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Central Asia: Sources in the India Office Records

This guide provides information about the archival sources created as a result of British contacts and relations with Central Asia through the agency of the East India Company and the India Office. It deals primarily with official and private materials available in the India Office Records and Private Papers

Arthur Conolly (1807-42)

Portrait of Arthur Conolly (1807-42) by James Atkinson, c.1840. Oil on canvas. [F837] © The British Library Board

Guide to India Office Records relating to Central Asia

(PDF file)

The emphasis is on the Departmental Records, especially those of the Political and Secret Department, covering the period from the late 18th century to the mid-20th century.  The subject area refers to former Russian Turkestan and Chinese Turkestan, comprising the khanates of Bokhara, Khiva, Khokand, Turkoman countries and their immediate neighbour, Kashgaria in Sinkiang.  In general, the forms of place or personal names most commonly found in the documents themselves are adopted.  Some other countries or regions in the vicinity may be included, for instance, Persia (Iran), Afghanistan or Tibet, although it is not the intention to cover all materials relating to those regions. Other guides are available for the following regions:


Who was who in Central Asia

For other related archival sources see Access to Archives.  

For material in Persian or Turkic languages, see Persian Collections and Turkish and Turkic Collections

Main sources in the Guide are drawn from the following series:

Political and Secret Department Records

L/PS/3    Home Correspondence, 1807-1911

L/PS/5    Secret Correspondence with India, 1756-1874

L/PS/7    Political and Secret Correspondence with India, 1875-1911

L/PS/10    Subject Files, 1902-1931

L/PS/11    Annual Files, 1912-1930

L/PS/12    External Files and Collections, 1931-50

L/PS/18    Memoranda, 1840-1947

L/PS/20    Departmental Library, 1800-1947

Other series:

C     Council of India, 1858-1947 

F     Board of Control Records, 1784-1858 

H     Home Miscellaneous, c.1600-c.1900

L/MIL     Military Department, 1716-1957

V    Official Publications

Other materials

MSS EUR    Private Papers, 1600-1947

WD            Prints, Drawings and Photographs

PDF files

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