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The Centre des Archives d'Outre-Mer in Aix-en-Provence

  • Arjen Taselaar (a1)


Students of French overseas history could hardly imagine a better place to do their research than Aix-en-Provence, the delightful home of the Centre des Archives d'Outre-Mer. Readers of Itinerario will not expect an éloge on this town in the heartland of Provence, about which all travel guide clichés turn out to be true, but readers with experience of the Aix archives will admit that their surroundings easily divert the attention of even the most dedicated historian. The Centre des Archives d'Outre-Mer or CAOM was created in 1966 as an autonomous part of the Archives Nationales. From the outset it was intended to house the archives of the administration of France's former colonies that had gained independence. In 1987, however, the archives of the metropolitan administration were moved from Paris to Aixen-Provence as well. Nowadays, the CAOM houses collections on the former French colonies in Africa, Asia and the Americas.



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1 On the history of the CAOM see, in Dutch, L.H.J. Sicking, ‘Het Centre des Archives d'Outre-Mer te Aix-en-Provence’, Nederlands Archievcnblad 95 (1991) 226232.

2 On the Indochina archives, see Clair, Sylvie, ‘Archives francaises de la péninsule indo-chinoise. Le Centre des Archives d'Outre-mer’, HAS Newsletter 3 (1994) 40. A detailed, but not completely updated, overview of all the CAOM collections can be found in Archives Nationales, Etat Général des Fonds III, Marine et Outn-Mer (Paris 1980). As Algeria was subject to the authority of the Department of the Interior, the ministerial archives on Algeria are not to be found in Aix-en-Provence. The same holds true for the former French protectorates Morocco and Tunisia and the former League of Nations mandates in the Levant. They were subject to the authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Archives on these areas are to be found at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris.

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The Centre des Archives d'Outre-Mer in Aix-en-Provence

  • Arjen Taselaar (a1)


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