Colonial America

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Colonial America will consist of all 1,450 volumes of the CO 5 series of Colonial Office files held at The National Archives in London, plus all extracted documents associated with them. These will be published in five modules.

Three modules are currently available:

  • Module 1: Early Settlement, Expansion and Rivalries
  • Module 2: Towards Revolution
  • Module 3: The American Revolution

Two modules are forthcoming:

  • Module 4: Legislation and Politics in the Colonies (Fall 2018)
  • Module 5: Growth, Trade and Development (2019)

The National Archives’ CO 5 series contains the original correspondence and entry books of the Board of Trade, the Secretary of State for the Southern Department and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, together holding responsibility for the British possessions in mainland North America and the Caribbean. This unique collection of largely manuscript material from the archives of the British government is an invaluable one for students and researchers of all aspects of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century American history and the early-modern Atlantic world.

Thematic Areas include:

Beginning and expansion of English settlement

The development of colonial institutions

Colonial legislation


Economic and industrial development

Settlers’ relationships with Native Americans

English/British relations with the Dutch, French and Spanish

Trade and protectionism


Militias, garrisons and military preparedness


Alliances and diplomacy

Piracy and privateering

Tobacco, sugar and other commodities

Religious matters

Slavery and the slave trade

Non-British immigration

Surveying and exploration

Colonial relationships with the British government

The Glorious Revolution

Political protest and unrest

The American Revolution

Peace negotiations

Naval matters


Coverage: 1606-1822

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