(Last Updated on : 16/02/2009)
British conquest and dominion of India refers to the British Raj in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947. It also refers to the period of dominion, and even the region under the rule. In those days, India in contemporary included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, as well as the princely states ruled by individual rulers under the supremacy of the British Crown. After 1876, the consequential political union was officially called the Indian Empire and provided passports under that name.
The system of governance was instituted in 1858, when the rule of the British East India Company was given over to the Crown in the person of Queen Victoria who, in 1876, was proclaimed Empress of India. The association of British conquest and dominion of India lasted until 1947, until 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. The eastern half of the Indian Empire became the separate colony of Burma in 1937, and this regained independence in 1948.
The association of British conquest and dominion of India extended over all regions of present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Moreover, after different conquests, it included Aden Colony (from 1858 to 1937), Upper Burma (from 1886 to 1937), Lower Burma (from 1858 to 1937), British Somaliland (briefly from 1884 to 1898), and Singapore (briefly from 1858 to 1867). The British Crown directly administered Burma from 1937 until its independence in 1948. Among other countries in the region, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) was ceded to the United Kingdom in 1802 following the Treaty of Amiens. Ceylon was a British Crown Colony, but not part of British India. The kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan fought wars with the British and subsequently signed treaties with them and were recognized by the British as independent states. The Kingdom of Sikkim established as a princely state after the Anglo-Sikkimese Treaty of 1861. The British conquest and dominion of India consisted of two divisions, British India and the Native States or Princely States.
After the 20th century, the result of British conquest on dominion of India was classified into eight provinces that were administered either by a Governor or a Lieutenant Governor. During the partition of Bengal (1905-1911), a new province, namely Assam and East Bengal was created as a Lieutenant Governorship. In 1911, East Bengal was reunited with Bengal, and the new provinces in the east formed, including the states of Assam, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. British conquest and dominion of India has brought about a series of changes in both socio economic scenarios. The enhancement of education system, improvement of transport and communication and many more prospects of daily life still bear the advantages of British conquest and dominion of India. Although several battles, mutinies and bloodshed left the Indians devastated in urge to attain freedom, the nation also witnessed some beneficial contents in their lifestyle.