Difference Between Governor General and Viceroy

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 15, 2022, 11:57

Governor-General and Viceroy were two important administrative posts during British rule. The East India Company first controlled Bengal through the post of the Governor of Bengal. The post was converted to Governor-General of Bengal after the passing of the Regulating Act in 1773. The name was further converted to "Governor-General of India" by the Charter Act of 1833.

However, the revolt of 1857 transferred the power of the East India Company to the British Crown. The Government of India Act 1858 was passed, and the name of the post "Governor-General of India" was changed to Viceroy of India.

Though it may seem that the two posts are the same, there is some Difference Between Governor General and Viceroy. Let's take a deeper look at the post to understand their difference.

Who is a Governor-General?

Governor-General is the person appointed to represent the monarch in a sovereign state over which the monarch does not generally rule in person. In India, they referred to the head of the British administration. The monarch provides certain executive powers to the Governor-General. The post was created mainly for administrative purposes. They reported to the directors of the East India Company.

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Who is a Viceroy?

Like the Governor-General, a Viceroy also ruled a colony in the monarch's name. However, the Viceroy was appointed directly by the British government and had more diplomatic powers. Also, they reported directly to the Crown.

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Difference between Governor-General and Viceroy

Basis of Difference

Governor-General

Viceroy

Origin

The post of Governor-General was created after the passing of the Charter Act in 1833.

After the revolt of 1857, India came under the direct control of the British Crown. The Government of India Act 1858 was passed, and the name of the post, “Governor General of India,” was changed to Viceroy of India.

Functions

The post of the Governor-General of India was created mainly for administrative purposes. They reported to the directors of the East India Company.

The post of Governor-General and Viceroy became one in 1858. The Viceroy had more diplomatic power and reported directly to the Crown.

Selection

The Court of Directors in charge selected the Governor-General of India.

The British government directly appointed the Viceroy after consultation with the Parliament.

Time Period

The post of the Governor-General was held for the period 1833 to 1858.

The post of Viceroy was held for the period 1858 to 1948.

First to Hold Post

The first Governor-General of British India was William Bentinck.

The first Viceroy of India was Lord Canning.

Last to Hold Post

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was the last to hold the position.

Lord Louis Mountbatten was the last Viceroy of India

 

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FAQs on Difference Between Governor General and Viceroy

Q.1. What was the Difference Between Governor General and Viceroy in terms of function?

The Difference Between Governor General and Viceroy in terms of function is that the post of the Governor-General of India was created mainly for administrative purposes. The post of Governor-General and Viceroy became one in 1858. They were appointed directly by the British government and had more diplomatic power.

Q.2. What was the Difference Between Governor General and Viceroy regarding reporting authority?

The Difference Between Governor General and Viceroy regarding reporting authority is that the Governor-General reported to the directors of the East India Company, whereas the Viceroy reported directly to the Crown.

Q.3. What is the Difference Between Governor General and Viceroy in terms of their governing period?

The Difference Between Governor General and Viceroy in terms of their governing period is that the post of the Governor-General was held for the period 1833 to 1858. The post of Viceroy was held for the period 1858 to 1948.

Q.4. Who were the first and last Governor-General and Viceroy of India?

  • First Governor-General - William Bentinck
  • Last Governor-General- Chakravarti Rajagopalachari
  • First Viceroy- Lord Canning
  • Last Viceroy- Lord Louis Mountbatten