On trial: East India Company digital archive

Thanks to a request from a student in HCA I’m pleased to let you know that the Library currently has trial access to the primary source database East India Company from Adam Matthew. This unique digital resource allows students and researchers to access a vast and remarkable collection of primary source documents from the India Office Records held by the British Library, the single most important archive for the study of the East India Company.

You can access the database via the E-resources trials page. Access is available both on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 16th November 2018.

From 16th-century origins as a trading venture to the East Indies, through to its rise as the world’s most powerful company and de facto ruler of India, to its demise amid allegations of greed and corruption, the East India Company was an extraordinary force in global history for three centuries.

Copy Letters Patent of Elizabeth I granting to the Earl of Cumberland and 215 others the power to form a corporate body to be called the “Governor and Company of Merchants of London, trading into the East Indies” and naming Thomas Smith the first governor.: Available through: Adam Matthew, Marlborough, East India Company, http://www.eastindiacompany.amdigital.co.uk/Documents/Details/BL_IOR_A_1_2 [Accessed March 09, 2017].

From the Company’s charter in 1600 to Indian independence in 1947, the East India Company resource tells the story of trade with the East, politics, and the rise and fall of the British Empire. It records the challenges of a globalising world and sheds light on many contrasting lives – from those of powerful political figures to ordinary people in Britain and Asia and the individual traders who lived and worked at the edge of Empire.

Two modules have been released so far (module 3 will be released in 2019) and we have access during the trial to both. These are Module I: Trade, Governance and Empire, 1600-1947 and Module II: Factory Records for South Asia and South East Asia. The material in the modules have been sourced from the British Library and include:

  • Minutes of council meetings (Court of Directors, Court of Proprietors and Council of India)
  • Memoranda and papers laid before councils
  • Council resolutions
  • Proceedings of revenue boards
  • Charters
  • Texts of legislation
  • Printed books
  • Correspondence
  • Lists of administrative, military and ecclesiastical personnel

The database can be accessed for the duration of the trial period via e-resources trials.
Access available until 16th November 2018.
Feedback welcome.

Access is only available to current students and staff at University of Edinburgh.

Caroline Stirling – Academic Support Librarian for History, Classics and Archaeology