History Of The British Raj History Essay

1230 words (5 pages) Essay in History

5/12/16 History Reference this

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The name of the period of British colonial rule in South Asia between the years 1858 and 1947 is “British raj”. The region, called India included areas administered by the United Kingdom. The princely states were ruled by individual rulers under the paramountcy of the British Crown. The political union was officially called the Indian company after 1876. It issued passports under that name. The result of this change was that it was a founding member of the League of Nation and the United Nation. Furthermore it was a member nation of the Summer Olympics in the years 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936. When the rule of the British East India Company was transferred in the person of Queen Victoria, the system of governance was instituted. When the British Indian Empire was portioned into two sovereign dominion states, the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan, it lasted until the year 1947.  In the year 1937 the province of Burma became a separate colony. This province was located in the eastern region of the Indian Empire. Moreover it gained independence in the year 1948.

The Geographical extent of the Raj

India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh – over all these regions the British Raj extended. At various times it included Aden Colony, Lower Burma, Upper Burma, British Somaliland, and Singapore. Only one region was directly administered by the British Crown from 1937 until independence in the year 1948. This region was Burma. In 1802, Ceylon was ceded to the United Kingdom under the Treaty of Amiens. Ceylon was never part of British India, but it was a British Crown Colony .The British having fought wars with the kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan. They signed treaties with them. Also they were recognized by the British as independent states.  



This map shows the British Indian Empire and surrounding countries in the year 1909.


The meaning of “The Raj”

“The Raj” is the name of the British rule in India. This expression was derived from the Sanskrit term raja. The meaning of raja is king. For long time, until after 1858 the term did not have official meaning. But many years before that, it was in popular usage.

Many British merchants made a fortune in India and they return home, because they were derided by those in British high society as “nabobs”. Nabobs was the title for an official under the Moguls.

The British public was fascinated by the tales of life in India. They liked exotic Indian scenes, for instance a drawing of an elephant fight. 







This drawing appeared in books published in London in the 1820s.


 “Raj” means “rule”. This word is of Indian languages. “British Raj” means rule by the British in India. The Republic of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma were all part of the British Indian Empire. At that time, it was known as the Indian Empire and sometimes now spoken of as the “British Raj”, which is a term of history. This rule was before 1947.

The “British Raj” is used to talk of the direct British rule over areas which had been conquered by the British. This is known as British India.

Undivided India is another term. It is used to mean the whole area of British rule. It does not take in Burma. From 1937 Burma was a British colony on its own.

The colony of Aden came under the same government in India. It came from 1858 to 1937.Furthermore the British Somaliland came under the same government from 1884 to 1898 and Singapore from 1858 to 1867. Today Somaliland is called Somalia.

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The British rule ended in Pakistan and the East Bengal region on 14 August 194. Later the British rule ended in the rest on 15 August 1947. Jammu and Kashmir had not been under direct British rule. Over this area India and Pakistan have gone to war, and it is not divided between them.


The beginning of the Raj

In the year 1858, the British Crown was established in India. A century of control by the East India company ended. The life and death struggle cost   36 million. It is variously referred to as the “Great Rebellion”, the “Indian Mutiny” or the “First War of India Independence”.

The nature of politic, social and economic rule was marked by the consequences of this bloody rupture. The Raj never encompassed the entire land mass of the sub-continent.

Over 560 large and small principalities independently governed Two-fifths of the sub-continent. During the rebellion, some of whose rulers had fought the British, but with whom the Raj now entered into treaties of mutual cooperation. The “Great Rebellion” did more to create a racial chasm between ordinary Indians and the Britons. This social segregation endure until the end of the Raj. On the one hand the British criticized the divisions of the Hindu castle system, on the other hand they lived a life ruled by precedence and class. Rudyard tried to reflect this position in his novels. His books show the gulf between the “white” community and the “Anglo-Indians”. The mixed race caused them to be considered racially “impure”/ “unclean”.



The sources

–    http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Raj


–    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Raj



–    http://history1800s.about.com/od/thebritishempire/tp/indiatimeline01.htm 


–    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/independence1947_01.shtml


–    http://www.drake.edu/artsci/PolSci/ssjrnl/2001/nunn.html



How did the British Raj influence India?

The British Raj was the result of the Victorian erais infusion of British liberal philosophy in colonial policy and social governance. Liberal-minded principles of economics, social responsibility and military administration permeated British legislative and imperial rule as clearly as in the British Administration of the Indian subcontinent. Furthermore the British made positive contributions to Indian life. But the colonialism never brought positive consequences to India. The British crown inherited over 750,000 square miles of Indian territory, when the British Crown took over direct control from the East Indies Company in the year 1857.

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The British tried to extend their control throughout the region. In the opinion of the Crown, they felt obligated to support the long list of treaties the East Indies Company had made with numerous Indian Princes and regional rulers. India was carved into more than 600 sovereign territories in the sub-continent, because the British government honoured these agreementsThese native states possessed British advisors. The large British provinces, for instance Punjab, Bengal and Assam had British Governors. They reported to the imperial viceroy of India, who in turn reported to Parliament and the monarch in London. This amalgam of colonial control and tradition feudalism reflected the regional and local disunities of India. Moreover it deepened the regional and local disunities of India. Other rejected and repelled them wholly, although certain parts of the sub-continent adopted and promoted the contributions of the colonial era.  






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