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School of Oriental and African Studies

Portuguese Colonies Collection


Reference code(s): GB 0102 MS 346184

Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies

Title: Portuguese Colonies Collection

Date(s): 1960-1972

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 5 boxes

Name of creator(s): Davidson | Basil Risbridger | b 1914 | author and historian


Administrative/Biographical history:

Basil Davidson was born on 9 November 1914. He was a member of the editorial staff of the Economist, 1938-1939. Following a brief spell as diplomatic correspondence for The Star in 1939, Davidson joined the army, serving throughout the European sphere of conflict, including a spell in Italy resulting in his receiving the Freedom of the City of Genoa in 1945. After the war he continued his work as a journalist, as Paris correspondent for The Times until 1949. He subsequently worked for the New Statesman, 1950-1954, for the Daily Herald, 1954-1957, and as leader-writer for the Daily Mirror, 1959-1962.

Since his 1952 Report on South Africa Davidson has written over twenty books on Africa and a number of novels. His publications on Portuguese Africa include In the Eye of the Storm: Angola's People (1972). He was also responsible for an eight-part television documentary on Africa in 1984. Since 1978 he has been an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Birmingham and has received Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Ibadan (1975), Dar es Salaam (1985), Open University (1980) and Edinburgh (1981).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers and publications, 1960-1972, including press releases, circulars, periodicals, press cuttings, and ephemera, collected by Basil Davidson, relating to the Portuguese colonies and independence, mainly in Africa, including Angola, Mozambique, and Congo, on subjects including the Angolan civil war and refugees.


Language/scripts of material: English and French

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Unpublished handlist and database. For an alphabetical listing of all SAMP materials (including material deposited at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies) refer to The South African Materials Project, compiled by Brian Willan, edited by Patricia M Larby (Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, London, 1980).


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Presented in 1975 as part of the Southern African Materials Project 1973-1976 organised by the Centre for International and Area Studies.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds a UNITA document, 'Exposing the lies of Basil Davidson about Angola', 1971 (Ref: MS 380205 File 1).

The British Film Institute, London, holds Davidson's correspondence with Joseph Losey, 1967-1984 (Ref: Losey 257). Reading University Library holds correspondence and papers.

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Source: National Register of Archives.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Apr 2002

Angolan Civil War (1974-) | Civil war | Political movements
Decolonization | Colonial countries | Political systems
Press cuttings | Newspaper press | Press
Refugees | Migrants

Personal names
Davidson | Basil Risbridger | b 1914 | author and historian

Corporate names

Angola | Southern Africa
Congo | Central Africa
Mozambique | Southern Africa
Portugal | Western Europe | Europe