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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography$
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Robin Winks

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205661.001.0001

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The British Empire in Tropical Africa: A Review of the Literature to the 1960s

The British Empire in Tropical Africa: A Review of the Literature to the 1960s

Chapter:
(p.463) 30 The British Empire in Tropical Africa: A Review of the Literature to the 1960s
Source:
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography
Author(s):

A. D. Roberts

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205661.003.0030

It was only in the 1890s, when the Scramble was in its last stages, that a literature on the British past in tropical Africa began to emerge. For most of the 19th century, British tropical Africa seemed a small subject, and attracted little retrospective consideration. An outgrowth of two related trends in historiography around 1900 is shown in this chapter. By the Second World War, a beginning had been made in the academic study of British expansion in 19th-century tropical Africa. Two seasoned historians had turned their attention to the recent economic history of tropical Africa. After the war, various factors combined to stimulate research into the history of tropical Africa. The history of British tropical Africa was no longer the preserve of a few eccentrics; it was a fast-expanding field of debate and diversification. In the course of the 1960s, the institutional underpinnings of African studies continued to be strengthened. In 1967, the normal closed period for British public records was reduced from fifty to thirty years; it thus became possible to study metropolitan files for the inter-war period during which British rule in Africa seemed most entrenched.

Keywords:   British Empire, tropical Africa, Second World War, British expansion, British rule, historiography

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