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British Raj


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(Hindi, ‘rule’)

The British government in India, particularly during the period from 1858 to 1947. Created gradually and haphazardly as a by-product of the East India Company's trading objectives, the Raj's heyday was the half-century following the Indian Mutiny (1857), which had abruptly ended Company rule. It was an age of imperialism, symbolized by the proclamation of Queen Victoria as Empress of India (January 1877), and the viceroyalty of Lord Curzon (1899–1905) over an empire ‘on which the Sun never sets’. The Indian National Congress, which initiated nationalist criticism of the Raj, and eventually succeeded it, was founded in 1885. The Raj ended in 1947 when Britain transferred power to the new states of India and Pakistan. British personnel withdrew, but Western modes of thought, especially through the educational system and the army, have made a continuing contribution to the character and administration of the independent countries (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) of the subcontinent.

Subjects: World History — Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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