India, Raj and Empire

Sources from The National Library of Scotland

Explore the history of South Asia between the foundation of the East India Company in 1615 and the granting of independence to India and Pakistan in 1947.

The wonderfully rich and diverse South Asian manuscript collections of the National Library of Scotland 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.

This collection weaves the story of India and Empire through the writings of Governor-Generals, Commander-in-Chiefs, Indian Princes, soldiers, traders, missionaries, explorers, historians and authors of literary works, indigo farmers and tea and coffee planters.

Especially strong for the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this collection will be of particular interest to historians studying British Indian Empire; government, administration and politics, the relationship between Britain and the British Indian Empire, the role of the Scots in India, the Indian Uprising and trade and agriculture.

  • Papers of Henry Dundas including extensive correspondence with Marquis Wellesley and Lord Cornwallis, governor-generals of India
  • Accounts of daily life in Agra, Bombay, Lahore, Madras and other areas
  • A diary of a trip down the Ganges in 1826
  • An account of life in the Madras army, 1768-1777
  • Records of the Mahratta wars, the Sikh wars, the war against Tipu Sultan, the Burmese war and other conflicts
  • Papers of an official of the East India Company
  • Records of Arbuthnot and Co, traders in Madras
  • The diary of a hunting expedition
  • An account of a duel, court martials and of the murder of a servant
  • Papers of Andrew Hunter, coffee planter, 1860-1870
  • Illustrated accounts of tea-planting in India, 1780-1855
  • Reminiscences of an indigo farmer
  • Discussions of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s

Key data

Period covered

17th-19th century

Source archive

  • The National Library of Scotland
  • The East India Company: Government and Administration, c.1750-1857
  • Agriculture and Trade c.1750-1857
  • Society, travel and leisure c.1750-1857
  • The Mysore and Maratha Wars
  • Indian Uprising, 1857-58
  • The Raj: British Government and Administration of India after 1858
  • Agriculture and trade after 1858
  • Society, travel and leisure after 1858
  • India: Literature, history and culture
  • Diaries and journals
  • Official and private papers
  • Letters
  • Sketches
  • Paintings
  • Original Indian documents containing histories and literary works
  • Crispin Bates, University of Edinburgh
  • International Relations
  • Political History and Science
  • South Asian Studies
  • An image gallery displaying the many paintings, illustrations and sketches in the collection
  • A detailed chronology dating from 1600 and the granting of the Royal Charter to the East India Company through to 1947, independence and partition
  • An advanced search page incorporating Boolean functionality for more detailed and refined searching
  • An external links page with links to relevant websites to facilitate further research
  • Biographies of key figures featured in the documents


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