British Raj refers to British “reign” – Raj means “reign” in Hindi. The system was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 -1947. Geographically the Indian subcontinent was…
India, Pakistan, Bengal an Burma
How did British Raj come to be?
- Long before the British Raj came to be the British East India Company gained more and more control on the subcontinent. The company has grown bigger and bigger since it started in the 17th century. The company even had their own army to protect their interests. The shareholders were wealthy merchants and aristocrats - The government in Britain had no shares and only indirect influence. Conflicts and an Indian rebellion in 1847 led to the wish of the Crown to gain absolute and direct control – in order to keep British interests intact. So In 1858 the rule of British East India Company was transformed to Queen Victoria. And in 1878 she was named empress of India. 4 different kings preceded her and along with them numerous Governor Generals. In praxis the Viceroy - The Governor general was Head of the British Administration in India. They were elected for 5 year terms but could be removed earlier. They were to represent the crowns interests in the area. In 1947 the Labour government in Britain whose finances was exhausted by the recently concluded world war 2 and conscious that it had: no mandate at home, no international support and no reliability of the native forces to continue control of India. They decided to end the British rule. The British raj was dissolved and the Indian subcontinent was divided into two separate sovereign nations based on religious demographics. The new Dominion of Pakistan with Muslims and the Union of India with the Hindi religion. Only 3 years later it was transformed to the Republic of India.