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Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947
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The British Raj (rāj, lit. "reign" in Hindi) was British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947. The term can also refer to the period of dominion. The region under British control, commonly calledIndia in contemporary usage, included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom (contemporaneously British India), as well as the princely states ruled by individual rulers under the paramountcy of the British Crown. The region was less commonly also called the Indian Empire by the British. As "India", it was a founding member of the League of Nations, and a participating nation in the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936.
The system of governance was instituted in 1858, when the rule of the British East India Company was transferred to the Crown in the person of Queen Victoria (who in 1876 was proclaimed Empress of India), and lasted until 1947, when the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two sovereign dominion states, the Union of India (later the Republic of India) and the Dominion of Pakistan (later the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the eastern half of which, still later, became the People's Republic of Bangladesh).
The budget of the Raj covered municipal affairs, the police, the small but highly trained Indian Civil Service that ran government operations, and the Indian Army. It was paid entirely by Indians through taxes, especially on farmland and on salt. The large, well-trained Indian Army played major roles in both World Wars; the rest of the time it trained to fight off a possible Russian invasion through Afghanistan. Geographical extent
The British raja extended over almost all present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, with exceptions such as Goa and Pondicherry. In addition, at various times, it included Aden (from 1858 to 1937), Lower Burma(from 1858 to 1937), Upper Burma (from 1886 to 1937), British Somaliland (briefly from 1884 to 1898), and Singapore (briefly from 1858 to 1867). Burma was separated from India and directly administered by the British Crown from 1937 until its independence in 1948. The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf were theoretically princely states of British India until 1946 and used the rupee as their unit of currency. Among other countries in the region, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) was ceded to Britain in 1802 under the Treaty of Amiens. Ceylon was a British crown colony but not part of British India. The kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan, having fought wars with the British, subsequently signed treaties with them and were recognised by the British as independent states. The Kingdom of Sikkim was established as a princely state after the Anglo-Sikkimese Treaty of 1861; however, the issue of sovereignty was left undefined. The Maldive Islands were a British protectorate from 1887 to 1965 but not part of British India. Princely states
A Princely State, also called a Native State or an Indian State, was a nominally sovereign entity with an indigenous Indian ruler, subject to a subsidiary alliance. There were 565 princely states when India and Pakistan became independent from Britain in August 1947. The princely states did not form a part of British India (i.e. the presidencies and provinces), as they were not directly under British rule. The larger ones had treaties with Britain that specified which rights the princes had; in the smaller ones the princes had few rights. Within the princely states external affairs, defence and most communications were under British control. The British also exercised a general influence over the states' internal politics, in part through the granting or withholding of recognition of individual rulers. Although there were nearly 600 princely states, the great majority was very small and contracted...