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British Raj

1858–1947 British colonial rule on the Indian subcontinent / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The British Raj (/rɑː/ RAHJ; from Hindi rāj, 'kingdom', 'realm', 'state', or 'empire')[11][lower-alpha 1] was the rule of the British Crown on the Indian subcontinent;[13] it is also called Crown rule in India,[14] or Direct rule in India,[15] and lasted from 1858 to 1947.[16] The region under British control was commonly called India in contemporaneous usage and included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, which were collectively called British India, and areas ruled by indigenous rulers, but under British paramountcy, called the princely states. The region was sometimes called the Indian Empire, though not officially.[17]

Quick facts: India, Status, Capital, Official languag...
Royal anthem: 
Political subdivisions of the British Raj, commonly India,  in 1909, showing British India in two shades of pink and the Princely states in yellow
Political subdivisions of the British Raj, commonly India, in 1909, showing British India in two shades of pink and the Princely states in yellow
The British Raj in relation to the British Empire in 1909
The British Raj in relation to the British Empire in 1909
StatusImperial political structure (comprising British India[lower-alpha 1] and the Princely States.[lower-alpha 2]).[2]
CapitalCalcutta[3][lower-alpha 3]
New Delhi
(1911/1931[lower-alpha 4]–1947)
Official languagesEnglish was the language of government correspondence. In the law courts and government officials work, in addition to English everywhere, Urdu was given official status in large parts of northern India, as were vernaculars elsewhere.[5][6][7][8][9][10]
GovernmentBritish Colonial Government
 1858–1876 (Queen); 18761901 (Queen Empress)
Edward VII
George V
Edward VIII
George VI
 1858–1862 (first)
Charles Canning
 1947 (last)
Louis Mountbatten
Secretary of State 
 1858–1859 (first)
Edward Stanley
 1947 (last)
William Hare
LegislatureImperial Legislative Council
10 May 1857
2 August 1858
18 July 1947
14 and 15 August 1947
CurrencyIndian rupee
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png 1858:
Mughal Empire (De jure)
Blank.png Company rule in India (De facto)
Dominion of India
Dominion of Pakistan Blank.png
Persian Gulf Residency Blank.png
Colony of Burma
Colony of Aden Blank.png
Somaliland Protectorate
Straits Setttlements
  1. a quasi-federation of presidencies and provinces directly governed by the British Crown through the Viceroy and Governor-General of India
  2. governed by Indian rulers, under the suzerainty of The British Crown exercised through the Viceroy of India)
  3. Note: Simla was the summer capital of the Government of British India, not of the British Raj, i.e. the British Indian Empire, which included the Princely States.[4]
  4. The proclamation for New Delhi to be the capital was made in 1911, but the city was inaugurated as the capital of the Raj in February 1931.

As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, a participating nation in the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936, and a founding member of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.[18]

This system of governance was instituted on 28 June 1858, when, after the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the rule of the East India Company was transferred to the Crown in the person of Queen Victoria[19] (who, in 1876, was proclaimed Empress of India). It lasted until 1947, when the British Raj was partitioned into two sovereign dominion states: Union of India (later the Republic of India) and Pakistan (later the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of Bangladesh). At the inception of the Raj in 1858, Lower Burma was already a part of British India; Upper Burma was added in 1886, and the resulting union, Burma, was administered as an autonomous province until 1937, when it became a separate British colony, gaining its own independence in 1948. It was renamed Myanmar in 1989. The Chief Commissioner's Province of Aden was also at the inception of the British Raj part of British India. It also became a separate colony in 1937.