(d. 1858), the only woman rebel leader of the revolt of 1857 in India. Lakshmi's origins were humble, and her parents called her Manikarnika. She was named Lakshmi Bai when she married Gangadhar Rao, the ruler of Jhansi, a small principality in the region called Bundelkhand (in present-day Uttar Pradesh in North India). The marriage was childless, but a day before his death Gangadhar adopted a minor son and vested the administration of the kingdom in his wife. The British governor-general, James Andrew Broun Ramsay, Lord Dalhousie (1812–1860; governor-general 1848–1856), refused to accept the adoption and annexed Jhansi. Lakshmi Bai was given a life pension of sixty thousand rupees and was allowed to live in the palace. There was no resistance to the annexation, but British rule was not popular in Jhansi.
From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History in Oxford Reference.