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History of the British Empire (1815-1914)

This guide provides links to primary and secondary sources related to the History of the British Empire.

British Empire in Africa: Digitized Primary Sources

  • The Anti-slavery reporter and aborigines' friend (1840-1940s) - A newsletter for the members of a British anti-slavery society. While advocating for an end to slavery, this society also promoted British military intervention in (and ultimately, the colonization of) numerous places in Africa.
  • "Cape to Cairo" - British books (1880s-1910s) related to the Empire's expansion on a north-south axis from South Africa to Cairo. 
  • Colonial Office Reports related to Africa, 1815-1914 - published reports by the Colonial Office of the British government.
  • "Dark Continent" - British sources referring to Africa as the "Dark Continent," a trope that characterized Africa as mysterious, dangerous, and primitive; mostly published 1870s-1910s. 
  • David Livingstone - Large collection of archives & other material related to the British Explorer David Livingstone. 
  • Missions - books & serials - On missions in Africa, 1815-1914. Missionaries often arrived a decade or two before colonization. Most of these sources are British; some are American. 
  • Missionary archival papers collected by Cambridge U. related to Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania, and others. 
  • Travel Narratives - British and other accounts (mostly European or American) of travel in Africa, 1815-1914. These books helped to form popular views in Britain on African colonies.