British India was the area of India in South Asia which for hundreds of years was under the influence of the English (later the British). From the 1600s until 1858 these areas were run by the English East India Company. After 1858 until 1947 they became 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. In princely states where an agreement was reached, the traditional rule continued, but the British had an influence.
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. This empire is sometimes called the British Raj.
Provinces[change | change source]
At independence in 1947, British India had seventeen provinces.
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- Bengal Province
- Bombay Province
- Central Provinces and Berar
- Delhi Province
- Madras Province
- North-West Frontier Province (1901–55)
- Sind Province
- United Provinces of Agra and Oudh
India was split into Union of India and 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.