Textmining Colonialism

Nigerian Annual Colonial Reports, 1897 to 1938

Cleaned Word Cloud

Project Overview: 
During colonial rule, British Colonial administrators were expected to submit an annual report of the activities in the colonies. The sizes of these reports could range from a few pages (less than 20) to over several pages (more than 100). Given the vast territorial holdings of Britain, these documents provided a lens through which the Colonial Office and the British Parliament were kept informed of the colonies. The documents provided a brief history and geography of the territory and then they delved into more substantial issues such as revenues, expenditures, trade, demographics (births and mortality), social welfare, migrations, etc.

For British officials who looked at these reports each year, they could make some general observations about the state of the territory. They could answer questions such as, is this territory improving or in decline? What are the revenues in relation to expenditures year in and year out? What regions of the territory are either struggling or prospering, and why? Between 1897 and 1938, about 63 reports were issued from Nigeria. These contain a total of over 1.4million. What this project does is to use Voyant to distant read these documents in order to see what questions they may answer or generate toward leading me to closer reading of the documents or other archival research.

Cirrus Word Clouds                  Keywords Frequency Graphs

Analyzing Word Cloud            Phases of Colonialism

  Exploring the Corpus                           Reflection on the Project