The National Archives (United Kingdom)

Dr Michael Talbot, Teaching Fellow in Ottoman history, on the resources for Middle Eastern Historians in the National Archives in London.


The National Archives is the official state repository for the United Kingdom and is situated in Kew Gardens, London. Among the archive’s 11 million records, comprising hundreds of millions of documents, are vast numbers of items relating to the history of interactions between the peoples of the British Isles and the Middle East from the Crusades to colonial rule. As well as documents in European languages, The National Archives contains a significant collection of documents in Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, and Persian.


The National Archives holds records of the English and subsequently the British state dating back to the eleventh century. Often still known by one of its former names, the Public Record Office (PRO), the archive owes its current form to a law passed in 1838 aimed at gathering the scattered and often poorly-kept documents of the British government and judicial system. The current collection represents the merger by…

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