(Last Updated on : 10/08/2013)
Bengal under British rule witnessed major historical events. Two upsetting famines occurred that cost several lives in the years 1770 and 1943 respectively. The famine occurred within five years of British East India Company
's rule. It was one of the greatest famines that had occurred in Bengal. Another major famine occurred during the Second World War in 1943 in which around 3 million people died.
Post famine the company provided some relief in tax. Warren Hastings took over revenue collection thereby establishing a board of revenue with its offices in Kolkata and Patna. To prevent corruption the Company district collectors, were replaced with provincial councils at Patna
and Calcutta. In each district an Indian collector was working.
The revenue collection system was inherited from the Mughals. The high tax was paid by the cultivators. This system became the base of revenue policy of the company. Company had created a foundation for the growth of information and bureaucracy. In 1793 Lord Cornwallis
, circulated the permanent settlement of land revenues in the presidency. The land tax was fixed in return for landed property rights for zamindars.
Army was expanded quickly. The Bengal army was used in military campaigns in India and abroad. They received high pay. The army was strengthened by new technology and good naval support.
After gaining revenue collection rights in Bengal, the Company stopped importing gold and silver. The land revenue collected in the Bengal Presidency helped funding the Company's wars. Consequently the money supply came down in Bengal which led to closing of some local mints. The exchange rates were fixed and coinage was standardized which added to the economic downturn. Indigo dye which was extracted from it was exported. The demands of the Europeans for the dye were unstable. The creditors and cultivators bore the risk of the market crashes in the year 1827 and 1847 respectively. The peasant discontent led to Bengal indigo cultivators revolt
became an industrial hub. It was the world's main source of jute fibre. Kolkata was the capital of the British Raj. Job Charnock, an agent form the East India Company found Kolkata formed by the three large villages of Sutanuti, Gobindpur and Kolikata.
The oppressive rule of East company rule prompted Bengal's young revolutionaries to launch the Swadeshi movement.