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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

History and Sources of Travel

Guide to researching the history of travel, and finding primary sources of travel.


On this page you will find digital collections that are hybrid in nature--the collections tend to include a mixture of document types, and are organized around a specific theme or are of inquiry.

This page could have been organized in any number of ways, and we have chosen to organize it by travel destination; however, it features collections that document different kinds of travel:

  • travel for pleasure, or tourism;
  • travel for scientific discovery, or exploration;
  • travel for migration and colonization;
  • travel for trade and diplomacy;
  • and travel for religious evangelism, or missionary work.

Most of the collections on this page are digital collections, but sometimes even digitized sources are most easily discovered using the kinds of reference tools listed on the page "Reference Sources".

For an even more extensive list of digitized primary source collections, please see our Digital Collections guide.


North America

South America and the Caribbean

Asia and the Pacific

Africa and the Middle East