Catalogue description Records of the British Administration in Aden, 1839-1967

This record is held by British Library: Asian and African Studies

Details of IOR/R/20
Reference: IOR/R/20
Title: Records of the British Administration in Aden, 1839-1967

This collection received through the Foreign Office during 1966-67, comprises the records of successive British administrations in Aden, dating from 1839 to 1967, namely:


The Political Agency (to 1854) and Political Residency (from 1854) under the Government of Bombay (1839-1932)


The Chief Commissionership under the Government of India (1932-37)


The Crown Colony under the Colonial Office (1937-63)


The High Commission under the Colonial Office and Foreign Office (1963-67).


The records are arranged in annual volumes of correspondence until around 1900 and then generally in subject files. They are organized into seven archive groups as follows:


A: Records of the Settlement of Aden 1839-1937 and Protectorate Affairs, 1878-1928;


B: Records of the Secretariat of the Colony of Aden, 1937-1962;


C: Files of the Aden Protectorate, 1928-1962;


D: Files of the High Commission for Aden, 1962-1967;


E: Government of Bombay Political and Secret Department Files relating to Aden, 1837-1931;


F: Maps, c.1860-1967 - this series has been transferred to the main Map Collection under reference IOR: W;


G: Aden Library, C.1860-1967.


Residents, Governors, etc. of Aden 1839-1967


Captain S. B. Haines, Indian Navy, Political Agent 1839-54


Major-General J. Outram, Political Agent 1854-6


Col. W. Coghlan, Political Resident 1856-62


Major-General R. W. Honner, Political Resident 1862


Col. W. Coghlan, Political Resident 1863


Major W. L. Merewether, Political Resident 1863-7


Major-General Sir E. L. Russell, Political Resident 1867-70


Major-General C. W. Tremenheere, Political Resident 1870-2


Brigadier-GeneraI J. W. Schneider, Political Resident 1872-7


Brigadier-General F. A. E. Loch, Political Resident 1877-82


Brigadier-GeneraI J. Blair, Political Resident 1882-5


Brigadier-General A. G. F. Hogg, Political Resident 1885-90


Brigadier-General J. Jopp, Political Resident 1890-5


Brigadier-General C. A. Cunningham, Political Resident 1895-9


Brigadier-General O'Moore Creagh, Political Resident 1899-1901


Brigadier-General P. J. Maitland, Political Resident 1901-4


Major-General H. M. Mason, Political Resident 1904-6


Major-General E. De Brath, Political Resident 1906-10


Brigadier-GeneraI J. A. Bell, Political Resident 1910-14


Brigadier-General C. H. U. Price, Political Resident 1915


Major-General J. M. Stewart, Political Resident 1916-20


Major-General T. E. Scott, Political Resident 1920-5


Major-General J. H. K. Stewart, Political Resident 1925-8


Lieutenant-Colonel Sir G. S. Symes, Political Resident 1928-30


Lieutenant-Colonel B. R. Reilly, Political Resident 1930-2


Lieutenan t-Colonel B. R. Reilly, Chief Commissioner 1932-7


Sir Bernard Reilly, Governor 1937-40


Sir John Hathorn Hall, Governor 1940-4


Sir Reginald Champion, Governor 1944-51


Sir Tom Hickinbotham, Governor 1951-6


Sir William Luce, Governor 1956-60


Sir Charles Johnston, Governor 1960-3


Sir Kennedy Trevaskis, High Commissioner 1963-5


Sir Richard Turnbull, High Commissioner 1965-7


Sir Humphrey Trevelyan, High Commissioner 1967

Date: 1839-1967
Related material:

India Office Records: Broughton Papers (Home miscellaneous); Political and Secret Department records; various collections in the Private Papers (European Mss).


Public Record Office: for 1st world war period see Foreign Office records; for Protectorate affairs after 1921see Colonial Office records; for the administration of the Colony after 1937 see C.O.725 series.

Held by: British Library: Asian and African Studies, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Physical description: Approximately 12,232 files/volumes (120 maps transferred to IOR/W)
Access conditions:


Publication note:

P.J.Tuson, India Office Library and Records, Sources for Middle East Studes (London, 1984); R.J.Gavin, Aden under British Rule 1839-1967 (London, 1975); D.Ingrams (ed.), Records of Yemen, 1798-1960 (Slough: Archive Editions, 1993)

Administrative / biographical background:

The first British attempt to form official relationship with Yemen took place in 1802 when Sir Home Popham was sent to Aden to negotiate commercial treaties. As a result, a treaty was concluded with the Sultan of Lahej but nothing was agreed with the Imam of Yemen. In 1839 Captain Stafford Bettesworth Haines of the Indian Navy occupied Aden by force in view of establishing a permanent coaling station there to facilitate steam navigation.


Aden became part of the British overseas territory and was under British rule from 1839 to 1967. In the second half of the 19th century, Britain signed a series of Treaties with Aden's neighbouring tribal states offering them protection against the interference of Ottoman government and against other European powers. In 1873 the British drew up a list of nine tribes known as the "nine Cantons" and these areas effectively became the earliest part of the so-called "Aden Protectorate". In 1882 Britain proposed to the Ottoman Porte to delimit the frontier. The delimitation process divided Yemen into two distinctive parts: the northern Yemen was essentially under Turkish administration and the southern region mainly in the British sphere of influence. After numerous border disputes, the delimitation was completed in 1907 but it did not stop the Protectorate expanding further its sphere of influence. A few more states joined the Protectorate after the World War I.


The Aden administration and the Protectorate affairs were initially under the supervision of the Bombay Legislative Assembly. During the World War I the Resident in Aden simultaneously reported to three different offices in London, i.e. the India Office, the Foreign Office and the War Office. The multi-layered administration caused considerable confusion and it was finally decided in 1927 that Aden was to report to the India Office and the Protectorate came under the responsibility of the Colonial Office. In 1932 Aden became a Chief Commissioner's Province and reported direct to the Government of India.


On 1 April 1937 Aden was officially separated from the control of the Government of India and became a Crown Colony and was made responsible to the Colonial Office. In 1940 the Aden Government decided to divide the Protectorate into two administrative regions, the Eastern Aden Protectorate and the Western Aden Protectorate. After the WWII, in 1947 Yemen became a member of the United Nations. The Imam of Yemen repeated his claims of Aden and its Protectorate against the British expansionists. The Anglo-Yemini conference took place in 1950-51 and concluded the Modus vivendi agreement and diplomatic exchange was established between Britain and Yemen. A Yemeni Minister was posted in London and the first British Chargé d'Affaires in Taiz was accepted by the Imam. The Chargé d'Affaires was responsible to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in London, while the Governor of Aden reported to the Colonial Office and acting as the intermediary between the Imam and the British Government. In 1959 the Federation of Arab Amirates of the South was inaugurated as an autonomous entity subject to British advice and guaranteed by a British defence treaty. The Federation initially included the states in the Western Protectorate and some years later, some states in the Eastern Protectorate also joined. On 27 November 1962 Aden also became part of the Federation. The Federation was never recognized by the Imam of Yemen or by the United Nations.


In the 1950s and 60s Aden experienced continuous industrial strikes and nationalist movement. In Yemen, a revolution broke out after the death of the Imam and the civil war began between the pro-British groups and their various opponents. Under the pressure from both the nationalist activists and the trade unions, the British Government finally decided to leave the Colony, which it had ruled for nearly 130 years. From 1963 to 67, Aden was administered by the High Commission under the Colonial Office and Foreign Office. The last British High Commissioner oversaw the ending of the British rule in May 1967. The last troops left Aden on 29 November of that year and Aden was handed over unconditionally to the National Liberation Front. For a list of Governors, Residents etc, see Notes.

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