Rutgers University Libraries History of Colonial Africa
The Basics: "Restricted Access;" Off-Campus Links; Finding Books: IRIS; Book Delivery; Finding Articles; Becoming an 'Expert' User Citing Your Sources
Getting Started: Basic Resources Finding Books: Library Catalogs Finding Articles: Indexes
Primary Sources: Newspapers Other Primary Sources Maps Other Resources
RUL Home Page RUL Indexes Ask a Librarian

The Basics

Restricted Access

Many of the resources listed in the sections below are marked Restricted Access. You should have no problem connecting to these from any networked computer on campus. However, by contract, remote access to the Rutgers University Library's indexes, electronic journals, and electronic reserve articles is available only to current Rutgers students, faculty and staff. In order to use these from off-campus, you must log in with your Rutgers NetID. For instructions see the Libraries' Remote Access to Library Resources.

Off-Campus Links

Once you have gone to a Rutgers Libraries page and logged in with your NetID [your pegasus username and password] you can use the "Off-Campus Link" provided for each Rutgers-restricted resource below to connect to that database or article. These links will not work from a networked computer on-campus. Use the link embedded in the citation to access these resources on campus.

IRIS: Find Books

IRIS is the online catalog for all the Rutgers University Libraries except the Newark and Camden Law Libraries. Use IRIS to find out if the Rutgers Libraries have the specific books or journals that you need, or to locate books on topics that you're researching. Show Me How

Getting Books From Other Rutgers Libraries

If a book that you need is not available (not owned/checked out) at the Dana Library, but is available from another Rutgers Library, you can request delivery of that book to Dana by bringing up the record for the book in IRIS and clicking on tbe Deliver/Recall button. Show Me

Book Not Available/Not Owned by the Rutgers Libraries?

The fastest way to get a copy of a book that is not owned or not available (checked out/on Reserve/missing etc.) at the Rutgers Libraries is to request it through E-Z Borrow. E-Z Borrow books are normally received within about five working days. Tell Me More

If a book is not owned by the Rutgers Libraries and is not available via E-Z Borrow, you can place an Interlibrary Loan request. Tell Me More

Finding Articles plus

Historical Abstracts
Historical Abstracts is the most comprehensive index to world history (excluding that of the U.S. and Canada) from 1450 to the present. Historical Abstracts indexes over 2,000 history and history-related journals worldwide, as well as book reviews and dissertations. Indexing begins with 1955.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access.

Need More?

While Historical Abstacts will cover much of the basic literature relating to African historical studies, indexes that focus specifically on African Studies may considerably expand your research base. You'll find links to these in the Finding Articles section below.

Becoming an 'Expert' User

Want to maximize your use of Library resources? Check out Searchpath, the Libraries' interactive tutorial.

Citing Your Sources

You will probably be asked to use Chicago/Turabian style when citing the sources that you use in your research papers. The Chicago Manual of Style and Turabian's Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations are both available at the Dana Library Reference Desk. The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison also has a nice introduction to Chicago/Turabian Documentation that will give you the basic information you need to create bibliographic citations.

The above site does not, however, cover citing online resources. The Library of Congress has a guide on How to Cite Electronic Sources that show Turabian-style examples; the Bedford/St. Martin's site also offers useful information on Using Chicago Style to Cite and Document Sources

Not sure when you need to cite something? Check out the Plagiarism Guide

Getting Started: Basic Resources

There are two major multi-volume surveys of African history:

Africa South of the Sahara: The Colonial Period
Very nice collection of annotated scholarly links relating to African colonial history. Compiled by Karen Fund, Stanford University. Part of her excellent African History on the Internet site.


The History of Colonial Africa: Selected Bibliography
Compiled by George P. Landow (Brown Unversity). Part of the African Postcolonial Literature in English site.

Schmitz, Christopher. Bibliography: Britain and the Scramble for Africa, 1865-1904

Africa: Suggested Readings
"Includes both major nationalist texts, and analytical treatment of nationalism in Africa." Bibliography compiled by M. Crawford Young (University of Wisconsin, Madison). A Nationalism Project bibliography.

Cooper, Frederick. A Bibliography on Africa, 1940-2005
Bibliography accompanying Cooper's Africa Since 1940: The Past of the Present (New York, Cambridge University Press, 2002).

Colonial Nigeria: Selected Bibliography
Short bibliography from the African Postcolonial Literature in English site.

Select Bibliography on the History of Botswana
Compiled by Neil Parsons (University of Botswana).

Karlstrom, Mikael. Buganda: A Select Bibliography with Bibliographical Essay 1996

For published bibliographies relating to specific African countries or regions, do a subject keyword search in IRIS, the Rutgers online catalog. For example:

The Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History publishes an extensive annual bibliography on colonialism and imperialism.


Cooper, Frederick. "Conflict and Connection: Rethinking Colonial African History," The American Historical Review 99(5), December 1994, 1516-1545.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access


Mitchell, Brian R. International Historical Statistics: Africa, Asia & Oceania, 1750-1993. New York, Stockton Press, 1998.
Dana Call Number: Ref. HA4675 .M552 1998

Finding Books: Library Catalogs

The online catalog for the Rutgers University Libraries. IRIS is not a restricted database, anyone can access it from anywhere. However if you're coming in from off-campus and trying to connect to electronic journals or e-reserves from within IRIS you will need to be logged in. So you might find it less frustrating to use the off-campus version.

Search across the collections of a large number of research libraries; identify relevant works and the best subject headings to use to find books on specific topics; and find out if an item is available at Rutgers or another library. Based on the over 120 million items found in the collections of the Research Libraries Group (RLG).

Center for Research Libraries
CRL is consortium of North American university and independent research libraries that acquires and preserves newspapers, journals, documents, foreign dissertations, archives, and other expensive or hard to find materials. As Rutgers is a CRL member, these materials are considered part of Rutgers' collections and can be borrowed via Interlibrary Loan. In addition to the materials listed in their catalog, CRL also supports and provides access to special collections such as the Cooperative Africana Microform Project (CAMP), International Disserations, and Global Newspapers

Among the CAMP collections available from CRL are

Finding Articles plus: Indexes

Historical Abstracts
1955- . The most comprehensive index to world history (excluding that of the U.S. and Canada) from 1450 to the present. Indexes over 2,000 history and history-related journals worldwide, as well as book reviews and dissertations.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access.

Africa-Wide: NiPad
Search across 30 databases providing access to multi-disciplinary information on Africa. Indexes books, journals, newspapers, government publications, and popular magazines.
Off-Campus Access (Restricted Access)

Bibliography of Africana Periodical Literature Database
Index to over 55,000 articles from 462 journals that specialize in African Studies or consistently cover the African continent. Journals indexed in their entirety.

Primary Sources


Historical New York Times
Allows you to search and display the full image of articles published in the New York Times back to 1851. The two+ most recent years are not included.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access.

Dana Library has the London Times on microfilm back to 1785. To find articles on specific topics or events use:

Union Lists

Union lists identify where runs of specific newspapers are physically held; newspapers on microform may be requested on Interlibrary Loan.

African Newspapers Union List (AFRINUL)
Database of holdings information for newspapers (current and retrospective) published in sub-Saharan Africa. Holdings currently only reflect North American collections. Project administered by the Center for Research Libraries.

Newspapers in Microform. Foreign Countries. Washington : Library of Congress, 2 vols.
Lists newspapers by country, city, and title. Indicates which libraries have microform holdings of those titles.
Dana Call Number: Ref. Z6945.U515a yr.1948/83

Foreign Newspapers at the Center for Research Libraries

Database of more than 6000 titles of non-U.S. newspapers (current and restrospective) held by CRL.

Foreign Newspapers at the Library of Congress

Newspapers currently received and permanently retained on microfilm.

Other Primary Sources

Don't forget the CAMP Collections at the Center for Research Libraries!

Bibliography of Published Primary Sources in African History (English Language)
From the Roots Institute at the University of Virginia.

Source Collections

Clark, Leon E. Through African Eyes: Cultures in Change. New York, Praeger, 1969-
Selections from African autobiographies, fiction, poetry, newspaper articles, magazines, radio broadcasts, letters and diaries, speeches, and historical documents.
Dana Call Number: DT14 .C55

Internet African History Sourcebook.
Paul Halsall's (Fordham University) compilation of prmary texts. See sections on European Imperialism, The Fight for Independence, and Modern Africa.

Voyages en Afrique
Part of the French National Library Gallica site, Voyages en Afrique offers an incredible collection of online primary source materials including books, journals, maps, and photographs accessible by geography or theme, as well as chronologies and an extensive bibliography.

Maji Maji Bibliography Project
Project of the African Studies Department of Humboldt-University at Berlin under the direction of Dr. Jan-Georg Deutsch. Bibliography with annotations of 67 articles from contemporary German newspapers, journals, and books from observers to the Maji Maji rebellion in Southern Tanzania in 1905. English-language annotations with links to transcriptions of the original German texts. Annotations include indexes to persons, groups, and places.

British Imperialism in Nigeria: Colonial Rule in Western Niger Delta
From the Urhobo Historical Society. Article texts and primary documents, including the British Colonial 'Treaties of Protection."

Selected Sources

Livingston, David. Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa. London, 1857.
Off-Campus AccessRestricted Access

Plaatje, Sol. Native Life in South Africa. London, 1916.
"[W]ritten as a work of impassioned political propaganda, exposing the plight of black South Africans under the whites-only government of newly unified South Africa. It focuses on the effects of the 1913 Natives' Land Act which introduced a uniform system of land segregation between the races." [Neil Parsons, Introduction.]

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. London, 1902.

See Chinua Achebe's reading of Heart of Darkness in "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness," Massachusetts Review 18, 1977, 782-794.

Ferry, Jules. On French Colonial Expansion
Speech delivered before the French Chamber of Deputies on March 28, 1884. Part of Paul Halsall's Internet Modern History Sourcebook.

Earl of Cromer. Why Britain Acquired Egypt in 1882 1908
From the Internet Modern History Sourcebook.

Hake, Alfred Egmont. The Death of General Gordon at Khartoum, 1885 1914
From the Internet Islamic History Sourcebook.

Rhodesia: Unilateral Declaration of Independence Documents, 1965
From the Internet Islamic History Sourcebook.


Freeman-Grenville, G.S.P. The New Atlas of African History. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1991.
Dana Call Number: Ref. G2446 .S1F73 1991

Historical Atlas of Africa. J.F. Ade Ajayi and Michael Crowder, general editors. New York, Cambridge University Press, 1985.
Dana Call Number: Ref. G2446 .S1H5 1985

Historical Maps of Africa
Part of the extensive Perry-Castañeda Library (University of Texas at Austin) Map Collection.

Colonial Africa c. 1800s

Maps of Liberia 1830-1870
From the Library of Congress.

Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century
Compiled by Matthew White. Includes: a map of Africa in the Early Twentieth Century, as well as a series of smaller maps documenting social and political changes during the 20th century.

African National Independence
The showing the 48 nations of the African continent plus Madagascar including the year each became independent.

Other Resources

Boer War in Botswana
Overview and resources from Neil Parsons, University of Botswana History Department.

Barnes, Andrew E. "Aryanizing Projects: African Collaborators and Colonial Transcripts," Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 17(2), 46-60.
Looks at the characteristics Europeans in colonial Northern Nigeria imparted to the Africans with whom they sought of collaborate.

Greer, Scott. Chacun pour soi: Africa and the French state 1958-1998. PAS Working Paper no. 6. 2000

Kodesh, Neil. Reimagining Tradition: The Politics of Succession in Colonial Buganda. PAS Working Paper no. 9. 2000

The Story of Africa
30 minute audio files from the BBC World Services' two major series on African history, Africa in History and The Story of Africa. See especially Africa in History: Pt. 5: Colonialism, and the Story of Africa Pt. 18 The Mfecane, Pt. 19 Partition & Resistance, Pt. 20 Life Under Colonialism, Pt. 21 The Challenges to Colonialism, and Pt. 22 Independence.

Natalie Borisovets (
John Cotton Dana Library
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
February 17, 2006