The records document the commercial and political activities of the East India Company, the working of the British administration in India, relations with the Indian States and neighbouring foreign powers, military campaigns and administration, the British response to Indian demands for independence and the transfer of power to India, Pakistan and Burma. There are records relating to Indian emigration to the West Indies, south and east Africa and Fiji and a limited number of records relating to Indians in the UK.The archive includes official publications and maps for which there are separate entries in this database.
History and development
The India Office Records comprise the archives of the East India Company (1600-1858), the Board of Control or Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India (1784-1858), the India Office (1858-1947), the Burma Office (1937-1948), and a number of British agencies overseas which were officially linked with one or other of these four main bodies. With a few exceptions, they are the records created or received in London by these four bodies in the normal course of business. Following the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the India Office Records (with the India Office Library) passed eventually to the control of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In 1982 the administration of the India Office Library and Records was transferred to the British Library Board.
The records are a unique and very detailed source of information on the history of British trade and government in South Asia and neighbouring areas. They are a rich source of genealogical information.
General arrangement and access regulations
A closed access collection but some microfilm is on open access. The records are catalogued according to an alpha-numeric scheme explained in A General Guide to the India Office Records by Martin Moir, (London, 1988) and on the website at http://www.bl.uk/collections/iorarrgt.html.
Subjects of the Collection
Regions of Asia
Central Asia and the Caucasus, East Asia, Near & Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, South East Asia.
Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
Languages of material
Agriculture, Anthropology, Archaeology, Arts, Communication and media, Development, Economics, Education, Environmental sciences, Geography, History, Human rights, Industries, International relations, Language, Law, Medicine, Politics and government, Religion, Science and technology, Sociology, Travel.
Names relevant to the collection:
- East India Company, 1600-1858
- Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India, 1784-1858
- India Office, 1858-1947
- Burma Office, 1937-1948