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Web Sites

The history of imperialism is covered extensively on the world wide web. The sites listed below have been selected to demonstrate some of the high quality resources available. Meanwhile, History On-Line provides links to evaluated history web sites across a comprehensive range of subjects.

Some history gateways provide links to material relating to the history of imperialism. An excellent starting point for locating history web sites is by searching on Humbul Humanities Hub. Humbul provides fully evaluated and annotated links to quality history web sites. The IHR, as part of the History On-Line project, evaluates history web sites for Humbul and it is these descriptions, together with records from other Humbul contributors, that appear below.


Asia, Pacific & Africa Collections

The British Library's Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections web site provides a synopsis of the historical materials available in the library concerning Asian and North African countries, and their relations with European nations. Central to this collection is material from the India Office Library and Records, which covers British involvement in India, from the East India Company through to the India Office, and also contains documents concerning Pakistan, Burma, Bangladesh, Iran and the Gulf States, South Africa, St. Helena, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, China and Japan. The site also provides information about other available materials including, the oriental language collection, European printed books, prints, drawings and photographs, genealogical resources, electronic resources, and a selection of sources on Asian experiences in Britain, from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. Contact details and descriptions of individual collections can also be found on the site.

BBCi History: The British Empire

This BBCi History website, The British Empire, provides a number of useful essays and resources on the Britain's imperial and colonial history. The focus is on a handful of topics, namely British India, aspects of Commonwealth history, and general overviews of Britain's colonial acquisitions. Essay subjects range from the British Empire in 1815, Trade and the British Empire, to the American Revolution, Slavery and Economy in Barbados, and British India Before and After the Great Rebellion of 1857. The articles have been written by key historians of the Empire, and the authors include Andrew Porter, Kenneth Morgan and Peter Marshall. Other topics covered include researching Caribbean family history, and the contribution of Commonwealth troops to the First and Second World War efforts.


BoondocksNet.com is a useful and extensive resource for students and teachers of history and literature. Edited by Jim Zwick, the site focuses on anti-imperialism, and takes its name from the Tagalog (Filipino) word "bundok", meaning mountain. The term "Boondocks" was used by the American military during the Philippine-American War, and referred to mountainous areas in which Filipino resistance fighters were based.

BoondocksNet.com features a comprehensive Mark Twain Web site, as well as sites on the Congo Reform Movement and on the Phillipine-American war. Other subjects include: Anti-imperialism in the United States; Mark Twain on war and imperialism; Rudyard Kiplings "The White Man's Burden"; the American labour movement; the campaign to end child labor; responses to Edward Markham's 1899 poem "The man with the hoe"; and "Stereoscopic Visions of War and Empire". Important historical texts and documents are accessible, and there are extensive online exhibits of political cartoons, photographs and wartime posters. The pop-up and flashing advertisements may be distracting.

British Documents on the End of Empire

The Web site for the "British Documents at the End of Empire Project" (BDEEP) is published by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. This site is of interest to those carrying out research on or studying Colonial history, or twentieth century history or politics. There are three series of publications, taking advantage of largely unpublished materials from the offical archives of the Public Record Office (PRO).

The aim has been to locate and analyse key documentation charting shifts in the political, social and economic policies of a range of officials from British ministers, to colonial administrators. The project addresses the numerous topics influenced by the Empire such as: race relations; cultures; nationalisms; independence; and concepts of Empire and Commonwealth.

The Web site provides information on the three series of materials in the process of publication. Series A consists of general volumes of British government document relating to the British Empire. Series B contains volumes of materials arranged geographically, and Series C (complete at the time of cataloguing) provides archival guides to sources deposited at the PRO. The volumes of each series is listed with full bibliographical data and an abstract. This project received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) within the Research Grants scheme.

(Record courtesy of Humbul)

The British Empire

This web site, created by an enthusiast, is devoted to the history of the British Empire, and offers a range of material dealing with Britain's colonial past. The site is split into several sections, and covers various aspects of the British Empire, from the armed forces to art, culture and science. Also available are maps, useful timelines, which record Britain's activities alongside world events and developments in the arts and sciences, articles, biographies and a bibliography. At present the site is particularly strong on the cultural impact of the existence of the British Empire, as Professor John MacKenzie has contributed a lot of material on this subject. The site does not actually focus on the history of any individual countries, and there is little attention paid to decolonisation and the end of empire. Instead the focus is much more on the structures of empire, like the armed forces, and the experience of individuals.

The British Empire - The National Archives Learning Curve

The British Empire is an interactive exhibition published by the National Archives Learning Curve. The content is divided into three galleries, which cover the rise of the British Empire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, life in the British Empire, and its end in the twentieth century. In each gallery there is a set of digitised primary sources, including maps, letters, images and documents, published with background information and questions designed to help users engage with and analyse the sources. The exhibition has been designed with school-age learners in mind, and the interactive quizzes and worksheets highlight this. However the quality of the exhibition and its resources makes it a valuable site for users at all educational levels.

British Empire and Commonwealth Museum

The web site is for the Bristol based British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, Britain's first major museum dedicated to the nation's colonial past. The museum documents 500 years of imperial and Commonwealth history, from John Cabot's voyage to Newfoundland in 1497 to the legacies of Empire in Britain today. The site does not publish any online exhibitions, but provides information about the main galleries at the museum, Britain builds an empire, 1480-1800, the rise of Victoria's empire, 1800-1900, and the End of empire, 1900 to the present. The web site also contains information about the museum's archives, which holds a range of resources including photographs, books, periodicals, artefacts, and uniforms and clothing, as well as museum publications, and the educational resources available for schools.

British Empire Studies

British Empire Studies is an online portal for historians of colonial and imperial history, containing a number of resources to aid research and study. The site is published by an academic historian whose research interests focus primarily on Britain's imperial history. It is comprised of five sections - the first section, Resources for Imperial and Colonial History, lists links to webs sites for museums, libraries, archives, institutes and universities, conferences, journals, bibliographies, mailing lists and other online British Empire resources. Also available on the site is a research directory of academics working in this field, a selection of recommended books, a British Empire mailing list and email discussion group, and a brief introduction to the history of the British Empire.

Centre for the Study of Britain and its Empire

This Web site presents the genesis, fellows and current programmes of the Centre for the Study of Britain and its Empire at the University of Southampton. The fellows list links to the homepage of each individual, the conferences and seminars lists include links to the appropriate event pages where available, and the description of current postgraduate study options includes links to pages offering more details about the programmes themselves and all available scholarships.

The main page also includes less obvious links to three searchable on-line databases, namely the Wellington Papers Database, the Palmerston Papers Database and the Mountbatten Papers Database - all three based on materials to be found in the special collections of the University of Southampton Libraries. To access these databases, click on the relevant portrait to be found on the right-hand side of the page, or follow the link to 'archival and printed material' that leads to the Special Collections main page and can be found in the body of the introductory text.

(Courtesy of Humbul - Alina Ghimpu-Hague)

Classics of American Colonial History

Classics of American Colonial History is a web site that reproduces articles and book chapters now out of copyright in the USA (i.e. published before 1923) dealing with America's colonial past. Essays may be browsed by author or by subject area. Subjects include administration, slavery, economics, immigration, law, religion, and so forth. New material is scanned, edited, and added to the site on a regular basis. The text reproductions are clear and well presented, maintaining original page numbering. The few editorial emendations that have been made are clearly indicated in red. The site welcomes useful comments on the accuracy of the sources and the validity of their conclusions. Such comments are posted as addenda to the documents, along with their contributor's name and qualifications.

(Courtesy of Humbul)

Documenting a Democracy : Australia's Story

Documenting a Democracy is an online exhibition that traces the development of Australian democracy through key constitutional documents. Published by the National Archives of Australia in partnership with the country's eight governments, the site offers a comprehensive introduction to Australia's constitutional history, from 1768-1995. The site can be navigated in a number of ways, and probably the best of these is to follow the pathways section, where digitised documents are arranged according to four topics, foundation, building, freedom, and land. Alternatively users can follow links from the timeline, or click on the map of Australia to access documents specific to the individual states. There is also a stylish picture gallery, which links historical photographs with documents.

History of Ghana

This History of Ghana is published on the Ghana.co.uk site, which provides a social and cultural forum for the Ghanaian community online. The section on history is narrative, and covers Ghana from ancient times, through colonial rule, to independence in the twentieth century. The chapters featured are Ancient Ghana, Land and People, Tribes, Religion, Pre-Colonial Period, Slave Trade, The Gold Coast, Colonial Rule in Ghana, Indepedence, Ghana 1960-71, Ghana 72-79, and Ghana 1982-87. The content is well presented and easily navigated and has largely been taken from BBC History, the Library of Congress, or A History of Ghana by F. K. Buah. In addition to this largely political and economic chronological history, there is also a timeline, pieces on the history of fabric and fashion, and biographies of Ghanaian presidents.

The Imperial Archive : a site dedicated to the study of literature, imperialism, postcolonialism

The Imperial Archive explores the British idea of 'Empire' through a range of literary works produced in the 19th century, as well as the effects of British colonialism on 20th century texts produced in the former colonies.

The project covers six geographical regions: Australia, India, Ireland, Nigeria, Canada, and the Caribbean. Each region is presented through a number of shorter essays, bibliographies, and links to related sites.

This is a unique research project, part of an archive "which is the first of its kind in the British Isles." The texts are authored by MA students on a Modern Literature Studies course at Queen's University, Belfast.

The project forms an integral part of the 'Literature, Imperialism, Postcolonialism' course and the materials, presented to the supervisor before publishing on the Internet, are assessed as course work.

A link to an article in Computers&Texts gives a detailed description of how the project was implemented. An inspiring project, both because of the quality of materials presented and because of demonstrating how students can be involved in authoring original work and publishing it over the Net.

(Courtesy of Humbul - Emilia Slavova)

Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth

Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth is a comprehensive website aiming to bring together all online resources pertaining to land forces of territories and successor states that were at any time part of the British Empire or Commonwealth. The site is of value to historians, military historians and those interested in tracing genealogy. Resources concerning particular regiments offers information on the historical placing of a certain regiment and its place in the overall military structure. The regimental pages cover every regiment of the Empire and Commonwealth which has a webpage and includes information such as: battle honours; colonels; badges; and wars and battles involved in. Resources covering the nations of the Empire and Commonwealth give exhaustive links to information covering: main government sites; military journals; wars; biographies of senior military personnel; uniforms; medals; flags; museums; historical societies; and other web catalogues concerning the military history of those countries. The site is undergoing continuous development.

(Courtesy of Humbul - Ms Joanne O'Shea)

Letters and Journals relating to the Church Missionary Society mission to Wellington Valley New South Wales 1830-40

This web site, from the University of Newcastle Australia, provides access to primary source material relating to the Church Missionary Society's mission to the Wiradjuri people of Wellington Valley, New South Wales in 1830-1845. The Wellington Valley project aims to make a full critical edition of the records created by the missionaries available, both in electronic and print format. The web site currently provides access to the journals and letters of four missionaries: J.C.S. Handt, 1830-43; William Watson, 1832-50; James GŁnther, 1837-42; William Porter, 1838-41.

As well as providing access to letters and diaries the site has an image gallery providing access to a number of nineteenth century paintings of the Wellington Valley. A list of links are maintained on the site. These cover sources for aboriginal studies in New South Wales, historical text sites, mission sites and religion sites. Information about the project is also available from the web site

Manas History and Politics of India

This web site on Indian history has been written by an academic at the University of California, Los Angeles. It covers centuries of Indian history, with chapters on ancient and medieval India, as well as on British India and independence. Most of the focus of the site is on India during its colonial past and twentieth century independence, with detailed chapters on British India, Gandhi, social and political movements, independent India and current affairs. The content is narrative, and provides a well-written introduction to many topics of Indian history. Accompanying the chapters are biographies of key figures, book reviews, and bibliographies.

Matthew Flinders Project

This Project celebrates the bicentenary of Matthew Flinders' epic circumnavigation of Australia in the ship 'Investigator', 1801-1803. On this voyage, the shape of the Australian continent was defined. Flinders became a passionate advocate for the name Australia to be applied to the whole continent. The Matthew Flinders Project is based at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Australia. It is an electronic archive of the personal papers of Matthew Flinders - his journals, letters, diary and memorabilia - with archival material presented to the Mitchell Library by Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie, Flinder's grandson and himself a famous Egyptologist. There are small images of artefacts such as Flinders' maps and uniforms, as well as a biography of Matthew Flinders (1774-1814) and others including Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), and Bungaree (died 1830) an Aboriginal who accompanied Flinders' and other voyages around Australia. The first item from the personal papers held in the Mitchell Library, to be made available online both in facsimile and in annotated transcription, is Matthew Flinders' journal from the 'Norfolk' sloop of July-August 1799. There is an attractive range of navigation options to view the brief transcript and full transcript (both with extensive footnotes) and the facsimile of the journal: click on a calendar for these two months to read Flinders' entry for that day in 1799; click on a list of numbered pages of the journal (1-42) to follow the facsimile; and click on points on an attractive compass-rose to toggle between the two transcripts and the reproduction of the journal page itself, as well as 'back' to the home page.

(Courtesy of Humbul - Mr Alun Edwards)

Our Journey Together

This web exhibition published by Archives New Zealand looks at the history of citizenship in New Zealand, from the Treaty of Waitangi in the nineteenth century, through to the 1948 British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act, and beyond to the late twentieth century. The site is divided into eight chapters illustrated with digitised images of primary source materials, including a wealth of government documents, photographs and posters. The chapters cover the first years of British settlement in, the legal status of married women, minors, lunatics and idiots, the development of a national identity, and the experience of particular immigrant groups in New Zealand, including Samoans, Japanese, Chinese and Indians. Also covered are alien and naturalisation acts, the process of becoming a citizen in the past and today, case studies of immigrants who became citizens, and the issues surrounding the 1948 Citizenship Act.

Political discourse: theories of colonialism and postcolonialism

This website is concerned with theories of colonialism and post colonialism, and is part of a larger web site dealing with English post colonial and post imperial literature. Developed by Professor George Landow of Brown University, the site provides a useful reference guide for those studying post colonialism and imperial history. As its title suggests, this web site is primarily concerned with the theories surrounding its subject, rather than the experiences in individual countries. The contents of the site have been split into eight sections. Firstly, Themes and Issues, which provides introductions to key themes along with essays and articles, Theorists, which gives an outline of the stance of key theorists in the field, Terms, a selective glossary of words and phrases used in the post colonial discussion, and Gender Matters, which features essays on the role of gender in the post colonial debate. In addition to this there is Historical Contexts, which provides the political and historical background to postcolonial themes and individual countries, Symbol and Image, which explores the motifs of the subject, and an extensive Bibliography. Lastly, there is a Conferences and Events section, where the details and papers of past conferences can be found, along with calls for papers and information about forthcoming events. i

(Courtesy of Humbul - Mr Stuart Allen)

The Story of Africa

Designed to compliment the British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) news reporting, articles, and publications on the African continent, "The Story of Africa" provides a comprehensive multi-media introduction to African culture and its entire history. With contributions from an array of academics from around the world and recordings of historical broadcasts from major African figures, the site describes a host of major political and social events beginning with early nomadic and agricultural communities up to, and including, the political movements for African independence from colonial powers.

Students who work their way through these pages will find themselves quickly orientated and introduced to the major events in African history. The sections on Islam, Christianity and traditional religions will especially please those interested in religious development on this continent. Each describes the arrival and progress of these belief systems, as well as the distinctive features, practices and their interactions with various political and secular arenas. Within in the sub-sections to "The Story of Africa" users will also find helpful links and bibliographies, as well as excerpts from audio broadcasts previously transmitted by BBC radio.

(Courtesy of Humbul - Mr Jeff Dubberley)

Signatories to the Treaty of Waitangi

The Signatories of the Treaty of Waitangi web site is based on the book The Treaty of Waitangi by Claudia Orange, and is published by the New Zealand Ministry of Culture and Heritage as part of their online history project NZHistory.net.nz. The site is primarily concerned with the identification of the numerous signatories of the 1840 Waitangi Treaty between the British and the Maoris, and the different versions of the treaty that exist. Each copy of the treaty - the Waitangi copy, the Manukau-Kawhia copy, the Waikato-Manukau copy, the printed copy, the Tauranga copy, the Bay of Plenty (Fedarb) copy, the Herald-Bunbury copy, the Henry Williams copy, and the East Coast copy - is dealt with individually, with introductory notes, an image of the original, and a transcription of the original. Also on the site are an introduction to the history of the Treaty of Waitangi, relevant maps, and links to related web sites.

Subaltern Studies : working bibliography

This simple site, compiled by two academics at Georgetown University, provides a bibliography of books and articles relating to Subaltern Studies, and imperial and post-colonial history. The bibliography covers Subaltern Studies volumes and anthologies, monographs, related essays and criticism, book reviews, and the tables of contents for volumes I-IX of the Subaltern Studies series published by Oxford University Press. Most of the titles listed are concerned with the social, political and cultural history of 'subaltern' groups in South Asian, and primarily colonial Indian, history. There is also reference to the extension of Subaltern Studies to other post-colonial societies such as Africa, and works that cover the historiography of this field.

We Were There

The Ministry of Defence launched the We Were There Exhibition in November 2000, and this companion web site details the history and experiences of ethnic minorities from the British Empire and Commonwealth in the British Armed Forces over the past two hundred years. Men and women from all over the British Empire and Commonwealth are included, and while the focus is primarily on the First World War and the Second World War, conflicts from the nineteenth century up until the late twentieth century are also covered. The exhibition does not just cover those who saw active service, but also those who worked in essential support services, such as medicine, transport, logistics and labour, and the funds and supplies that have been provided by individual countries in support of war efforts. There is also a section on the military decorations and medals awarded to personnel from the Empire and Commonwealth. This exhibition is a useful starting point for anyone wanting to find out more about the minorities who have served in the British Armed Forces, and provides a great deal of interesting information.

  A woman taking seeds from a cocoa pod

Photo reproduced with permission from the Caribbean Foundation.