Basic Guide to Research on Africa: Full Texts Online

E-Book Collections

  • Africa Portal Library (Centre for International Governance Innovation, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; South African Institute of International Affairs, Johannesburg, South Africa)
    A digital library of over 5000 books, journals, and documents related to African policy issues; a directory of experts; plus, current news analysis and opinion articles.

  • African Writers Series, part of Chadwyck Healey Literature Collections.
    See also: Literature Online.
    --Under "Texts" : select "Browse texts by period" ; see "National and Regional Literatures"

  • Black Drama, 1850 to the Present. (Alexander Street Press, LLC; The University of Chicago, Illinois)
    A selection of "Black drama" from Africa, North America, the Caribbean, and other African Diaspora countries. The database includes full texts of plays, biographical information, selected playbills, production photos, and ephemera.

  • Black Short Fiction & Folklore . (Alexander Street Press, LLC; The University of Chicago, Illinois)
    When complete, this collection will offer more than 8,000 short stories and folktales, ranging thematically from oral traditions that date back many hundreds of years to contemporary tales of modern life.

  • Black Women Writers (Alexander Street Press, LLC; The University of Chicago, Illinois) --via ProQuest
    Celebrates the many voices of women from Africa and the African Diaspora. Offering fiction, poetry, and essays from three continents and 20 countries,

  • -- Ouvrages (Liege, France)
    --Search for Afrique -or- Africa
    --See also: Histoire de l'Afrique

  • Cambridge History of Africa. Part of Cambridge Histories Online. -- Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
    The online version in searchable PDF format of the popular 8-volume history anthology originally published 1975-1986. Select "Browse" and "Regional History".

  • Digital Library of Open Access Books
    (The Hague, The Netherlands; Paris, France)
    A searchable, online library of open access books which can be read online; downloading entire books is only possible through an institutional subscription.

  • eHRAF World Cultures: Human Relations Area Files (Collection of Ethnography). -- New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University; Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Digital Library, c1987, 1996-
    A searchable, online library of full text books, articles, dissertations, and unpublished manuscripts on a wide variety of cultures and societies around the world.

  • OpenEdition--Books and Journals (Paris, France)
    A searchable, online library of full text books and journal articles which can be read online...mostly in French, some in English; downloading of the full text of articles or books requires an institutional subscription.

  • World Health Organization Digital Library (IRIS) (Geneva, Switzerland)
    Selected WHO publications from 1930 to the present..
  • Selected Online Primary Sources in History & Social Science

  • "Africa and the New Imperialism: European Borders on the African Continent, 1870-1914." (Marlborough, Wiltshire : Adam Matthew Digital Limited, [2023-] )
    Featuring selections from British and French official archives (diaries, correspondence, illustrations, etc.) on European imperialism in East, Central, and Southern Africa. "From the accounts of missionaries and European explorers navigating the interior of the continent in the early nineteenth century; to the rise in European desire for increased power, empire and wealth culminating in the Berlin Conference 1885-1886; to the subsequent power struggles, negotiations and conflicts that raged across the continent at the turn of the twentieth century, the documents within Africa and the New Imperialism charts Africa's encounters with European imperialist regimes and their impact on the lives of peoples across the continent."

  • African Blue Books, 1821-1953 (British Foreign & Commonwealth Office) (East Ardsley, Wakefield : Microform Academic Publishers, 2013).
    Part of: "British Online Archives" series. Covering the period between the mid- nineteenth and the mid-twentieth centuries, these digitized records from the British Colonial and Foreign Offices focus primarily upon economic development; imports, exports, and each territory's balance sheets. Ecclesiastical records, public works and population statistics are also common themes: Basutoland (Lesotho), 1926-1946 ; Gambia, 1828-1945 ; Gold Coast, 1846-1939 ; Kenya, 1901-1946 ; Nigeria, 1862-1945 ; Northern Rhodesia, 1924-1948 ; Nyasaland, 1904-1938 ; Sierra Leone, 1824-1943 ; Tanganyika, 1921-1948 ; Uganda, 1901-1945 ; Zanzibar, 1913-1947.

  • Afrobarometer--Data and Publications (Institute for Democracy in South Africa, Cape Town; Ghana Centre for Democratic Development, Accra; and Michigan State University, Dept. of Political Science, East Lansing, Michigan)
    'A comparative series of national public attitude surveys on democracy, markets and civil society in Africa.' The website includes: sample surveys and selected abstracts from final reports. The 1st round survey covered: Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria, Botswana, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe.

  • ALUKA: Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa (Ithaka Harbors, Princeton, New Jersey)
    Full text digital archives on the independence and anti-apartheid movements in southern Africa. "The Struggles for Freedom content area, launched in June 2007, focuses on the complex and varied liberation struggles in the region, with an initial concentration on six nations: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe."

  • Apartheid South Africa, 1948-1980: Documents from the National Archives, UK Archives Direct (Adam Matthew, Wiltshire, UK)
    British government files from the Foreign, Colonial, Dominion and Foreign and Commonwealth Offices spanning the period 1948 to 1980; divided into three sections: 1948-1966, 1967-1975, and 1976-1980.
    --See especially: Nature and scope of the collection

  • Archives of The Church of Uganda Online (Leiden, The Netherlands ; Boston, MA : Brill, 2013-)
    The records of the Church of the Province of Uganda, including some of the first written documents about and originating from Uganda. Contents of the collection include legal and administrative documents, correspondence, publications, personal records and more from the Offices of the Archbishops and Bishops of Uganda, the Education Secretary General, the General, Financial, and Provincial Secretaries, the Provincial Treasurer, and the Mother's Union.

  • Bibliothèque Nationale de France: Gallica: la bibliothèque numérique sur l'Afrique (Paris)
    Gallica includes a wide selection of downloadable, online travellers' accounts, colonial documents, maps, illustrations and other images, and publications, including journals, covering the entire African continent ...and other parts of the world.

  • Colonial Caribbean: Colonial Office Files from the National Archives, UK. (1624-1870) -- Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK: Adam Matthew Digital, 2021-
    "Includes administrative documentation, trade and shipping records, minutes of council meetings, and details of plantation life, colonial settlement, imperial rivalries across the region, and the growing concern of absentee landlords."

  • Confidential Print: Africa, 1834-1966 Part of Archives Direct. -- Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK: Adam Matthew Digital, 2012.
    Selected British colonial records from the National Archives in Kew. "The Confidential Print series, issued by the Foreign and Colonial Offices...Spanning the full era of the modern European colonisation of the era of withdrawal that followed the Second World War."
    ***NOTE: This collection contains documents pertaining mostly to the history of colonial development policies in Southern Africa, with some coverage on West Africa.

  • Connecting-Africa (African Studies Centre, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands)
    " [A] service that provides access to African research information produced in the Netherlands, Belgium, and elsewhere...(full-text of publications, images and sound) in about 55 institutional repositories."

  • Constitutions on the Internet

  • Corpus de la première littérature francophone d'Afrique noire, écrite et orale, des origines aux indépendances, fin 18e siècle--1960. (Paris : Classiques Garnier Numérique)
    A small selection of 19th and early 20th century African and colonial French texts.

  • Dictionary of literary biography. (Online). -- Detroit, Michigan: Gale Group, 2003.

  • Droit-Afrique.Com: le droit des entreprises en Afrique francophone. (Paris, France)
    " is a publicly available site covering business law and taxation in 24 French-speaking African countries. It provides: the texts of codes, laws, decrees, orders, agreements, and doctrine; a list of web portals containing African legal information; and a directory of business lawyers..."

  • East African Development Library -- Paris, France: UNESCO Direction de l'Information et de l'Informatique, 1999. --via New Zealand Digital Library, University of Waikato, New Zeland.
    A small archive of digitized documents furnished by the World Bank, FAO, UNDP, and other UN agencies on East African development.
    See also:

  • ELDIS: Electronic Development and Environment Information System (Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)
    Search by country, topic, key issues: Documents are produced by research institutes or international organizations. Note: Some documents listed in the search are only accessible at the IDS library, University of Sussex.

  • Érudit : promoting and disseminating research = promouvoir et diffuser la recherche (Montréal, Québec, Canada)
    Select "Advanced Search" or "Recherche détailée to look for open access, online full-text MA essays/mémoires de maîtrise from McGill University, Université Laval, & Université de Montréal...or journal articles published in major Canadian and French journals.

  • "Gallica: la bibliothèque numérique" de la Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris)

  • Gazettes.Africa (Laws.Africa and AfricanLII, Cape Town, South Africa)
    A digital library of government gazettes from 19 African countries, dating from the 1970s to the present.

  • German Colonial History -- Digital Archives for African Studies

  • House of Commons Parliamentary Papers -- Selections (Cambridge, UK: Chadwyck-Healey, 2005)
    See Subject catalogue, look for Africa under "The Dominions and Colonies" ; "Slavery and the Slave Trade" ; and, "Foreign Affairs and Diplomacy".

  • Le Hub Rural: Appui au développement rural en Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre = The Rural Hub: Supporting Rural Development in Western and Central Africa (Dakar, Sénégal)
    In French and English. Rresearch and development project activities, with an extensive, searchable archive of downloadable reports from US government, intergovernmental, and international NGOs; plus a library of links to web sites of development organizations.
    See also:

  • Iqra'ah Publishing House (Gusau, Zamfara State, Nigeria)
    "The project of collecting and typesetting the Arabic manuscripts of the writings of Sheikhs Uthman bin Fodiyo, Abdullahi bin Fodiyo and Sultan Muhammad Bello (May Allah forgive them all) and their translation into Hausa and English and other languages was conceived in 1991, the very year I left teaching History at University of Sokoto, now Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University, Sakkwato."

  • IRD--Institut de Recherche Pour le Développement "Ressources documentaires -- Horizon/Pleins textes" (Paris, France)
    "Research scientists of the IRD focus on the relationship between humans and their environment in tropical and Mediterranean..."
    See also HORISEN--Base bibliographique de l'IRD pour le Sénégal

  • ISRA--Institut sénégalais de recherches agricoles : Bibliothèque numérique de publications (1974-1999) Greenstone Digital Library Software (Dakar, Sénégal)
    ISRA was established in 1974 to design, organize and complete all research on the rural sector in Senegal.

  • Memórias de África et do Oriente, Biblioteca Digital (Universidade de Aveiro, Centro de Estudos sobre África e do Desenvolvimento--Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, e Fundação Portugal-África, Lisboa, Portugal)
    In Portuguese and English. An online library of historical data available in archives, documentation centers, libraries and institutions, private organizations and individuals African countries with Portuguese as the national language (PALOP)...[and] digitalization of rare works or those works that are difficult to access..."

  • Nineteenth Century Collections--Europe and Africa (Gale Cengage Learning, Farmington Hills, Michigan)
    "Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, and Conquest": selections from The National Archives at Kew, UK, mostly on British and settler colonialism in South Africa and parts of West Africa; American views on colonialism in eastern and southern Africa; and some coverage of French, German, and Portuguese colonialism in west, central, and southern Africa.
    --Also includes periodicals such as: Bulletin du Comité de l'Afrique française (1891-1914); Annuaire du Sénégal et dépendances (1854-1902);
    The East African Standard, Mombasa Times, & Uganda Argus (1905-1913); Deutsche Kolonializeitung (1884-1922)

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. OECD iLibrary (Washington, DC, USA ; Paris, France : OECD)

  • Le Portail du Droit des Affaires en Afrique (Centre d'affaire La Défense, Paris, France)
    An archive of publications in French on African law. Must register to access the full text and other site services.

  • Online Publications on Africa from Research Centers & Universities (Compiled by Columbia University Libraries)

  • RAI--Royal Anthropological Institute Archive. Wiley Digital Archives. (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2018-)
    A unique collection of digitized primary sources over the last 150 years from the RAI, including association files, manuscripts, field notes, conference proceedings, maps, and photographs of art, artifacts, people and places.

  • Royal Geographical Society. Wiley Digital Archives. (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2020-)
    This database offers the digitized archives of the RGS from 1478 to 1953, and contains a range of English language primary sources, searchable manuscripts, correspondence, reports, conference papers, proceedings, maps, charts, atlases, photographs, surveys, data and ephemera produced by the researchers and members of RGS.

  • Sahel point DOC: anthologie du développement au Sahel -- Paris, France: UNESCO, Division de l'Information et de l'Informatique, 1999. --via New Zealand Digital Library, University of Waikato, New Zealand.
    A small archive of documents provided by the World Bank, Centre Songhai, OECD–Club du Sahel, CILSS, FAO, UNDP, and several other organizations in the Sahel.
    See also:

  • SEALS Digital Commons (Southeast Academic Libraries System, South Africa)
    A consortium of academic libraries in South Africa, including: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University ; Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University: Archives and Exhibition Centre ; Rhodes University Archives ; Rhodes University Digital Commons ; Rhodes University: Cory Library ; Rhodes University: International Library of African Music (ILAM) ; Rhodes University: Margaret Smith Library ; University of Fort Hare Institutional Repository ; University of Fort Hare: National Heritage and Cultural Studies Centre ; and, Walter Sisulu University.

  • Slavery, abolition & social justice (Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK: Adam Matthew Publications)
    "...documents key aspects of the history of slavery worldwide over six centuries, with 16 key areas of focus: slavery in the early Americas; African coast; the Middle Passage; slavery and agriculture; urban and domestic slavery; slave testimony; spiritualism and religion in slave communities; resistance and revolts; the Underground Railroad; the abolition movement and the slavery debate; legislation and politics; freed slaves, freedmen and free black settlements; education; slavery and the Islamic world; varieties of slave experience; slavery today and the legacy of slavery. The collection also includes case studies from America, the Caribbean, Brazil, and Cuba."

  • Slavery and anti-slavery: a transnational archive (Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2009-)
    "...includes documents from the United States and Europe, as well as other parts of the world. In addition to newspaper collections and books published in the antebellum era, Slavery and Anti-Slavery contains documents from several archives originally available only on microfilm."

  • Slavery and Manumission Manuscripts of Timbuktu. The Center for Research Libraries. (Chicago, Illinois)
    "The original collection of 206 manuscripts from the Bibliothèque Commémorative Mama Haidara in Timbuktu, Mali, were loaned to John Hunwick, Professor of History and Religion, Northwestern University, with the hope that the manuscripts would receive conservation treatment and be digitized in order to make them accessible via the Web. The materials, in Arabic, provide documentation on Africans in slavery in Muslim societies."

  • Slavery: Supporters and Abolitionists, 1675-1865. (East Ardsley, Wakefield : Microform Academic Publishers, 2016)
    Part of "British Online Archives": A selection of official reports on the African slave trade during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, with a primary focus on Jamaica and the West Indies, but also parts of West Africa. Drawn from The Bodleian Library, The British Library, and other institutions, this collection includes: 'Records from the Slavery Business' (1692-1849) ; 'Correspondence from Planters and Traders' and the 'Pares Transcripts' (1692-1776: handwritten documents by prominent merchants) ; 'Official Reports on the Conclusion of the Slave Trade in Africa' (1811-1865) ; and, The 'Anti-Slavery Papers' (1833-1892: reports, society minute books, petitions and correspondence from those seeking to end slavery)."

  • Slave Trade Archives -- Digital Projects
    • Harvard University: Liberated Africans Hutchins Center for African and African American Research (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
      A digital resource built around selected "proceedings for about 1,000 trials, registers containing biographical sketches for people removed from slave ships (including physical descriptions), labor contracts, anti-slavery legislation, correspondence on resettlement policies, images of captured slave ships, and even photographs of some liberated Africans."

    • Slave Voyages--The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (Rice University, Houston, Texas ; Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia)
      The site provides free access to selected data on thousands of slave ship voyages; plus scholarly essays, illustrations, animated features, and maps. The latest version (2020) includes the "Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database" ; "Intra-American Slave Trade Database" ; "African Names Database" ; and, "Image Galleries".

    • University of Wisconsin: On-Line Data Archive--Slave Movement During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Madison, Wisconsin)
      An archive of raw data and documentation on selected aspects of the history of the transatlantic slave trade that is downloadable, with free registration.
      See especially: What DISC and the Slave Movement Site Can and Cannot Do for You

    • Vanderbilt University: Slave Societies Digital Archive (Nashville, Tennessee)
      "...dedicated to identifying, cataloging, and digitally preserving endangered archival materials documenting the history of Africans and their descendants in the Atlantic World [especially: Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Spanish Florida, Ouidah (Benin), and Luanda (Angola) ] . The SSDA’s largest and oldest collections were generated by the Catholic Church, which mandated the baptism of African slaves in the fifteenth century and later extended this requirement to the Iberian New World. The baptismal records preserved in Slave Societies are the oldest and most uniform serial data available for the history of Africans in the Atlantic World and offer the most extensive information regarding their ethnic origins...other religious documentation such as confirmations, petitions to wed, wills, and even annulments."

  • United States Foreign Policy on Africa -- Documents
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: "Africana: A Collection of Digitized Books" -- Selected British Colonial Annual Reports from The National Archives, UK, 1800-1939
    Browse records to access the full list and full texts in PDF or plain ASCII text formats.
    The collection includes: The Gambia ; Gold Coast (Ghana) ; Kenya ; Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) ; Nyasaland (Malawi) ; Swaziland ; Uganda

  • University of California, Los Angeles--Modern Endangered Archives Program (Los Angeles, California)
    • Nnamdi Azikiwe Papers, Nsukka, Nigeria
      "Nnamdi Azikiwe, (1904-1996) was the first president of independent Nigeria (1963–66). His personal papers include a draft of his memoirs, state papers from his presidency (1960-1966), and political papers related to the Republic of Biafra. This digital collection includes these materials as well as records from Azikiwe's two presidential campaigns in 1979 and 1983."
    • Ustadh Mau Digital Archive, Lamu, Kenya
      Digitized text selections from the library of Mahmoud Ahmed Abdulkadir, locally known as Ustadh Mau. His private library houses Swahili Muslim manuscript poetry in ajami script, and booklets and memoirs from the Middle East and India."

  • University of Southern California Libraries, Digital Library: Emerging Nationalism in Portuguese Africa, 1959-1965
    Digitized selections in "open access" from the Ronald H. Chilcote Papers held on microfilm: documentary ephemera on emerging nationalism in Portuguese Africa. Emphasis is on materials originating from the nationalist organizations of Angola and Mozambique with lesser amounts on the Cape Verde Islands, Guinea-Biasau, and Sao Tome and Principe. Also included are copies of United Nations documents relating to Portuguese Africa.

  • University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa: Historical Papers Research Archive--Finding Aids and Selections
    [The archive at Wits itself contains] ...over 3000 separate collections of historical, political and cultural importance." The web site offers a searchable catalog of the archive, including selected online documents and images, such as a large number of photos of selected full texts from the archive--downloadable and searchable, as well as inventory guides about its collections, including: Papers of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe (1924-1977) and the Pan Africanist Congress ; The African National Congress; and the Records of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.