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History, Africa

An overview of resource available through the Ryerson University Library for the study of the History of Africa. It covers the modern period (Colonial and Post-Colonial) as well as the pre-colonial period prior to 1850.

RU Library Search Everything

RU Library Search Everything
This search engine searches for journal articles (chiefly those that are available electronically and subscribed to by Ryerson), books, e-books, theses and dissertations, and newspaper articles from some recent and a selection of archival newspapers. It indexes digitized content such as out-of-copyright books and journals that are available from sources such as The Internet Archive and The Hathi Trust.

Refine your search using the filters on the left.

For more advanced searching across a more targeted set of resources, you may want to try a discipline specific indexing/abstracting database or collection as listed in the next box.

Using Basic Search Everything Video


Be specific.  If you want to information related to a topic in a specific geographical entity such as a country (eg. Kenya), region (eg. Africa, North; Horn of Africa) or linguistic groups (eg. Africa, French-speaking), use the specific name or phrase (Kenya, "Africa North", "Horn of Africa", "Africa French-speaking") rather than the more general term Africa. Use these in conjunction with topical keywords such as: history, women, social conditions, politics.

Avoid using as a keyword African by itself as many of the returns will be for African American topics. Phrases such as "South African" "East African" "Central African" "African diaspora" or "African languages" may all be more useful. Once you find a good item, look at the complete catalogue record in order to find the Library of Congress subject headings that are assigned to the item and use these and/or similar headings to find relevant works.

Try using truncated searches that use the *[asterisk] wildcard.  For example, egypt* will find the country name Egypt, as well as words beginning with the five letters egypt. This search will include Egypt's, Egypte, Egyptian, Egyptians, Egyptologist, and, Egyptology..

If searching for a geographic entity that has changed names, use the Boolean operator OR to search for variant names in one search. (eg. Tanzania OR Tanganyika, Madagascar OR "Malagasy republic", Zimbabwe OR Rhodesia)

Key Indexing Resources and Digital Collections

Current and Recent Newspapers

Search for individual newspapers and journals by title from our list of journal titles

Archival Newspapers

RU Library has extensive runs of one British, two Canadian and three important American newspapers. Coverage of historic topics related to Africa may be sparse.