Quick Facts

  • Approximately 1.5 million pages.
  • Cross-searchable with other Nineteenth Century Collections Online archives


TIME PERIOD: 1800-1914


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So many research topics emerged from the colonial conquest and the legacy of slavery in modern South African society – the Anglo-Boer War, imperial policy, and race classification among them – that this volatile corner of 19th-century history draws enduring interest from scholars and students. To support their research, Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, and Conquest  delivers monographs, manuscripts, and newspaper accounts covering key issues of economics, world politics, and international strategy.

The “Scramble for Africa” began with the arrival of missionaries and explorers to the “Dark Continent” in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Over the next 100 years, Africa would be “Christianized” by European missionaries; “commercialized” as an outlet for European-produced consumer goods and source for raw materials; and “civilized” by the establishment of European political institutions and the arrival of European settlers. Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, and Conquest provides an in-depth look into the motivations, activities and results of the European conquest of Africa in the 19th century.

Key topic areas include:

  • Partition of Africa and British Imperial Policy                                  
  • The Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902
  • Jameson Raid
  • Geopolitical rivalry between Britain, France and Germany
  • Explorers use of rivers as highways to the interior of Africa
  • Anglo-French relations and the Fashoda Incident
  • Economic and Social Themes
  • The Witwatersrand Gold Mining Industry
  • Miner-Farming Disputes in Zimbabwe
  • Missionaries efforts to suppress the slave trade
  • Origins of Corporate Capitalism in South Africa
  • The Dream of an Afrikaner Utopia?
  • Classifying Race
  • African response to Imperialism
  • Colonial and Customary Law
  • Chinese Emigration
  • Transnational  Evangelicalism

Nineteenth Century Collections Online is the most ambitious scholarly digitization and publication program ever undertaken, providing full-text, fully searchable content from a wide range of primary sources. Selected with the guidance of an international team of expert advisors, these primary sources are invaluable for a wide range of academic disciplines and areas of study, providing never before possible research opportunities for one of the most studied historical periods.


Significance: The relationship between colonial conquest and the legacy of slavery in the making of modern South African society remains a critical concern to students, faculty and researchers of history, politics, economics and many more subjects. Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, and Conquest  supports interdisciplinary studies with coverage of subjects including the making of the racial order; peasant and agrarian history; labor history; urban segregation; civil rights history; and family history.

The two key themes of this archive …

  • Exploration, military, and missionary activities, and
  • Economic and political imperialism in Africa in the last quarter of the 19th century

… enables researchers to trace the development of missionary work and glory and gold-seeking explorers in central and southern Africa. Monographs, manuscripts, and newspaper accounts cover issues of economics, world politics, and international strategy; while official government documents, political papers of prominent individuals, and press documentation provide a more well-rounded view of  the development of British strategic imperatives, French and Belgian desire for the expansion of trade and raw materials, and Germany and Italy’s late entrance onto the imperial stage.

Structure: Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, and Conquest is available on Gale’s cutting-edge research platform. This state-of-the-art platform was developed using our flexible Agile approach,  incorporating user testing and feedback throughout the process to ensure that we are providing the features that scholars require — such as detailed subject indexing and metadata, textual analysis tools, personalized user accounts, and more — for research in the digital age.

Source: Documents were sourced from The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, the Library of Congress, and other prestigious partners.

Advisory Board Contributors:


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