Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, and Conquest

The arrival of missionaries and explorers to the “Dark Continent” in the late 18th and early 19th centuries heralded the beginning of  Europe’s attempts to ‘Christianise’ Africa; to “commercialise” it as a source for raw materials; and to “civilise” it through waves of European settlers and the  establishment of European political institutions. Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, and Conquest provides 1.5 m pages of primary sources that enable researchers to examine the motivations, activities and results of the European conquest of Africa in the long 19th century.

Key topic areas include:

• Partition of Africa and British Imperial Policy
• The Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902
• Jameson Raid
• Geopolitical rivalry between Britain, France and Germany
• Explorers use of rivers as highways to the interior of Africa
• Anglo-French relations and the Fashoda Incident
• The Witwatersrand Gold Mining Industry
• Miner-Farming Disputes in Zimbabwe
• Missionaries efforts to suppress the slave trade
• Origins of Corporate Capitalism in South Africa
• The Dream of an Afrikaner Utopia
• Classifying Race
• African response to Imperialism
• Colonial and Customary Law
• Chinese Emigration

The two key themes of this archive are:

• Exploration, military, and missionary activities
• Economic and political imperialism in Africa in the last quarter of the 19th century

These themes enable researchers to trace the development of missionary work and exploration in central and southern Africa. Monographs, manuscripts, and newspaper accounts cover issues of economics, world politics, and international relations; while government documents and political papers of prominent individuals provide a behind the scenes view of  the development of British, French, German and Italian expansionist strategies in Africa.

Collections include:

Annual Reports of French Colonial Governments, 1854-1922, Library of Congress
Annales de l'Extrême Orient et de l'Afrique, 1878-1891, Library of Congress
Deutsche Kolonialzeitung, 1884-1922, Library of Congress
Exploration and Colonization of Africa (CO 2 & CO 392), 1794-1844, The National Archives (Kew, United Kingdom)
International Population Census, Africa 1820-1931, U.S. Census Bureau Library
Joseph Chamberlain Papers Relating to Africa, 1893-1903,University of Birmingham
Selected Colonial Office Files on Africa, 1794-1919, The National Archives (Kew, United Kingdom)
Selected Maps & Plans (MFQ) Files on Africa, 1896-1904, The National Archives (Kew, United Kingdom)
Southern African Newspapers from the Library of Congress, 1845-1917

Documents were sourced from The National Archives (Kew, United Kingdom), The U.S. National Archives, University of Birmingham,  Library of Congress, and Divinity School Library, Yale University.

Advisory Board Contributors:

• Charles Reed, History Department, ECSU -
• Richard N. Price, History Department, Univ of Maryland -

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