British Raj

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  • India

The British Indian Empire in 1936
The British Indian Empire in 1936
StatusImperial political structure comprising
(a) British India (a quasi-federation of
presidencies and provinces directly governed by the
 British Crown through
the Viceroy and Governor-General of India);
(b) Princely states, governed by Indian rulers, under the
 suzerainty of the British Crown exercised through the
Viceroy and Governor-General of India[1]
Common languages (official, Urdu from 1857. Hindi added from 1900) Indian languages
Monarch of the United Kingdom and Emperor/Empressa 
• 1858–1901
• 1901–1910
Edward VII
• 1910–1936
George V
• 1936
Edward VIII
• 1936–1947
George VI
Viceroy and Governor-Generalc 
• 1858–1862
(first) Charles Canning
• 1947
(last)  Louis Mountbatten
Secretary of State 
• 1858–1859
(first) Edward Stanley
• 1947
(last)  William Hare
LegislatureImperial Legislative Council
23 June 1757 & 10 May 1857
2 August 1858
18 July 1947
15 August 1947
CurrencyIndian rupee
ISO 3166 codeIN
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Company rule in India
Mughal Empire
Emirate of Afghanistan
Dominion of India
Dominion of Pakistan
British rule in Burma
Trucial States
Colony of Aden
Straits Settlements
Today part of Bangladesh
 China (disputed)
 United Arab Emirates
  1. Title existed 1876–1948
  2. Full title was "Viceroy and Governor-General of India"

The British Raj is a term of history. "Raj" is a word of Indian languages which means "rule", so "British Raj" means rule by the British in India. This rule was before 1947 and was over parts of what are now four countries, the Republic of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar At that time, these four countries were all part of the British Indian Empire, known at the time as the Indian Empire and sometimes now spoken of as the "British Raj".

The "British Raj" is used to talk of the direct British rule over areas which had been conquered by the British, known as British India, and also the British influence over hundreds of independent "princely states" ruled by their own Indian rulers, under the overall authority of the British crown.

Undivided India is another term which is used to mean the whole area of British rule, but it does not take in Burma, which from 1937 was a British colony on its own. The colony of Aden came under the same government in India from 1858 to 1937, and so did British Somaliland (now part of Somalia) from 1884 to 1898 and Singapore from 1858 to 1867.

British rule in Pakistan and the East Bengal region ended on 14 August 1947, while British rule in the rest of what had been British India ended on 15 August 1947, however the boundaries came into effect on the 18th of that month as two countries.

Jammu and Kashmir, like the other princely states, had not been under direct British rule. India and Pakistan have gone to war over this area, and it is now divided between them.

References[change | change source]

  1. Interpretation Act 1889 (52 & 53 Vict. c. 63), s. 18.