India Britain Losing and Gaining an Empire

How could India be described at the point that the British arrived?
A melting pot; had over 200 dialects and many different religions
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How had the East India Company traditionally functioned?
Was granted a monopoly of trade in its original charter
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Why was this under threat?
The growth of free trade
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What was the Charter Act 1813?
British government renewed the Company's charter for another 20 years
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What negatives for the EIC did the 1813 Charter Act have?
Removed its monopoly on Indian trade
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What did the 1833 Charter Act bring in?
Removed the monopoly on trade of tea with China
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What did the EIC seek to improve?
Their source of income in India; by expanding into civil administration and tax collection in British India
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What geopolitical event helped the EIC?
The collapse of the Mughal Empire left a power vacuum
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What had the East India Company achieved in the 18th century?
Had three private armies in India
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What major power struggle occurred in India during the 18th century?
The great Anglo-French power struggle
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What were nabobs?
Employees of the East India Company who made their fortunes in India
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What did the Regulating Act 1773 create?
A governing council of five, of which two were Company members and three were nominated by Parliament
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What did this ensure?
A Parliamentary majority
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Who appointed the four governor generals?
A Council of Four, who were nominated by the Crown
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What was the political position of the EIC after the 1784 Act?
Made the East India Company subordinate to the Crown in all its functions
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What did the Act also establish?
Another regulatory body, the Board of Control
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Who made up the Board of Control?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer; Secretary of State for India; four privy councillors appointed by the King
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What powers did the 1786 Act give the governor general?
The right, in special cases, to override his council
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However, what was true about the governor general's power?
Although executive power was exercised by individual governor generals, their appointments were decided by the Crown
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What changed the status of the company?
Parliament's adoption of the doctrine of free trade
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What did the 1813 Charter Act introduce that changed the nature of the EIC?
Provisions within the Act for the education of Indians
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What, critically, was also introduced?
Missionaries were now allowed to preach and teach English within Company territory
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How did the 1833 Act radically change the nature of the EIC?
Ended the Company's commercial activities; reorganised the administrative system
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What could it now be said was the EIC's role?
An administrative role
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What were the EIC now involved in?
Tax collection and local administration
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What had the EIC been doing before this?
Had a limited role in the collection of taxes for princes and feudal lords
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Why was the EIC able to control so much of India?
They could put armies on the battlefields that could rival local rulers
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What did this mean strategically for the British?
It made sense for local leaders to ally themselves with the British against local leaders
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What was now introduced into India?
An army of civil servants to oversee the collection of taxes
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How was the appointment of the Governor initially conducted?
The governor and president was nominated by the Company's Court of Directors to serve a five-year term
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How did this change in 1773?
Appointment was subject to the approval of the Council of Four
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What was significant about this?
The Council of Four were Crown appointments, brought the position of the governor under the ultimate control of the Crown
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How were the other presidents of East India Company territory under the thumb of the governor general?
They could not make war or accept peace from an Indian prince without the approval of the governor in Fort William
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What was achieved in the 1784 Act?
Strengthened the Executive Power of the governor
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What did the 1786 Act achieve?
Enabled governors to override their council if they deemed it necessary
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What was Lord Cornwallis, the first appointee under the new system, also appointed as?
Commander-in-chief of the military forces of India
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What happened during the period 1774 to 1784?
Government regulation was extended over the EIC's political activities
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What else happened during this period?
There was a centralisation of power within the three presidencies
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What did this achieve?
Gave the Bengali governor pre-eminence over the other two Company presidencies
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What did the 1833 Government of India Act achieve?
The governor general of Fort William became the concurrent governor general of India
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To what extent did this change the structure of colonial government in India?
Position continued to be filled by the Board of Directors; appointment was subject to the approval of the sovereign
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What powers were given to Sir William Bentinck?
He was responsible for legislative control of all the territory held by the East India Company
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What meant that the powers of the governor in India were large and impressive?
Slow communications meant that while they were theoretically overseen by the Board of Control in London, because of slow communications they commanded a great deal of independent power
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From 1833, how did the role of the governor change?
Power was given to the governor general for the superintendence, direction and control of the whole civil and military government
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By 1820, how many troops did the EIC's company armies have?
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Who were recruited as soldiers for the EIC?
Natives; recruited en masse from castes which Europeans considered the most "warlike"
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What were these regiments called?
Sepoy regiments
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By 1857, how many soldiers were Europeans and how many were sepoys?
45,522 European soldiers out of 277,746 soldiers; the rest were sepoys
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What did the company armies do?
Ensured British military superiority in India
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Why was this important?
EIC could force local rulers to align with them against other local rulers; could intimidate opposition into compliance
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How much did British territory in India increase by 1800?
Increased to 243,000km squared
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Why were young recruits drawn to the Presidency armies?
The promise of almost constant military engagement; unlike the regular army who were undergoing a period of calm
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What did the EIC training civil servants indicate?
Reflected the Company's changing focus from being a purely commercial company to being one geared towards civil administration
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Which early campaigns did the EIC undertake?
Company fought a number of campaigns in Afghanistan, Sind and the Punjab
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Which states had the EIC successfully annexed?
Assam, Manipur and Cacher
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Why did the EIC seek to protect the north-western frontier?
British feared a Russian invasion through Afghanistan or through Sind
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What was the First Afghan War nicknamed?
"Auckland's folly"
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It was a disaster; only one man returned while 20,000 were dead
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What was its immediate impact?
EIC became determined to secure Sind and the Punjab in retaliation
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When did Sind fall under British control?
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When was the Punjab brought under British control?
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What reflects the local tensions that the British were able to nurse?
The bitterness between the Punjabis and the native sepoys
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What was the most important company presidency?
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What reflected this?
The army of the Bengal presidency was twice the size of the other two armies
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Who made up the Bengal army?
Members of the two highest castes
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What did this lead to?
They were extremely sensitive to anything which might pollute their caste
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What was the Company's position by 1829?
The Company maintained flourishing commercial divisions in China and the Far East; in India it had become an administrative presence
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What was a growing trend within the Company's leadership?
Ideas of racial superiority were becoming increasingly ingrained
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What did its administrators also seek to do?
Modernise India for the benefit of the native population
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Why were the earliest British colonial administrators not affected by this?
The wealth and complexity of Mughal civilisation and the luxury goods that they obtained gave no sense of cultural inferiority
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What was beginning to change the colonial relationship in India?
The arrival of Christian missionaries and greater numbers of British women
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What did Christian missionaries achieve?
Christian missionaries challenged inequality and launched campaigns to end things such as the slave trade
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What did Christian missionaries do that upset the Indians?
Judged non-Christian religions to be inferior
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What did they attempt to do?
Convert local Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists to Christianity
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Why did British women go to India?
To find themselves husbands
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What did this lead to?
The racial intermingling that had been common in the 18th century had now become taboo
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What was significant about the changing relationship between Indians and British?
In 1780, one-third of Company men left wills making provisions for spouses; by 1850, only a tiny proportion of Company men were involved in relationships with Indian women
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What would these tensions find their expression in?
The 1857 Indian Rebellion
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What would the Indian Rebellion result in?
The end of Company rule and the establishment of the British Raj
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Which of Bentinck's actions suggested a British conspiracy to Anglicise India?
Making English the official language of government and higher legal courts
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What was thagi?
Highway robbery and ritual murder
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What was the Thugge and Dacoity Department?
Established by Colonel William Sleeman, sought to remove thagi
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How many thagi were tried during this campaign?
More than 1,000 thagi were transported or hanged for their crimes; 3000 tried and punished in total
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Why was the suppression of thagi seen to be a wholly altruistic act?
The thagi only attacked Indians, so the British saw themselves to be acting in their interests
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How was Sleeman viewed in Britain?
As a true imperial hero
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What was the effect of the anti-thagi campaigns?
Its suppression was not resented by Indians; unlike later movements. British sought to implement other necessary social reforms
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What was sati?
The act of immolation by Hindu widows who threw themselves onto their husbands' funeral pyres
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What was likely the motivation?
As it was practiced among the higher castes it was likely religious belief rather than economic necessity
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How many deaths did the British estimate occurred from sati?
Around 600
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What happened in 1829?
Sati was abolished
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Why had sati been tolerated?
Concerns about the impact of such a ban on the local population
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However, what had the Company done?
Banned the practice in Calcutta itself in 1798
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What did Wilberforce do in 1813?
Amended the Charter Law to allow missionaries to preach against sati
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What motivated Wilberforce?
Personal religious belief
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Who also advocated for abolition?
Hindu polymath Ram Mohan Roy
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What had Roy argued?
A ban was too contentious, needed to try and change people's minds by reasoning with them
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What did the Privy Council argue?
Upheld Bentinck's law against petitioners in 1832
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Where did most sati occur?
The Punjab, until the state came under British control
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How did higher caste Indians view the interference by the British?
It was a deliberate attack on caste purity
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What was female infanticide?
A common practice in Northern India
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Why was it such a common practice?
Stemmed from the difficulties of providing dowries for female children and the shame attached to having unmarried daughters
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What did the 1795-1802 banning of female infanticide represent?
A new departure in terms of government intervention in India
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When did British missionaries begin to arrive in India?
The late 18th century
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Why did many Company officials initially oppose the arrival of missionaries?
Were anxious to avoid trouble in the territory they controlled as a result of a clash of belief systems
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What happened to the first missionaries who arrived in India?
They were banished from Calcutta and forced to settle in the nearby Danish territory of Serampore
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What was set up in 1818?
A college for the training of indigenous ministers
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Who was Charles Grant?
A member of the Clapham Sect, campaigned to have the Company's ban on missionaries removed
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What suggests personal motivation?
By the 1813 Charter Act Wilberforce and Grant were powerful enough in London to remove the Company's blanket ban on missionaries
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What did the Charter Act lead to?
An increasing number of missionaries arriving in India
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What was the early role of missionaries?
Educating Indian children in their native languages and opposing sati
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What did Alexander Duff propose?
The teaching of English in schools; believed that Indian parents wanted their children to learn English
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What was the catch?
Duff believed that Bible studies would convince Indian children naturally that Christianity was superior to Hinduism
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What did missionaries also do?
Try to convert Indians in their native languages
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Why did missionaries support English higher education for Indians?
Hoped to create a new class of Indians who would rise up and challenge the Brahmin; translating new ideas into their native languages
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What is likely true about the Education Act 1835?
It was likely the result of evangelical pressure
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What was the Bengal Rennaissance?
An adoption of Western philosophy and learning
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What did Ram Mohan Roy advocate?
A policy of adopting the best things Indian and the best things Western
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How did some Indians respond to the missionaries?
They were more conservative and traditional; resistant to Western interference
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What was the response to British cultural imperialism?
Indians became increasingly interested in their own religious traditions and authority
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What were the effects of missionaries on Company rule?
Disrupted Company rule by making the Indians resent the British
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What could be said about the difference between East India Company representatives and the missionaries?
EIC representatives tended to be more pragmatic while missionaries were driven to do God's work
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How were the British able to maintain control?
Although a tiny minority in the continent, resistance tended to be localised and sprung up at different times
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What would Dalhousie be criticised for?
Ending Company rule in India
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What was achieved under Dalhousie's governorship?
First Indian railways were constructed; first telegraph line was laid; the Penny Post was introduced
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How did Dalhousie view himself?
As a moderniser of India
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How did Dalhousie view the princes?
As conservative forces getting in the way of his modernisations
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What was British paramountcy?
The British exercised ultimate judicial authority over the Native States
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What were the conditions in which the British would interfere in a native state?
In the case of a legitimate ruler without an heir
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What was this called?
The doctrine of lapse
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What should happen under these circumstances?
The princely line was said to have "lapsed", control passed on to the British
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What were the issues with this?
It was in direct violation of Hindu law, which allowed for the succession of an adopted son in such cases
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What was the second condition for British intervention?
The misgovernment of a state
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What was the third condition for British intervention?
Created by a redefinition of a number of ruler's titles and powers as non-hereditary
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Why was Awadh annexed?
Nwab Wajid Ali was deposed after being accused of maladministration
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When did the British take control of Awadh?
7 February 1856
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Why was Awadh significant in causing the revolt?
Awadh was the traditional recruiting ground of the sepoys
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What social reforms did the British implement in Awadh?
Land would be taken from all talukdars (landowners) unable to prove legal title to their estates
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What was each landowner responsible for?
Large numbers of relations and servants living with them
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What did this mean?
The British attack on the social order was deeply destabilising
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What could be seen in Awadh in 1857?
Widespread participation in the revolt against the British
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What was the immediate cause of the Indian Rebellion?
Rumours that new bullet cartridges were to be issued, lubricated with beef and pork fat
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Why was this an issue?
Posed the threat of defilement to both Muslims and Hindus
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What did this seem to prove to the sepoys?
Britain's dark plan for the Christianisation of India
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What had already placed the Bengali army in a state of unrest?
Broke the long-held tradition that soldiers of the Bengali Army did not have to serve where they were unable to march
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Travel over water would pollute their caste status
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What happened on the 9 May 1857?
The Indians rose up in revolt while the British were at church
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Why were the British largely unable to stop the mutineers?
The British had only a single regiment in India, as such they could not stop the mutineers
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Where did the British lose control of?
Delhi, some centres within the Punjab
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Who did the mutineers attempt to install in control of India?
Bahadur Shah II, the last of the Mughal Dynasty
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What happened in Cawnpore?
The British were promised safe conduct in boats down the river to Allahabad
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What did Lucknow become a symbol of?
British resistance
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What did Sir Henry Lawrence achieve?
Shepherded Europeans into the fortified residency
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How long did it take relief to reach Lucknow?
A force of 3,000 eventually reached Lucknow 87 days after the siege had begun
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What led to the decision to remain in the Residency?
The discovery of food and buried stores of which Lawrence's second in command was unaware
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When did the second relief fight their way into the residency?
Between 14 and 17 November
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How many Victoria Crosses were awarded for actions which took place on the 16 November?
24; the highest ever awarded in a single day
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When was Lucknow retaken by the British?
March 1858
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Why did they leave it this long?
Campbell deemed the area to be so volatile; was conscious of his stretched supply lines
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What factors led to the defeat of the rebels?
The rebels were not a cohesive force; the other two presidency armies around Calcutta remained loyal to the British
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Why were the rebels not being a cohesive force an issue for their movement?
Had different grievances; were geographically dispersed; could not unify themselves
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What issues within the British military made the rebellion easy to suppress?
Many of the sepoys remained loyal to the British; particularly among the Punjabi sepoys who had a grudge against the Bengali army
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When Delhi was retaken by the British, what percentage of the soldiers killed were native sepoys?
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How did the British gain a foothold in India?
They were able to exploit local religious and political divisions
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What did this lead to?
The disunified rebel power blocs were unable to abandon their differences to unify against the British
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Why did some Indians support British rule?
Indians in many areas were prepared to pay taxes to the Company because they were better than the local alternative
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How did the British get revenge against the mutineers?
Entire villages were massacred
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What were examples of British mistreatment of mutineers?
In Peshawar, 40 men were strapped to the barrels of canons and blown apart
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What did the British believe were the causes of the rebellion?
The Company and its Presidency armies were responsible for the revolt
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What did they resolve to do?
They resolved to reorganise the method of ruling India and place it directly under the control of the British Parliament
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What did the Government of India Act 1858 end?
Ended Company rule in India
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Who would rule India from this point forward?
A viceroy
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What was significant about the role of the Viceroy?
Was accountable to Parliament; there was a Secretary of State for India and an India Council
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What was published around this time?
A royal proclamation to protect the rights of Indians
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What did the proclamation promise?
Religious toleration, equal protection under the law, the rights of native princes to their lands
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How were the princely states treated?
A series of treaties were passed which left the indigenous rulers in no doubt that their privileged existence would be preserved
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What happened to Bahadur Shah II?
Was sent into exile in Burma
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What ceased?
The annexation of territory; the British now cultivated the princes as collaborators
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What suggests that this was successful?
560 princely states remained loyal to the British Raj until the very end of British rule in India
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What happened in Awadh?
Accomodation was made with the talukdars, did not plan any land reform which challenged feudal ties
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How much did it cost to end the rebellion?
£50 million
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How did taxation change?
British relied on old collaborators and income tax on wealthier urban groups
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How did the new legislation act against missionaries?
Kept conversion out of official policy as much as possible
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How would the British now approach cultural reform?
Very cautiously
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What was evidence of this?
In 1891 the age of consent for girls for marriage was raised to 12
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What was the response from the evangelicals?
They were unrepentant about their role in causing the rebellion
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What was the disparity between the London Missionary Society and the administrators on the ground?
LMS resolved that the mutiny was evidence that efforts must be doubled in India; administrators supported religious tolerance
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What impact did the rebellion have on the wider empire?
Re-enforced prejudiced racial views; stories shaped national consciousness about atrocities committed by brown men against white women and children
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What else was learned?
It could happen again without due caution
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What changes occurred in the Indian Army?
Proportion of sepoys was reduced by 40% and British troops were increased by 50%
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Where were sepoys recruited from after 1858?
Areas considered to be more loyal to the British
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What did the British do within regiments to prevent the spread of another mutiny?
Introduction of different ethnic groups to prevent the mutiny spreading
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What could be said about British policy following the rebellion?
More cautious, less morally paternalistic
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


How had the East India Company traditionally functioned?


Was granted a monopoly of trade in its original charter

Card 3


Why was this under threat?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What was the Charter Act 1813?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What negatives for the EIC did the 1813 Charter Act have?


Preview of the front of card 5
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