ott, Frank Borden Hanes Curator of Rare Books at Wilson Library, said that the collection is both rare and significant.

“Nearly every work in it is a scarce work,” she said. “These are items held only by a few libraries.”

Among the materials in the Raleigh Collection and in the exhibition is Sir Walter Raleigh’s own History of the World (1616), composed during his imprisonment in the Tower of London.

“Histories of the World: Global History in the Age of Discovery” is presented in conjunction with “Raleigh 400: A Conference on Sir Walter Raleigh Four Hundred Years After His Death.” The scholarly conference will take place Sept. 6 – 8, 2018, at Wilson Library.

The exhibition will be on view through Jan. 6, 2019, in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room. It is free and open to the public. Also on view, through Jan. 31, 2019, will be “Sir Walter Uncloaked: The Man, the Myths, the Legacy” in Wilson Library’s North Carolina Collection Gallery.

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