British Empire
The rise of the British empire - Africa
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Extracts from an 1831 report on the activities of British missionaries in Africa
(Catalogue ref: CO 48/144/104783)
  • This document was created in 1831. It was a summary of the work of the London Missionary Society in South Africa in 1831. It shows just 3 missions in South Africa, but the entire document lists over 20 missions.
  • The London Missionary Society was one of the most important and active Christian missionary organisations in Africa. It first began missions to Africa in 1799.
  • Mission meant 'sending out'. The missionaries saw themselves as being sent out by God to spread the Christian religion to African peoples. They combined their missionary work with other work, most commonly providing medical services or schools (or both).
  • The document set out, in table form, what the various missions of the Society were doing. The columns provide useful information about issues such as the numbers of people going to worship in the mission churches.
  • Other columns include: Number of persons (these are African people); Communicants (people who are full members of the church and receive holy communion at the Christian services in the church); Husbandry (the type of farming going on in the area); Land (measured in morgens, an African unit about the same area as 2 football pitches); Means of support (any other type of work the people do).
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