The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in India. Collectively, they were called British India. In one form or another, they existed between 1612 and 1947, conventionally divided into three historical periods:
Imperial entities of India
|Casa da Índia||1434–1833|
|Portuguese East India Company||1628–1633|
|East India Company||1612–1757|
|Company rule in India||1757–1858|
|British rule in Burma||1824–1948|
|Partition of India|
In 1608, Mughal authorities allowed the English East India Company to establish a small trading settlement at Surat (now in the state of Gujarat), and this became the company's first headquarters town. It was followed in 1611 by a permanent factory at Machilipatnam on the Coromandel Coast, and in 1612 the company joined other already established European trading companies in Bengal in trade. However, the power of the Mughal Empire declined from 1707, first at the hands of the Marathas and later due to invasion from Persia (1739) and Afghanistan (1761); after the East India Company's victories at the Battle of Plassey (1757) and Battle of Buxar (1764)—both within the Bengal Presidency established in 1765—and the abolishment of local rule (Nizamat) in Bengal in 1793, the Company gradually began to formally expand its territories across India. By the mid-19th century, and after the three Anglo-Maratha Wars the East India Company had become the paramount political and military power in south Asia, its territory held in trust for the British Crown.
Company rule in Bengal from 1793, however, ended with the Government of India Act 1858 following the events of the Bengal Rebellion of 1857. From then known as British India, it was thereafter directly ruled by the British Crown as a colonial possession of the United Kingdom, and India was officially known after 1876 as the Indian Empire. India was divided into British India, regions that were directly administered by the British, with Acts established and passed in British Parliament, and the Princely States, ruled by local rulers of different ethnic backgrounds. These rulers were allowed a measure of internal autonomy in exchange for British suzerainty. British India constituted a significant portion of India both in area and population; in 1910, for example, it covered approximately 54% of the area and included over 77% of the population. In addition, there were Portuguese and French exclaves in India. Independence from British rule was achieved in 1947 with the formation of two nations, the Dominions of India and Pakistan, the latter also including East Bengal, present-day Bangladesh.
The term British India also applied to Burma for a shorter time period: starting in 1824, a small part of Burma, and by 1886, almost two-thirds of Burma had come under British India. This arrangement lasted until 1937, when Burma commenced being administered as a separate British colony. British India did not apply to other countries in the region, such as Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), which was a British Crown colony, or the Maldive Islands, which were a British protectorate. At its greatest extent, in the early 20th century, the territory of British India extended as far as the frontiers of Persia in the west; Afghanistan in the northwest; Nepal in the north, Tibet in the northeast; and China, French Indo-China and Siam in the east. It also included the Aden Province in the Arabian Peninsula.
The East India Company, which was incorporated on 31 December 1600, established trade relations with Indian rulers in Masulipatam on the east coast in 1611 and Surat on the west coast in 1612. The company rented a small trading outpost in Madras in 1639. Bombay, which was ceded to the British Crown by Portugal as part of the wedding dowry of Catherine of Braganza in 1661, was in turn granted to the East India Company to be held in trust for the Crown.
Meanwhile, in eastern India, after obtaining permission from the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to trade with Bengal, the Company established its first factory at Hoogly in 1640. Almost a half-century later, after Mughal Emperor Aurengzeb forced the Company out of Hooghly due to tax evasion, Job Charnock purchased three small villages, later renamed Calcutta, in 1686, making it the Company's new headquarters. By the mid-18th century, the three principal trading settlements including factories and forts, were then called the Madras Presidency (or the Presidency of Fort St. George), the Bombay Presidency, and the Bengal Presidency (or the Presidency of Fort William) — each administered by a Governor.
After Robert Clive's victory in the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the puppet government of a new Nawab of Bengal, was maintained by the East India Company. However, after the invasion of Bengal by the Nawab of Oudh in 1764 and his subsequent defeat in the Battle of Buxar, the Company obtained the Diwani of Bengal, which included the right to administer and collect land-revenue (land tax) in Bengal, the region of present-day Bangladesh, West Bengal and Bihar beginning from 1772 as per the treaty signed in 1765. By 1773, the Company obtained the Nizāmat of Bengal (the "exercise of criminal jurisdiction") and thereby full sovereignty of the expanded Bengal Presidency. During the period, 1773 to 1785, very little changed; the only exceptions were the addition of the dominions of the Raja of Banares to the western boundary of the Bengal Presidency, and the addition of Salsette Island to the Bombay Presidency.
Portions of the Kingdom of Mysore were annexed to the Madras Presidency after the Third Anglo-Mysore War ended in 1792. Next, in 1799, after the defeat of Tipu Sultan in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War more of his territory was annexed to the Madras Presidency. In 1801, Carnatic, which had been under the suzerainty of the Company, began to be directly administered by it as a part of the Madras Presidency.
By 1851, the East India Company's vast and growing holdings across the sub-continent were still grouped into just four main territories:
By the time of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and the end of Company rule, the developments could be summarised as follows:
The British Raj began with the idea of the Presidencies as the centres of government. Until 1834, when a General Legislative Council was formed, each Presidency under its Governor and Council was empowered to enact a code of so-called 'Regulations' for its government. Therefore, any territory or province that was added by conquest or treaty to a presidency came under the existing regulations of the corresponding presidency. However, in the case of provinces that were acquired but were not annexed to any of the three Presidencies, their official staff could be provided as the Governor-General pleased, and was not governed by the existing regulations of the Bengal, Madras, or Bombay Presidencies. Such provinces became known as "Non-Regulation Provinces" and up to 1833 no provision for a legislative power existed in such places. The same two kinds of management applied for districts. Thus Ganjam and Vizagapatam were non-regulation districts. Non-Regulation Provinces included:
At the turn of the 20th century, British India consisted of eight provinces that were administered either by a Governor or a Lieutenant-Governor. The following table lists their areas and populations (but does not include those of the dependent Native States): During the partition of Bengal (1905–1912), a new Lieutenant-Governor's province of Eastern Bengal and Assam existed. In 1912, the partition was partially reversed, with the eastern and western halves of Bengal re-united and the province of Assam re-established; a new Lieutenant-Governor's province of Bihar and Orissa was also created.
|Province of British India||Area (in thousands of square miles)||Population (in millions of inhabitants)||Chief Administrative Officer|
|Central Provinces and Berar||104||13||Chief Commissioner|
In addition, there were a few minor provinces that were administered by a Chief Commissioner:
|Minor Province||Area (in thousands of square miles)||Population (in thousands of inhabitants)||Chief Administrative Officer|
|North-West Frontier Province||16||2,125||Chief Commissioner|
|British Baluchistan||46||308||British Political Agent in Baluchistan served as ex officio Chief Commissioner|
|Coorg||1.6||181||British Resident in Mysore served as ex officio Chief Commissioner|
|Ajmer-Merwara||2.7||477||British Political Agent in Rajputana served as ex officio Chief Commissioner|
|Andaman and Nicobar Islands||3||25||Chief Commissioner|
At the time of independence in 1947, British India had 17 provinces:
Upon the Partition of British India into the Dominion of India and Dominion of Pakistan, 11 provinces (Ajmer-Merwara-Kekri, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bihar, Bombay, Central Provinces and Berar, Coorg, Delhi, Madras, Panth-Piploda, Orissa, and the United Provinces) joined India, 3 (Baluchistan, North-West Frontier and Sindh) joined Pakistan, and 3 (Punjab, Bengal and Assam) were partitioned between India and Pakistan.
In 1950, after the new Indian Constitution was adopted, the provinces in India were replaced by redrawn states and union territories. Pakistan, however, retained its five provinces, one of which, East Bengal, was renamed East Pakistan in 1956 and became the independent nation of Bangladesh in 1971.
The 1930s (pronounced "nineteen-thirties", commonly abbreviated as the "Thirties") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1930, and ended on December 31, 1939.
After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the largest stock market crash in American history, most of the decade was consumed by an economic downfall called the Great Depression that had a traumatic effect worldwide, leading to widespread unemployment and poverty, especially in the United States, an economic superpower, and Germany, who had to deal with the reparations regarding World War I. The Dust Bowl (which gives the nickname the Dirty Thirties) in the United States further emphasised the scarcity of wealth. Herbert Hoover worsened the situation with his failed attempt to balance the budget by raising taxes. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected, as a response, in 1933, and introduced the New Deal. The founding of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the funding of numerous projects (e.g. the Hoover Dam) helped restore prosperity in the US.
Meanwhile, authoritarian regimes emerged in several countries in Europe and South America, in particular the Third Reich in Germany. Germany elected Adolf Hitler, who imposed the Nuremberg Laws, a series of laws which discriminated against Jews and other ethnic minorities. Weaker states such as Ethiopia, China, and Poland were invaded by expansionist world powers, the last of these attacks leading to the outbreak of the World War II on September 1, 1939, despite calls from the League of Nations for worldwide peace. World War II helped end the Great Depression when governments spent money for the war effort. The 1930s also saw a proliferation of new technologies, especially in the fields of intercontinental aviation, radio, and film.1940s
The 1940s (pronounced "nineteen-forties" and commonly abbreviated as the "Forties") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1940, and ended on December 31, 1949.
Most of World War II took place in the first half of the decade, which had a profound effect on most countries and people in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. The consequences of the war lingered well into the second half of the decade, with a war-weary Europe divided between the jostling spheres of influence of the Western world and the Soviet Union, leading to the beginning of the Cold War. To some degree internal and external tensions in the post-war era were managed by new institutions, including the United Nations, the welfare state, and the Bretton Woods system, facilitating the post–World War II economic expansion, which lasted well into the 1970s. However, the conditions of the post-war world encouraged decolonization and the emergence of new states and governments, with India, Pakistan, Israel, Vietnam, and others declaring independence, although rarely without bloodshed. The decade also witnessed the early beginnings of new technologies (such as computers, nuclear power, and jet propulsion), often first developed in tandem with the war effort, and later adapted and improved upon in the post-war era.Agra Province
Agra Province was a part of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh of British India during the closing decades of the British Raj, from 1904 until 1947; it corresponded (under Section 4(4) of United Provinces Act 1, 1904) to the former regions, Ceded and Conquered Provinces (1805–1836) and the North Western Provinces (1836–1902).Amaresh Roy Chowdhury
Amaresh Roy Chowdhury (born 1928) is a Bangladeshi classical vocalist of the Indian sub-continent. He was awarded Ekushey Padak in 2016 by the Government of Bangladesh for his contribution to classical music.Arakkal kingdom
Arakkal kingdom (Kingdom of Cannanore, Sultanate of Laccadive and Cannanore) was a former city-state on the Malabar Coast, ruled by a dynasty of the same name. The ruling King was called Ali Raja ("the Sea Ruler") and the ruling queen was called Arakkal Beevi. Arakkal kingdom included little more than the Cannanore town and the southern Laccadive Islands (Agatti, Kavaratti, Androth and Kalpeni, as well as Minicoy), originally leased from the Kolattiri. The royal family is said to be originally a branch of the Kolattiri, descended from a princess of that family who converted to Islam. They owed allegiance to the Kolattiri rulers, whose ministers they had been at one time. The rulers followed the Marumakkathayam system of matrilineal inheritance, a system which is unique to a section of Hindus of Kerala. Under Marumakkathayam, the succession passes to the male offspring of its female members, in other words from a man to his sister's son and so forth. As the only Muslim rulers in Malabar, they saw the rise of Hyder Ali as the opportunity to increase their own power at the expense of Chirakkal, and invited him to invade Malabar. Ali Raja Kunhi Amsa II and his successor, Arakkal Bibi Junumabe II, were among Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan's staunchest allies during the Mysore occupation.The Bibi received no special treatment after the treaties of Srirangapatam, and settlement negotiations were long and difficult but she finally signed an agreement in 1796 that guaranteed continued possession of the city of Cannanore and the Laccadive Islands, but deprived her of any claim to sovereignty. Yet, as late as 1864, the Bibi of Cannanore was included in an official list of "native sovereigns and chiefs" as being entitled to a seven-gun salute, the only Malabar prince so listed. Because of the outbreak of the war with France shortly after the 1796 agreement, as well as other considerations, the Laccadive Islands remained unnoticed and the Bibi continued to rule them with no restrictions. The islands were misgoverned throughout the 19th century, and the British Government had to assume their administration at least twice, in 1854-1861, and again (permanently as it turned out) in 1875. In 1905, in exchange for the remission of overdue tribute, the payment of an annual pension to the head of the family, and the title of Sultan, the Ali Raja at last agreed to cede all rights, whether as sovereign or tenant, to the Laccadive Islands, including Minicoy, which the family claimed as their private property.
The king's palace, which he purchased from the Dutch in 1663, was named Arakkal Palace after the ruling dynasty.British India (disambiguation)
The Presidencies and provinces of British India, collectively known as "British India", were the administrative units of the territories of the Indian Subcontinent between 1612 and 1947. This included Burma to 1937, but may or may not include the Indian Princely States or British protectorates.
British India may also refer to:
Company rule in India (1757–1858)
British Raj (1858–1947) officially known as the "Indian Empire"British Indian passport
The British Indian passport was a passport, proof of national status and travel document issued to British subjects of the British Indian Empire, British subjects from other parts of the British Empire, and the subjects of the British protected states in the Indian subcontinent (i. e. the British Protected Persons of the 'princely states'). The title of state used in the passport was the "Indian Empire", which covered Aden, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, and non French and Portuguese India.
The use of the passport was discontinued in Aden and Burma in 1937, on becoming Crown colonies, and in 1947 in the new Dominions of India and Pakistan (which included Bangladesh). Bearers of the passport in the Dominions of Pakistan and India could opt for Indian, Pakistani or British nationality.Charles Bruce (governor)
Sir Charles Bruce (1836 – 13 December 1920) was a British colonial administrator and author. He was the 18th Governor of Mauritius, from 1897 to 1903.Divisions of British India
The Divisions of British India were administrative units of the Government of the British Raj or Indian Empire.Doctrine of lapse
The doctrine of lapse was an annexation policy applied by the British (EIC) East India Company in India until 1848.
According to the doctrine, any Indian princely state under the suzerainty of the British East India Company (the dominant imperial power in the subcontinent), as a vassal state under the British subsidiary system, would have its princely status abolished (and therefore annexed into British India) if the ruler was either "manifestly incompetent or died without a male heir". The latter supplanted the long-established right of an Indian sovereign without an heir to choose a successor. In addition, the British decided whether potential rulers were competent enough. The doctrine and its application were widely regarded by many Indians as illegitimate.
The policy is most commonly associated with Lord Dalhousie, who was the Governor General of the East India Company in India between 1848 and 1856. However, it was articulated by the Court of Directors of the East India Company as early as 1834 and several smaller states were already annexed under this doctrine before Dalhousie took over the post of Governor-General. Dalhousie used the policy most vigorously and extensively, though, so it is generally associated with him. The accession of Lord Dalhousie inaugurated a new chapter in the history of British India.Dominion of Pakistan
Pakistan (Bengali: পাকিস্তান অধিরাজ্য pakistan ôdhirajyô; Urdu: مملکتِ پاکستان mumlikāt-ē pākistān), also called the Dominion of Pakistan, was an independent federal dominion in South Asia that was established in 1947 as a result of the Pakistan movement, followed by the simultaneous partition of British India to create a new country called Pakistan. The dominion, which included much of modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, was conceived under the two-nation theory as an independent country composed of the Muslim-majority areas of the former British India.
To begin with, it did not include the princely states of Pakistan, which acceded slowly between 1947 and 1948. Dominion status ended in 1956 with the creation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which was administratively split into West Pakistan and East Pakistan. In 1971 East Pakistan seceded from the union to become Bangladesh.Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty
Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty (in Bangla কল্যাণ কুমার চক্রবর্তী, Hindi कल्याण कुमार चक्रवर्ती) (born 2 September 1947) is an Indian historian, art historian, writer, action anthropologist, academician and administrator, known for his intercultural and cross-disciplinary research and activism. A retired officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) of the 1970 batch (retired 2007), he was appointed Chairman of the Lalit Kala Akademi, India’s federal fine arts academy, in 2013.
He has authored significant books on archaeology, rock art, art history, tribal issues, museology, public policy, philosophy of religion and art.Legislatures of British India
The Legislatures of British India included legislative bodies in the presidencies and provinces of British India, the Imperial Legislative Council, the Chamber of Princes and the Central Legislative Assembly. The legislatures were created under Acts of Parliament of the United Kingdom. Initially serving as small advisory councils, the legislatures evolved into partially elected bodies, but were never elected through suffrage. Provincial legislatures saw boycotts during the period of dyarchy between 1919 and 1935. After reforms and elections in 1937, the largest parties in provincial legislatures formed governments headed by a Prime Minister. A few British Indian subjects were elected to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which had superior powers than colonial legislatures. British Indian legislatures did not include Burma's legislative assembly after 1937, the State Council of Ceylon nor the legislative bodies of princely states.Madras Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act
The Madras Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act (also called the Tamil Nadu Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act or the Madras Devadasi Act) is a law that was enacted on 9 October 1947 just after India became independent from British rule. The law was passed in the Madras Presidency and gave devadasis the legal right to marry and made it illegal to dedicate girls to Hindu temples. The bill that became this act was the Devadasi Abolition Bill.Periyar E. V. Ramasamy was instrumental in passing the Devadasi Abolition Bill but, owing to strong protests from devadasis across Madras Presidency, he suggested that the bill be introduced only as a private bill and not a public bill.Muthulakshmi Reddi proposed the bill to the Madras Legislative Council as early as 1930 but was passed on only during the Premiership of O. P. Ramaswamy Reddiyar (a.k.a. Omandur Reddy]]'s Congress led government on 9 October 1947.Some devadasis objected to the bill because they considered themselves sophisticated and learned artists rather than prostitutes. The Madras Devadasi Act was not as strict as subsequent related laws. Because the Madras Devadasi Act was specific to devadasis, prostitution continued in South India, particularly along the coast in Andhra Pradesh, until the Madras Anti-Devadasi Act was passed on 14 August 1956. The Madras Devadasi Act is one of several laws passed in the presidencies and provinces of British India and the subsequent states and territories of India that made prostitution illegal, including the 1934 Bombay Devadasi Protection Act, the 1957 Bombay Protection (Extension) Act, and the 1988 Andhra Pradesh Devadasi (Prohibition of Dedication) Act.Pakistan Declaration
The "Pakistan Declaration" (titled Now or Never; Are We to Live or Perish Forever?) was a pamphlet written and published by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, on 28 January 1933, in which the word Pakstan (without the letter "i") was used for the first time and was circulated to the delegates of the Third Round Table Conference in 1933.Parliamentary history of Pakistan
The political history of Pakistan (Urdu: پاکستان کی سیاسی تاريخ) is the narrative and analysis of political events, ideas, movements, and leaders of Pakistan. Pakistan gained independence from the United Kingdom on 14 August 1947, when the Presidencies and provinces of British India was divided by the United Kingdom, in a region which is commonly referred to as the Indian subcontinent. Since its independence, Pakistan has had a colorful yet turbulent political history at times, often characterized by martial law and inefficient.Prostitution in Myanmar
Prostitution in Myanmar (also known as Burma) is illegal, but widespread. Prostitution is a major social issue that particularly affects women and children. UNAIDS estimate there to be 66,000 prostitutes in the country.Women are often lured into prostitution with the promise of legitimate jobs, substantially higher pay, and because their low educational levels makes it difficult for them to find jobs elsewhere. In many instances, such women come from remote regions.Prostitution in colonial India
The practice of prostitution in colonial India was influenced by British rule dating back to the 19th century. From this century, continuing to the early 20th century, the rule of British India facilitated, regulated, and many times encouraged prostitution. Not only was Indian prostitution affected by the policy of the Governor General of India, it was also influenced by British cultural beliefs and conflicts. Colonial tensions, cultural misunderstandings, and concern for racial superiority played large roles in British regulation of prostitution. The British had a profound effect on prostitution in India, both legislatively and socially.United Provinces (1937–50)
The United Provinces (UP) was a province of British India and, subsequently, Independent India.
Presidencies and provinces of the British Raj
Italics = outside present Indian & Pakistan
|Districts in the Madras Presidency|
|Districts in the Bengal Presidency|
|Districts in the Bombay Presidency|
|Post independence historical districts|