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India Office Records

Collection Details

India Office Records held at Asian and African Studies [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

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

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

Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types

Archival materials (includes non-published & mixed material), Maps (includes all types of cartographic material), Official publications, Public records.

Total size of collection

c 14 km (includes the 70,000 India Office Records Official Publications for which there is a separate record) c 40,000 items in the India Office Records Map Collection (see separate record)

Collection Management Information

The collection is not being actively developed.

Content date range

1600 to 1947 AD

Collection policy

Governed by the Public Records Acts.

Collection Catalogue Information


Several catalogues are available on the Access to Archives (A2A) web-site hosted by the Public Record Office. Further catalogues should be added to this site during 2002 and 2003. Full details of printed catalogues and guides and other publications relating to the India Office Records are available on the OIOC web-site.

Links to other collections

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