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Frontier Life

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Borderlands, Settlement and Colonial Encounters

Journey to the far reaches of settler frontiers across the globe.

Through a large array of unique documents, this multi-archive collection captures the lives, experiences and colonial encounters of people living at the edges of the Anglophone world from 1650-1920. It ranges across the various colonial frontiers of North America before touching on the settlers of Southern Africa, Australia and New Zealand.


This online collection brings together documents from 16 archives and libraries from around the world and the geographical spread of material allows scholars to take either a comparative approach or focus on a particular region.

The collection deals with some of the major themes of frontier existence including:

  • Settlement development

  • Law and order

  • Violence

  • Expeditions and exploration

  • Relations with indigenous peoples

  • Trade and commerce

  • Death and disease

  • Missionaries and religion

  • Women’s history

  • Military matters

  • Mining

  • Religion

  • Gold rushes

  • Settler governance

  • Contested boundaries

  • Agriculture and livestock