The formation of the Holy Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in 1622 as a part of the Papacy's attempt to centralize control over overseas missions in Roman hands led to the formation of one of the most important archival deposits in Europe for documentation pertaining to Africa in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Archivio “De Propaganda Fide” in Rome. This Roman-directed missionary organization sent its priests to every corner of the globe, relying especially for its African enterprises on Italian clergy of the Capuchin order. In connection with research on the history of the kingdom of Kongo in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, I have worked extensively with materials frcm both the archives of the “Propaganda Fide” and various deposits of the Capuchin order, including a personal visit to the “Propaganda Fide” in January 1978.
The Archivio “De Propaganda Fide” is located in Rome at Piazza di Spagna, 48, and when I visited it, it was open only four hours a day from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. every day except Sunday and holidays. Aside from the short hours, however, the archive is a pleasant place to work. The staff is friendly and helpful and the reading room well-lighted and well-appointed. In addition, the material is extremely well indexed and easy to use, so that the researcher who knows the system will have no difficulty in locating relevant material with a minimum of leafing and surveying. Fr. Lowrie J. Daly, has described the organization of the collection.
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