General Knowledge for SSC Exams (Modern Indian History)
The period from 1707 AD, the year when Aurangzeb died, to
1857, the year of the Indian uprising. saw the gradual increase of the European
influence in India. The Europeans had been filtering into India for a long time
before they actually decided to set up shop here. Even though the British got
away with the jackpot. the real pioneers to reach India were the Portuguese.
Full of crusading and commercial zeal, Vasco di Gama was the first known
European to reach India in 1498, even before the Mughals arrived here. When
Vasco di Gama docked his ship in Calicut, he announced that he came in search of
“Christians and spices” and the very first people he met here were Christians,
who were descendants of those who had settled in India way back in the 4th
The Portuguese settled down to a very prosperous trade in
spices with India. The Muslim rulers in Delhi and then the Mughals never really
warmed up to the idea of a foreign power continuing trade on the seas under
their imperial noses. What’s more, they were not exactly very honest traders
too, since they thought that no word that was given to an infidel need be kept.
So much so that the word phirangi. or foreigner in colloquial, came to be a
hissing and a byword among locals. In fact in Goa, where the Portuguese ruled,
intolerance levels ran high and even the building of Hindu temples was banned.
Alberquerque (1509-1515), who was the second Portugese viceroy in India,
encouraged mixed marriages with the sole object of creating a mixed race who
were Portuguese Catholics, and who would be bound by race and culture to the
Portuguese. They were known as Luso-Indians at one time and now simply as Goans.
Advent of Dutch
The Dutch came shipping in the East for the first time in
1595. However, they did not come to India initially, and established themselves
at the helm of things in the spice trade in Jakarta. India carne into the
picture for them purely as a route to Europe, as part of a great Asian trade
route that they developed which went through Ceylon and Cape Town. Although the
Dutch had their factories dotting all over in Cochin, Nagapatam and even up in
Agra) they did not attempt to gain military power, being quite content to gain
Although the French King Locus XII had granted letters of
monopoly to French traders in 1611, it was not until December 1667, that a
French company was actually set up in India. This was at Surat (in Gujrat) with
Francis Caron as its Director-General. Soon, in 1669, another French company
came up in Masulipatnam, thanks to a grant by the king of Golconda. which
exempted the French from paying import and export duty. In 1672, Caron’s place
was taken by Francis Martin, who is regarded as the real founder of the French.
English Formed East India Company
The English, formed their East India Company on the last day
of 1600 and entered the East India hand in hand with the Dutch. Their foes were
common-the Portuguese and Catholic Spain and this brought them closer. However,
familiarity breeds contempt, and soon the English realized that the Dutch were
not willing to share their space in Spice Islands (East India) with them. Things
became grim enough for the British to finally run away and find refuge in India.
It was this success of the Dutch to hang on, with characteristic tenaciousness
to the Spice Islands that finally made the British to settle on India as the
second-best; because spices in India were essentially only in the south where
the local rulers and other Europeans already had a monopoly. The naval supremacy
of Britishers made them succeeded. In 1612, the Mughal emperor Jahangir received
Sir Thomas Roe, the first ambassador of the British to Indian aristocracy. Roe’s
diplomacy with the Mughals was so successful that by a treaty in 1618 the East
India Company became their unspoken, unsaid, naval aide. By 1674, Bombay came to
the British as part of the dowry of Charles II’s Portuguese queen Catherine, and
from here they never looked back.
First War of Independence
Also called the Sepoy Muting or the Revolt of 1857. On 29
March 1857, during the vice-royalty of Lord Canning. an Indian Sepoy of the 34th
regiment, Mangal Pandey, killed two British affairs en Parade at Barrackpore.
The Indian Soldier’s Present on Parade refused to obey orders to arrest Mangal
Pandey. However, he was latter arrested, and hanged. The news spread like wild
fire to all contanments in the country and very soon a country wide Sepoy revolt
broke out from Lucknow, Ambala, Bahampur and Meerut.
Important of the Revolt:
1. The revolt was mainly feudal in character carrying with it
some nationalist elements.
2. The control of Indian administration was passed on the British crown by the
Government of India Act 1858.
3. The army was carefully recognized to present the recruitment of such as
British Governor Generals and Viceroys of India
Bengal Governor General
Warren Hastings (1772-1785)
Brought the Dual Government of Bengal to an end by
the Regulating Act, 1773.• Deprived zamindars of their judicial powers and
Civil and Criminal courts were established.
Maintenance of records was made compulsory.
Great patron of oriental learning, founded the
Asiatic Society of Bengal with William Jones in 1784, wrote introduction to
the first English translation of. ‘The Gita’ by Charles Wilkins.
Impeachment Proceedins started against him when he
returned on the charges of taking bribe. After a trial of 7 years, he was
Lord Cornwallis (1786-1793)
Did the Permanent Settlement of Bengal (also called
First person to codify laws. The code separated the
revenue administration of from the administration justice.
The civil service was brought into existence.
Lord Wellesley (1798-1805)
Adopted the policy of Subsidiary Alliance- a system
to keep the Indian rulers under control and to make the British, the
The states that accepted this policy were the Nizam
of Hyderabad the Ruler of Mysore, the Raja of Tanjore, the Peshwa, Nawab of
Awadh, the the Bhonsle Raja of Berar, the Scindia, the Rajputs of Jodhpur,
Governor Generals of India
Lord William Bentinck (1828-1835)
Carried out the social reforms like Prohibition of
Seti (1829 and elimination of thugs (1830).,
Made English the medium of higher education in the
country (After the recommondation of Macaulay).
Suppressed female infonticide and child sacrifice.
Charter Act of 1833 was passed: made him the first
Governor General of India. Before him, the designation was Governor General
Lord Dalhousie (1848-1856)
Opened the first Indian Railway in 1853 (from
Bombay to Thane).
Laid out the telegraph lines in 1853 (First was
from Calcutta to Agra).
Introduced the Doctrine of Lapse and captured
Satara (1848). Jaipur and Sambhalpur (1849). Udaipur (1862); Jhansi (1853)
and Nagpur (1854).
Established the postal system
Made Shimla, the summer capital.
Started Engineering college at Roorkee.
In 1854, ‘Wood’s Dispatch’ was passed, which
provided for the properly anticulated system of education from the primary
school to university.
Due to Ishwar Chandra Vidvasagar’s efforts,
remarriage of widows was legalized by Widow Remarriage Act, 1856.
Lord Canning (1856-1862)
The last Governor General and the first Viceroy.
Mutiny took place in his time.
On November 1858, the rule passed on to the crown.
Withdrew Doctrine of Lapse.
The Universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras
were established in 1857.
Indian Councils Act was passed in 1861.
Lord Mayo (1869-1872)
Started the process of financial decentralization
Established the Rajkot College at Kathiarwar and
Mayo College at Ajmer, for the Indian princes.
Far the first time in Indian history, a census was
held in 1871.
Organized the Statistical
Was the only Viceroy to be murdered in office by a
Pathan convict in the Andamans in 1872.
Lord Lytton (1876-1880)
Known as the Viceroy reverse characters
Organized the Grand Delhi Durban’ in 1877 to
decorate Queen Victoria with the title of ‘Kaiser-i-Hind’.
Arms Act (1878), made ;t mandatory for Indians to
acquire license for arms.
Passed the infamous Vernacular Press Act 118’70.
Lord Ripon (1380-1884)
Repeated the Vernacular Press Act (1882).
Passed the local self-government Act (1882).
Took steps too improve primary and secondary
education (on William Hunter Commission’s recommendations),
The Factory Act.. 1881.L aimed at prohibiting child
Passed the ilbert Bill (1883), which nabled Indian
district magistrates to try European criminals. But this was withdrawn
later, Lord Curzon (1899-1905)
Passed the Indian Universities Act (1904). in which
official control over the Universities was Increased.
Partitioned Bengal (October 16, 1905) into two
1. Bengal (proper)
2. East Bengal and Assam.
The risings of the frontier tribes in 1897-98 led
him to create the North Western Frontier (NWFP).
Passed the Ancient Monuments Protection Act (1904),
to restore India’s culture heritage. Thus, the Archaeological Survey of
India was established.
Passed the Indian Coinage and Paper Currency Act
(1899). and put India on a gold standard.
Lord Minto (1905-1910)
There was great political unrest in India. Various
acts were passed to curb the revolutionary activities, Extremists like Lala
Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh (in May. 1907) and Bal Gangadhar Tilak (in July,
1908) were sent to Mandalay jail in Burma.
The Indian Council Act of 1909 or the Morley Minto
Reforms was passed.
Lord Hardinge (1910-1916)
Held a durbar in December, 1911, to celebrate the
coronarioti of King George V.
Partition of Bengal alas camel led (191 1): capital
skilled from Calcutta to Delhi (1911).
A bomb was thrown at him, but he escaped unhurt
(December 23, 1912).
Gandhiji came back to India from S. Africa (1915)
Annie Besant announced the Home Rule Movement.
Lord Chelmsford (1916-1921)
August Declaration of 1917, whereby control over
the Indian government would be gradually transferred to the Indian people.
The government of India Act in 1919
(Montague-Chelmsford reforms) was passed.
Rowlatt Act of 1915; Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
A Women’s university was founded at Poona in 1916.
Saddler Commission was appointed in 1917 to
envisage nets educational policy.
Lord Reading (1921-1926)
Suppressed non.-cooperation movement,
Moplah-rebellion (1921) took place in Kent,),,
Formation of Swaraj Party.
Communist party was founded in 1921 by M.N. Roy.
Kakory Train Robbery on August 9, 1925.
Lord Irwin (1926-1931)
Simon commission visited India in 1928.
Congress passed the Indian Resolution in 1929.
Dandi March (March 12, 1930)
Civil Disobedience Movement (1930).
First Round Table Conference held in England in
Gandhi-Irwin Pact (March 5, 1931) was signed and
Civil Disobedience Movement was withdrawn.
Martyrdom of Jatin Das after 64 days hunger strike
Lord Willingdon (1931-1936)
Second Round Table Conference in London 1931
On his return Gandhiji was again arrested and Civil
Disobedience Movement was resumed in January 1932.
Communal Awards (August 16, 1932) assigned seats to
different religious communities. Gandhiji went on a epic fast in protest
against this division.
Third Round Table Conference in 1932.
Poona Pact was signed.
Government of India Act (1935) was passed.
Lord Linlithgow (1936-1944)
Government of India Act enforced in the provinces.
Congress ministries formed in 8 out of 11 provinces. They remained in power
for about 2 years till October 1939, when they gave up offices on the issue
of India having been dragged into the World War II. The Muslim League
observed the day as ‘Deliverance. Day’ (22nd December).
Churchill became the British Prime minister in May,
1949. He declared that the Atlantic Charter (issued jointly by the UK and
IS, stating to give sovereign rights to those who have been forcibly
deprived; of them) does not apply to India.
World War II in 1939.
Movement (August 8, 1942).
Lord Wavell (1944-1947)
Cabinet Mission Plan (May 16, 1946).
Election, to the constituent assembly held and an
Interim Government was appointed under Nehru.
First meeting of the constituent assembly was held
on December 9, 1946.
Lord Mountbatten (March 1947-August 1947)
Last Viceroy of British India and the first,
Governor General of free India.
Partition of India decided by the June 3 Plan.
Indian Independence Act passed by the British
parliament on July 4, 1947, by which India became independent on August 15,
Retired in June 1948, and succeeded by C.
Rajagopalachari (the first and the last Indian Governor General of free