(Last Updated on : 03-05-2012)
The Kathiawar Agency was a political office of the British Empire in India
that dealt with a collection of around 200 princely states of India
. These states were under the control of the Bombay Presidency
of British India. The Agency was located in the Kathiawar
peninsula in the western part of the Indian subcontinent. After the Indian independence and withdrawal of the British in the year 1947, most of the princely states acceded to the newly formed Union of India
. These were later merged with the state of Bombay. The territory was later incorporated into the new state of Gujarat in the year 1960, after the Bombay state was divided into Maharashtra
There were a total of 193 princely states in the Kathiawar Agency that varied in importance and size. Among these, 14 states exercised independent jurisdiction and the rest of the states were under varying degrees of British control and administration. The first class included 8 princely states, namely Porbandar, Nawanagar, Morvi, Junagadh, Jafarabad, Gondal, Dhrangadhra and Bhavnagar. The Kathiawar Agency was spread over a total area of 54,080 sq km. According to the Census of India in 1901, the total population of the territory was 2,329,196. The Agency was managed by a Resident of British India
, also known as political agent, who was appointed to the Governor General of the British India. The headquarters of the political agent was at Rajkot. The Rajkumar College was also located in Rajkot where the sons of the Indian Princes were educated. At Gondal, there was another educational institute for the chiefs of lower ranks.
The Kathiawar Agency developed and implemented an outstanding system of metre gauge railways that was established with the financial support of the major princely states within the territory. Maritime trade was also well developed in the Agency and the major ports were Veraval, Mangrol and Porbandar. The progressive activities of the territory received a setback due to the famine during the years 1899- 1900, which was extreme severe. As a result of the famine the population of the Indian princely states in the Kathiawar Agency decreased by 15 per cent.