Rule of the British Governors and Governor Generals


After the victory of the English in Buxar, Clive was appointed the governor and commander-in-chief of the English possessions in Bengal.

He settled relations with Oudh by the Treaty of Allahabad in 1765.

Warren Hastings was appointed the Governor of Bengal in 1772.

To bring forth a reform in the affairs of revenue Warren Hastings introduced a five year settlement of land revenue in 1772.

In 1773 the Regulating Act was passed which provided for the setting up of a supreme court to try all British subjects.

Warren Hasting faced an uphill task in dealing with the Indian rulers. He faced stiff resistance from the Marathas in the North and Hyder Ali in the South.

The court of Directors sent Cornwallis in 1786 to carry out the policy of peace outlined in Pitts in India Act to reorganise the administrative set up of the country.

This Permanent Settlement was introduced by Cornwallis.

Other incidents: Treaty of Seringapatam (1792), third Anglo-Mysore War – defeat of Tipu Sultan (1790-92).

Sir John Shore succeeded Cornwallis and followed a policy of non-intervention in the affairs of the native states.

Lord Wellesley is considered to be one of the most brilliant Governor Generals of Bengal.

He introduced the Subsidiary Alliance system to undo with the French influence and bring the Indian states within the purview of the British pow-er of Jurisdiction.

In 1805, Lord Cornwallis came back as the Governor General for the second time.

George Barlow was followed by Lord Minto who was the president of the Board of Control before he became the governor general of the Company.

Lord Minto-I (AD 1807-13) was followed by Lord Hastings who governed from 1813 to 1823.

His rule is famous for a treaty with Shah of Persia and Treaty of Amritsar (1809) with Ranjit Singh.

Marquess of Hastings(AD 1813-1823)– He was the first to appoint Indians to the highest posts of responsibility. The first vernacular newspaper Samachar Patrika published dur-ing his time.

Lord Amherst (AD 1823-1828)– His reign is known for the first Anglo Burmese War (1824-26) and mutiny of Barrackpur (1824).

Lord William Bentinck(AD 1828-35)– English accepted as the medium of instruction after the famous Macau-lay’s recommendation; Medical colleges at Calcutta in 1835; Charter Act of 1833 was passed and he was made the first Governor General of India; Abolition of sati in 1829.

Sir Charles Metcalfe (AD 1835-36)– He removed the restriction on the ver-nacular press.

Lord Auckland (AD 1836-42)– Important events of his regime included the outbreak of first Afghan war and the signing of a Tripartite Treaty among the English, Ranjit Singh and Shah Shuja of Afghanistan.

Lord Ellenborough (AD 1842-44)– His period is known for the end of the first Afghan war,annexation of Sindh to the British Empire (1843).

Lord Hardinge (AD 1844-48)– The most important event of his tenure is the First Sikh War (1845-1846).

Lord Dalhousie (AD 1848-56)– Doctrine of Lapse, The Second Burmese war, The Second Anglo Sikh War, Shim-la made the summer capital, First rail-way line was laid from Bombay to Thane, in 1853.

Lord Canning (AD 1856-58)– Annexation of Avadh, enactment of Hindu Widow Remarriage Bill, 1857, establishment of universities at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay, revolt of 1857. Following the Queen’s recommendation in 1858, transferring the Government from the company to the British Crown, Lord Canning was made the first Viceroy of India.

Lord Elgin Ist (AD 1862)– Suppression of the Wahabi tribe.

Lord John Lawrence (AD 1864-69)– Two famines hit India; first in 1800 in Orisa and second in 1868-69 in Bundelkhand and Rajputana.

A Famine Commission was set up un-der the chairmanship of Sir Henry Campbell.

Lord Mayo (AD 1869-72)– Organised first census which was held in 1871 and started the process of financial de-centralisation in India. Established the Department of Agriculture and commerce.

Lord Northbrook (AD 1872-76)– The Kuka movement; visit of Prince of Wales, famine in Bihar and Bengal in 1873-1874.

Lord Lytton (AD 1876-80)– The Delhi Durbar, January 1, 1877 and the Vernacular Press Act, 1878.

Lord Ripon (AD 1880-84)– First factory Act of 1881. Local Self-Government was introduced in 1882. Repeal of Vernacular Press act.

Lord Dufferin (AD 1884-88)– Third Anglo Burmese war,Establishment of Indian national congress in 1885.

Lord Lansdowne (1888-94)– Factory Act of 1891 granted weekly holiday and stipulated working hours for women and children.

Civil services were divided into imperial, Provincial and Subordinate Services. Indian Councils Act of 1892.

The Durand Commission defined the Durand Line between British India and Afghanistan (now between Pakistan and Afghanistan) in 1893.

Lord Elgin II (AD 1894-99)– Southern uprisings of 1899. Great famine of 1896-1897 and Lyall Commission on famine was established.

Lord Curzon (AD 1899-1905)– Famine Commission, Agriculture Research Institute at Pusa, Partition of Bengal in 1905.

Lord Minto II (AD 1905-10)– Minto-Morley Reforms in 1909. Swadeshi movement(1905-08), foundation of Muslim League (1906), Surat session and split in the congress (1907).

Lord Hardinge II (AD 1910-16)– In the honour of King George Vand Queen Mary of England, Coronation Darbar was held at Delhi.

Capital of country was announced to be shifted from Calcutta to Delhi. The First World War broke out in 1914.

Lord Chelmsford (1916-21)– Government of India Act 1919 (Montague-Chelmsford Reforms), enactment of Rowlatt Act (1919), Jallianwala Bagh Tragedy (1919), beginning of the Non-cooperation Movement.

Lord Reading (AD 1921-26)– Repeal of Rowalatt Act, Chauri-Chaura incident; Moplah Rebellion (1921) took place Kakori TrainRobbery; Communal Riots of 1923-25 in Multan, Amritsar, Delhi, etc.

Lord Irwin (AD 1926-31)– Appointment of Simon commission in 1928. Gandhi-Irwin Pact in 1931; First Around Table Conference (1930).

Lord Willington (AD 1931-36)– The Second Around Table Conference 1931, The communal award, 1932, the Poona pact, Third Round Table Conference, 1932.

Lord Linlithgow (AD 1936-43) – Beginning of the Second World War. Arrival of the Cripps Mission. Beginning of the Quit India Movement.

Lord Wavell (AD 1944-47)– Wavell Plan and Shimla Conference,Cabinet Mission (Lawrence, Cripps and Alexander), Direct Action Day” on August 16, 1946, Attlee’s Declaration,

Lord Mountbatten, (March 1947-June 1948) Last Viceroy of British India and first-Governor general of free India. Partition of India in third week of June, 1947; Indian Independence Act, Partition of the country between two independent states of India and Pakistan. He was succeeded by C. Rajagopalachari.