Confidential Print: Africa, 1834-1966


The Confidential Print series was issued by the British Government between c. 1820 and 1970. The series originated out of a need to preserve the most important papers generated by the Foreign and Colonial Offices. These range from single-page letters or telegrams to comprehensive dispatches, investigative reports and texts of treaties. All items marked ‘Confidential Print’ were printed and circulated immediately to leading officials in the Foreign Office, to the Cabinet, and to heads of British missions abroad.

From coastal trading in the early nineteenth century, through the Conference of Berlin of 1884 and the subsequent Scramble for Africa, to the abuses of the Congo Free State, fights against tropical disease, Italy’s defeat by the Abyssinians, World War II, apartheid in South Africa and colonial moves towards independence, the documents in Confidential Print: Africa cover the whole of the modern period of European colonization of the continent.

The resource includes the following file classes from the UK National Archives, Kew, in their entirety:

  • CO 879/1-190 (Africa, 1848-1961)
  • CO 886/1-11 (Dominions, 1907-1925)
  • DO 116/1-8 (Dominions (South African), 1913-1944)
  • FO 341/1-3 (Africa 1884-1900)
  • FO 401/1-48 (Abyssinia, 1846-1956)
  • FO 403/1-482 (Africa, 1834-1957)
  • FO 413/1-99 (Morocco and North-West Africa, 1839-1957)
  • FO 458/1-157 (West Africa, 1882-1950)
  • FO 468/1-4 (British Commonwealth, 1945-1949)
  • FO 485/1-3 (Liberia, 1947-1949)
  • FO 540/1-6 (Libya, 1951-1956)

The resource includes selected files from:

CO 885/1-140 (War and Colonial Department and Colonial Office Confidential Print, 1839-1966)

DO 114/1-120 (Dominions Office Confidential Print, 1924-1951)

DO 201/1-53 (Commonwealth Relations Office Confidential Print, 1946-1966)

WO 287/1-287 (War Office Confidential Print, 1904-1949)

All these documents are full-text searchable.

In addition, this resource includes more than 300 full-colour maps.

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