The India Office Records
are a very large collection of documents relating to the administration of India
from 1600 to 1947, the period spanning British rule in India
. The archive is held by the British Library
and is publicly accessible.
The records come from four main sources: the East India Company
(1600–1858), the Board of Control (1784–1858), the India Office
(1858–1947), and the Burma Office
(1937–1948). The collection also includes records from many smaller related institutions. Overall, the collection is made up of approximately 175,000 items, including official publications and records, manuscripts, photographs, printed maps and private papers. These items take up approximately nine miles of shelving units.
The historical scope of the records begins in 1600, when the East India Company was granted exclusive rights to trade in much of Asia
, including the entire Indian subcontinent
. During its first 100 years, much of the East India Company's energy was involved in maintaining its trade privileges, as it faced competition from domestic and international companies.
Although the East India Company was established as a trading company, it became more and more involved in local affairs in India during the early 18th century, and eventually came to hold large swaths of land in the subcontinent. In the mid-18th century, the Company began to undertake a governmental role in large parts of India, in order to organize the nascent colony to... Read More