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India Raj and Empire

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Manuscript Collections from the National Library of Scotland

“It is very easy to get access to the material in this digital collection. I particularly enjoyed reading the manuscript details. I believe the database will make a huge difference in understanding the working of the British Empire in India by helping researchers to access manuscript material so easily.”

Dr Claire Gallien, Exeter College, University of Oxford

There is a growing interest in the history of South Asia. India has played a crucial role in global trading networks for centuries and was central to the story of Empire. More recently it has emerged as a vibrant democracy and a major economic power.

The National Library of Scotland has wonderful collections documenting this history from the foundation of the East India Company in 1615 to the granting of independence for India and Pakistan in 1947.

The sources are extremely varied ranging from the papers of key East India Company representatives and colonial officials to records of daily life in Agra, Bombay, Lahore, and Madras. There are original Indian manuscripts containing histories and literary works, as well as accounts of wars, discussions of Indian Nationalism and papers of tea and coffee planters.

The collection is particularly strong for the 18th and 19th centuries and will be of interest to scholars studying:

  • Social history
  • Urban history
  • Trade and economic development
  • Agriculture
  • Travel and antiquities
  • Indian politics
  • The growth of Nationalism
  • Empire and World History
  • There are also important sources covering Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Malaysia and Singapore.