British India

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1909 map. Pink areas including Burma were ruled by the Government of India. Yellow areas had local rulers.

British India means the areas of South Asia which for hundreds of years were under the influence of the English (later the British). From the 1600s until 1858 these areas were run by the English East India Company. From 1858 until 1947 they were the British Raj. Some areas were under the direct rule of the Governor-General of India. He was appointed by the Government of the United Kingdom in London, and was a Viceroy, meaning, the deputy of Queen Victoria.

After 1876 when Queen Victoria become Empress of India, British India was part of the British Indian Empire, which also included hundreds of Indian princely states which had never been conquered by the British and still had control of their own affairs. These were each ruled by local rulers under the protection of the British. These states had almost half the land and a quarter of the people of the British Indian Empire. This empire is sometimes called the British Raj.

British India included the regions of the present-day People's Republic of Bangladesh, Republic of India, Burma and Pakistan (1858–13th August 1947).

Provinces[change | change source]

Until independence in 1947, British India had seventeen provinces.

The former British India was split into the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. Twelve provinces (Ajmer-Merwara-Kekri, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Assam, Bihar, Bombay, Central Provinces and Berar, Coorg, Delhi, Madras, Panth-Piploda, Orissa, and the United Provinces) became provinces within India. Three (Baluchistan, North-West Frontier, and Sindh) were in Pakistan. Two (Bengal and Punjab) were shared between India and Pakistan.

In 1950, after the new Indian Constitution, the provinces in India were replaced by states and union territories. Pakistan kept its five provinces. East Bengal, which was renamed East Pakistan in 1956, became the independent nation of Bangladesh in 1971.

Further reading[change | change source]