General Knowledge for IAS Exams (Governor-General and Viceroys)

General Knowledge for IAS Exams (History of India and World)

Governor-General and Viceroys

Governors of Bengal (1757–74)

  • Robert Clive: Governor of Bengal during 1757–60 and again during 1765–67 and established Dual Government in Bengal from 1765–72. (True founder of British Political dominion in India).
  • Vanisttart (1760–65): The Battle of Buxar (1764).
  • Cartier (1769–72): Bengal Famine (1770).

Governor-Generals of Bengal (1774–1833)

  • Warren Hastings (1772–1785): Brought the Dual Governmnet of Bengal to an end by the Regulating Act, 1773. Became Governor-General in 1774 through the Regulating Act, 1773; Wrote introduction to the first English translation of the ‘Gita’ by Charles Wilkins; Founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal with William Jones in 1784.
  • Revenue Reforms: Auctioned the right to collect land revenue to the highest bidder; Divided Bengal into districts and appointed collectors and other revenue officials.
  • Judicial Reforms: Started Diwani and Faujdari adalats at the district level and Sadar diwani and Nizamat adalats (appellate courts) at Calcutta; Redefined Hindu and Muslim laws.
  • Wars: Rohilla War (1774); 1st Anglo-Maratha War (1776–82): 2nd Anglo-Mysore War (1780–84).

Note: Sir John Macpherson was made the acting Governor General from 1785 to 1786.

  • Lord Cornwallis (1786–93): First person to codify laws in 1793. The code separated the revenue administration from the administration of justice; Created post of district judge; Introduced permanent Settlement in Bengal (1793); Cornwallis is called ‘the father of civil service in India’.
  • Police Reforms: Each district was divided into 400 sq. miles and placed under a police superintendent assisted by constables.
  • Wars: 3rd Anglo-Mysore War (defeat of Tipu and the Treaty of Serinagpatanam, 1792).
  • Sir John Shore (1793–98): Introduced the 1st Charter Act (1793).
  • Wars: Battle of Kharda between Nizam and the Marathas (1795).
  • Lord Wellesley (1798–1805): Started Subsidiary Alliance system to achieve British paramountcy in India. Madras Presidency was formed during his tenure.
  • Wars: 4th Anglo-Mysore War (1799)-defeat and the death of Tipu Sultan; 2nd Anglo-Maratha War (1803–05)-defeat of the Scindia, the Bhonsle and the Holkar; Treaty of Bassein (1802).

George Barlow (1805–1807): Vellore Mutiny (1806).

Lord Minto I (1807–1813): Concluded Treaty of Amritsar with Ranjit Singh (1809); Charter Act of 1813 was passed.

Lord Hastings (1813–1823): Adopted the policy of intervention and war.

  • Wars: Anglo-Nepalese War (1813–23); 3rd Anglo-Maratha War (1817–18). Hastings forced humiliating treaties on Peshwa and the Scindia; Introduced the Ryotwari settlement in Madras by Thomas Munro, the Governor.

Lord Amherst (1823–28): Wars: I Burmese War (1824–26). Acquisition of territories in Malay Penisula; Capture of Bharatpur (1826).

Lord W. Bentick (1828–33): Most liberal and enlightened Governor-General of India; Regarded as’ the Father of Modern Western Education in India’; Abolished Sati and other cruel rites (1829); Annexation of Mysore (1831). Concluded a treaty of perpetual friendship with Ranjit Singh (1831); Passed the Charter Act of 1833, which provided that no Indian subject of Company was to be debarred from holding an office on account of his religion, place of birth, descent and colour. On recommendation of Macaulay Committee made English the medium of higher education in India.

Governor-Generals of India (1833–58)

Lord W. Bentick (1833–35): First Governor-General of India. Macaulay’s minutes on education were accepted declaring that English should be the official language of India; Abolished provincial courts of appeal and circuit set up by Cornwallis, appointment of Commissioners of revenue and circuit.

Wars: Annexed Coorg (1834), Central Cachar (1834) on the plea of misgovernment.

Sir Charles Metcalfe (1835–1836): Passed the famous Press Law, which liberated the press in India (called Liberator the Press).

Lord Auckland (1836–42): 1st Anglo-Afghan War (1836–42)—great blow to the prestige of the British in India.

Lord Ellenborough (1842–44): Brought an end to the Afghan War. Annexation of Sindh (1843); War with Gwalior (1843).

Lord Hardings I (1844–48): 1st Anglo-Sikh war (1845–46) and the Treaty of Lahore 1846 (marked the end of Sikh sovereighty in India); Gave preference to English education in employment.

Lord Dalhousie (1848–56): Abolished Titles and Pensions, Widow Remarriage Act (1856). Made Shimla the summer capital.

Administrative Reforms: Introduced the system of Centralized control in the newly acquired territories known as Bon-Regulation system; Raised Gurkha regiments.

Education Reforms: Recommended the Thomsonian system of Vernacular education for whole of the North western Provinces (1853); Wood’s Educational Despatch of 1854 and opening of Anglo-Vernacular Schools and Government Colleges; An Engineering College was established at Roorkee.

Public Works: Started the first railway line in 1853 (connecting Bombay with Thana); Started electric telegraph service. Laid the basis of the modern postal system (1854); A separate public works department was set up for the first time; Started work on the Grand Trunk Road and developed the harbours of Karachi, Bombay and Calcutta.

Wars: Introduced Doctrine of Lapse (Captured Satara (1848), Jaitpur and Sambhalpur (1849), Baghat (1850), Udaipur (1852), Jhansi (1853) and Nagpur (1854); Fought 2nd Anglo-Sikh War (1848–49) and annexed the whole of the Punjab; 2nd Anglo-Burmese War (1852) and annexation of Lower Burma or Pegu; Annexation of Berar in 1853; Annexation of Avadh in 1856 on charges of maladministration.

Lord Canning (1856–58): The last Governor General and first Viceroy of India; Revolt of 1857; Passed the Act of 1858, which ended the rule of the East India Company. Withdrew Doctrine of Lapse. Mutiny took place in his time.

Governer Generals and Viceroys (1858–1947)

Lord Canning (1858–62): The Indian Councils Act of 1862 was passed, which proved to be a landmark in the constitutional history of India; The Indian Penal Code of Criminal Procedure (1859) was passed; The Indian High Court Act (1861) was enacted; Income Tax was introduced for the first time in 1858; The Universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras founded in 1857.

Lord Elgin I (1862–63): Wahabi Movement (Pan-Islamic Movement).

Sir John Lawrence (1864–69): Telegraphic communication was opened with Europe; High Courts were established at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in 1865; Expanded canal works and railways; Bhutan War (1865); Advocated State-managed railways; Created the Indian Forest Department and recognised the native Judicial service.

Lord Mayo (1869–72): Introduced financial decentralization in India, Established Rajkot College at Kathiarwar and Mayo College at Ajmer for the princes; Organised the Statistical Survey of India, Established the Department of Agriculture & Commerce. He was the only Viceroy to be murdered in office by a Pathan convict in Andamans in 1872, Introduction of State Railways. For the first time in Indian history, a census was held in 1871.

Lord Northbrook (1872–76): Kuka Movement of Punjab took rebellious turn during his period.

Lord Lytton (1876–80): Most infamous Governor-General, pursued free trade and abolished duties on 29 British manufactured goods which accelerated drain of wealth of India; Arranged the Grand Darbar in Delhi (in 1877) when the country was suffering from a servere famine; Passed the Royal Title Act (1876) and Queen Victoriya was declared as the Kaisar-i-Hind; Arms Act (1878) made mandatory for Indians to acquire license for arms; Passed the infamous Vernacular Press Act (1878); Proposed the plan of Statutory Civil Service in 1878-79 and lowered the maximum age limit from 21 to 19 years, the 2nd Afghan war proved a failure (Viceroy of reverse characters).

Lord Ripon (1880–84): Repeal of the Vernacular Press Act, 1882; The First Factory Act, 1881 to improve labour condition, Resolution of Local Self Government in 1882, Resolution on Land Revenue Policy; Appointed Hunter Commission (for education reforms) in 1882; The Ilbert Bill controversy erupted during his time (1883) enabled Indian district magistrates to try European criminals. But this was withdrawn later.

Lord Dufferin (1884–88): 3rd Burmese War (Annexation of Upper and Lower Burma) in 1885, Establishment of Indian National Congress in 1885.

Lord Lansdowne (1888–94): The second Factory Act of 1891; Categorization of Civil Services into imperial, provincial and subordinate; Indian Council Act of 1892 (introduced elections which was indirect); Appointment of the Durand Commission to define the line between British India and Afghanistan (1893).

Lord Elgin II (1894–99): The Munda uprising (Birsa Munda) of 1899, Convention delimiting the frontier between China and India was ratified, Great famine of 1896–97, Lyall Commission appointed after famine (1897), Assassination of two British officials-Rand & Amherst-by Chapekar Brothers in 1897.

Lord Curzon (1899–1905): Appointed a Police Commission in 1902 under Andrew Frazer; Set up the Universities Commission and accordingly the Indian Universities Act of 1904 was passed; Set up the Department of Commerce and Industry; Calcutta Corporation Act (1899); Passed the Indian Coinage and Paper Currency Act (in 1899) and put India on a gold standard; Partition of Bengal took place in 1905. Created NWFP and Archaeological Survey of India. Extended railways to a Great extent.

Lord Minto II (1905–10): Swadeshi Movement (1905–08); Foundation of the Muslim League, 1906; Surat session and split in the Congress (1907), Newspapers Act, 1908; Morley-Minto Reforms, 1909.

Lord Hardinge (1910–16): Annulment of the partition of Bengal (1911), Transfer of Capital from Calcutta to Delhi (1911); Delhi Darbar and Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary (1911); Establishment of Hindu Mahasabha by Madan Mohan Malviya (1915); Annie Besant announced Home Rule Movement and a bomb was thrown at him, but he escaped unhurt.

Lord Chelmsford (1916–21): Home Rule Movement launched by Tilak and Annie Besant (1916); Lucknow Pact between Congress and Muslim League (1916); Arrival of Gandhi in India (1915); Champaran Satyagraha (1917); Montague’s August Declaration (1917); Kheda Satyagraha and Satyagraha at Ahmedabad (1918); Government of India Act (1919), Repressive Rowlatt Act (1919); Jalianwala Bagh Massacre (1919); Khilafat Movement (1920–22); Non-cooperation Movement (1920–22), Saddler Commission (1917) and an Indian Sir S. P. Sinha was appointed Governor of Bengal.

Lord Reading (1921–26): Criminal Law Amendment Act and abolition of cotton excise; Repeal of Press Act of 1910 & Rowlatt Act of 1919; Violent Moplah rebellion in Kerala (1921); Foundation of CPI (1921); Chauri Chaura Incident (1922); Foundation of Swaraj Party (1923); Kakori Train Dacoity (1925); Foundation of RSS (1925); Murder of Swami Shardhanand (1926). Suppressed non-cooperation movement.

Lord Irwin (1926–31): Simon Commission announced in 1927; Butler Commission (1927); Nehru Report (1928); 14 points of Jinnah (1929); Lahore session of Congress and ‘Poorna Swaraj’ declaration (1929); Civil Disobedience Movement (1930); Dandhi march (1930); Ist Round Table Conference (1930); Gandhi-Irwin Pact (1931); Martyrdom of Jatin Das (hunger strike)

Lord Willingdon (1931–36): 2nd Round Table Conference (1931); Civil Disobedience Movement (1932); Announcement of MacDonald’s Communal Award (1932); IIIrd Round Table Conference Foundation of Congress Socialist Party-CSP (1934); Government of India Act (1935); Burma separated from India (1935); All India Kisan Sabha (1936); Poona Pact was signed.

Lord Linlithgow (1936–43): General Election (1936–37); Congress ministries in 1937 and Resignation of Congress ministries in 1939; ‘Deliverance Day’ by Muslim League in 1939; Foundation of Forward Block by S.C. Bose (1939); Lahore Resolution (1940); August Offer (1940); Cripps Mission (1942); Quit India Movement (1942) and Outbreak of Second World War in 1939.

Lord Wavell (1943–1947): C.R. Formula 1944; Wavell Plan and Shimla Conference in 1945; End of IInd World War in 1945; INA Trials in 1945; Naval mutiny in 1946; Cabinet Mission, 1946 and acceptance of its proposals by Congress; Direct Action Day by the Muslim League on 16th August, 1946 and first meeting of the constituent assembly was held on Dec. 9, 1946.

Lord Mountbatten (March–August 1947): Announced the 3 June, 1947 Plan; Introduction of Indian Independence Bill in the house of Commons and passed by the British Parliament on July 4, 1947; Appointment of 2 boundary commissions under Sir Cryil Radicliffe.

Governor Generals of Independent India (1947–50)

Lord Mountbatten (1947–48): The first Governor General of free India; Kashmir acceded to India (Oct. 1947); Murder of Gandhi (Jan. 30, 1948).

C. Rajagopalachari (June 1948–January 25, 1950): The last Governor General of free India; The only Indian Governor-General.

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