Catalogue description Colonial Office and Predecessors: West Indies Original Correspondence

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Details of CO 318
Reference: CO 318
Title: Colonial Office and Predecessors: West Indies Original Correspondence

This series contains original correspondence relating to the West Indies. Until 1825 the papers are mainly military despatches. Includes from 1843 to 1875 a section on indentured labour ('coolie') immigration; correspondence with the commissioners to enquire into the administration of civil and criminal justice in the West Indies (from 1822) and the commissioners to consider the state of slaves confiscated by the Crown (from 1825), and about the Imperial Department of Agriculture (from 1898).

The rest of the series includes files on economic and political affairs in the West Indies in general, on colonial development and welfare, and on plans for closer association between the separate countries of the British West Indies. The series also contains papers of and relating to the Royal Commission on the West Indies (1938/39) and the international Caribbean Commission (1943-).

Date: 1624-1951

Bound volumes arranged chronologically, and from 1806 primarily within the following subject headings: Despatches (letters of the governors), Offices (letters of government departments and other organisations) and Individuals (arranged alphabetically). Each volume with a contents list, or précis of each letter giving name of correspondent, date of letter and subject matter. With separate volumes of military despatches, and a high proportion of case volumes. From 1926 onwards the correspondence is arranged in subject files.

Related material:

For earlier records see CO 1

For further records see CO 5

For records of the West Indian Incumbered Estates Commission see CO 441

For later correspondence on indentured labour immigration see CO 571

For records relating to the Imperial Department of Agriculture see CO 617

For records of the West India Royal Commission see CO 950

For records relating to United States bases see CO 971

For records after 1951 see CO 1031

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 515 files and volumes
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Unpublished finding aids:

For registers of correspondence before 1849 see CO 326, from 1849 see CO 375. For indexed précis of correspondence see CO 714.

Administrative / biographical background:

This series of Colonial Office records was established for correspondence and papers relating generally to British colonial affairs in the Caribbean region, and should be used in conjunction with the series for the individual colonies.

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