History Database of the Month Confidential Prints: Africa

The database of the month for May is Confidential Prints: Africa 1834-1966.


What is this database?

Confidential Print: Africa offer full text access to complete volumes of all British Government Confidential Print for Africa, from the Colonial, Dominion, Foreign and War Offices from the National Archives.  The series originated out of a need for the Government to preserve all of the most important papers generated by the Foreign and Colonial Offices. Some of these were one-page letters or telegrams; others were large volumes or 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.

The introduction to the database provides an overview of the collections covered within the database and also gives some examples of the types of material included.  There are telegrams noting the South African government’s support for sanctions against Italy after the Italian conquest of Abyssinia and despatches discussing newly independent Ghana’s slide into authoritarianism.

map result

An example map result of British Somaliland in 1926

The collections include

  • Reports
  • Dispatches
  • Correspondence
  • Descriptions of leading personalities
  • Political summaries
  • Economic analyses
  • hundreds of colour maps

How can I access it?
University of Oxford members can access this subscription resource on and off campus via OxLIP+. Remember to sign on to OxLIP+ with your single sign on when accessing the database off-campus.

Other similar databases

Related Links OxLIP+ | Primary Sources Online Guide for Historians (PDF)  | Modern History Sources Guide (PDF) | Guide to using OxLIP+Contact the History Librarian | Bodleian Library Official Papers

New: Colonial Office Confidential Prints database

A database of Colonial Office Confidential Prints has been created by the Bodleian Library’s Official Papers Department and is now available. The Prints collection comprises copies of selected correspondence and other documents which were made for internal use in the Colonial Office; it ranges from a single page to large volumes. The Prints, which relate to Africa, date from 1848 to 1915 and cover a wide range of subjects, from slavery to railway construction. The database can be searched by jurisdiction, date, document number and keywords; the Prints should be ordered in the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth & African Studies at Rhodes House, where the collection is held.