Governor General of India - List of Governor General of Bengal (India)

By Shivank Goel|Updated : September 28th, 2022

Governor General of India was the self-governing ruler of the United Kingdom and a member of the head of state after Indian independence in 1947. Presidencies were the broad divisions used to organize British possessions, and Bengal, Madras, and Bombay were the three presidencies having a governor in charge. The Governor General of India served as the administration's top official.

The first Governor-General, Warren Hastings, brought about several administrative improvements, particularly in the area of justice. The first Governor General of Bengal, other Governors-General of India, their accomplishments, and the important reforms that occurred during their terms as Governor General of India will all be covered in this article. Most competitive tests, specifically the IAS Exam, include this topic in the general awareness and Indian history sections.

Historical Background: Governor General of Bengal to Governor General of India

The Bengal Governor-General became the Governor General of British India via the Charter Act of 1833. Additionally, William Bentick served as the first governor-general of India, whereas, Warren Hastings served as the first governor-general of Bengal from 1772 to 1785.

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English statesman, Warren Hastings served as the Supreme Council of President of Bengal. He stopped the Dual Government system by executing the Regulating Act of 1773. He and William Jones, founded the Calcutta Madrasa and the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1781 to advance Islamic studies in 1784. In 1801, Hastings was also chosen to be a member of the Royal Society.

List of Governor General of India

Below is the complete governor-general of India list and the significant reforms they brought about.

Governor General of India

Year

Important Events

Warren Hastings

1772-1785

  • The First Maratha War in 1775-82, and the second Mysore War in 1780-84.
  • He was the first Governor General of Bengal.
  • Several wars were observed under his control: the Rohilla War of 1774.
  • Presented the Regulating Act of 1773, and the Pitt's India Act of 1784
  • The Treaty of Salbai was signed in 1782

Lord Cornwallis

1786-1793

  • The third Mysore War (1790-92) and the Treaty of Seringapatam (1792) happened under him.
  • Introduced the Cornwallis Code (1793).
  • One significant move by him was the introduction of the Permanent Settlement of Bengal, 1793.

Sir John Shore

1793-1798

  • War of Kharda.
  • Guideline of Non-intervention.
  • Charter act (1793).

Lord Wellesley

1798-1805

  • The fourth Mysore War (1799) and the second Maratha War (1803-05) occurred under his control.
  • Introduced influential revenue system called the Subsidiary Alliance System (1798).

Sir George Barlow

1805-1807

  • George was the acting Governor General of India till Lord Minto came.
  • The Mutiny of Vellore happened under him in 1806.
  • He helped to lessen the area of British region owing to his devotion for the economy and retrenchment.

Lord Minto I

1807-1813

  • Treaty of Amritsar with Ranjit Singh (1809)

Lord Hastings

1813-1823

  • The third Maratha War (1817-19) happened which ended in the dissolution of the Maratha Confederacy.
  • He established the Ryotwari System (1820).
  • The Anglo-Nepal War (1814-16) was fought and culminated with the Treaty of Sagauli in 1816.

Lord Amherst

1823-1828

  • First Burmese Battle (1824-1826)

Lord William Bentinck

1828-1835

  • Upon the activity of Raja Rammohan Roy, he nullified the Sati System in 1829.
  • He brought important social changes and reforms to India.
  • Established Charter Act (1833).

Lord Charles Metcalfe

1835-1836

  • He was known as the 'Iberator of the Indian press as he removed all limitations on an open press.

Lord Auckland

1836-1842

  • First Afghan War (1838-42)

Lord Ellenborough

1842-1844

  • Sindh was annexed

Lord Hardinge I

1844-1848

  • He took forward Bentick's social reforms and annulled female infanticide.
  • The first Anglo-Sikh War (1845-46) was fought that topped with the Treaty of Lahore (1846).

Lord Dalhousie

1848-1856

  • The annexation of Lower Burma (1852).
  • He raised the Doctrine of Lapse.
  • The second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-49) was fought.
  • Wood's Despatch 1854.
  • He laid down the first railway line joining Thane and Bombay in 1853.
  • He also founded the PWD.

Lord Canning

1856-1862

  • Revolt of 1857.
  • Dissolution of East India Company and transfer of control to the Crown by the Government of India Act, 1858.
  • Establishment of three universities in 1857 at Madras, Calcutta, and Bombay.
  • Indian Councils Act of 1861.

Lord John Lawrence

1864-1869

  • Building of the High Courts at Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras (1865).
  • Bhutan War (1865).

Lord Lytton

1876-1880

  • The Arms Act (1878).
  • The Second Afghan War (1878-80).
  • The Vernacular Press Act (1878).
  • Queen Victoria took the crown of 'Kaiser-i-Hind' or Queen Empress of India.

Lord Ripon

1880-1884

  • The first Factory Act (1881)
  • Government decisiveness on regional self-government (1882).
  • The Ilbert Bill controversy (1883-84).
  • Repeal of the Vernacular Press Act (1882).
  • Hunter Commission on education (1882).

Lord Dufferin

1884-1888

  • The Third Burmese War (1885-86).
  • Foundation of the Indian National Congress (1885).

Lord Lansdowne

1888-1894

  • Setting up of Durand Commission (1893).
  • Indian Councils Act (1892).
  • Factory Act (1891).

Lord Curzon

1899-1905

  • Indian Universities Act (1904).
  • Partition of Bengal (1905).
  • Selection of Police Commission (1902).
  • Selection of Universities Commission (1902).

Lord Minto II

1905-1910

  • Surat Split of Congress (1907).
  • Building of Muslim League (1906).
  • Swadeshi Movements. (1905-11).
  • Morley-Minto Reforms(1909).

Lord Hardinge II

1910-1916

  • Shift of capital from Calcutta to Delhi (1911).
  • Annulment of Division of Bengal (1911)
  • Establishment of the Hindu Mahasabha (1915)

Lord Chelmsford

1916-1921

  • Montagu's August Declaration (1917)
  • Government of India Act (1919)
  • The Rowlatt Act (1919)
  • Lucknow pact (1916)
  • Champaran Satyagraha (1917)
  • Jallianwalla Bagh massacre (1919)
  • Launch of Non-Cooperation and Khilafat Movements.

Lord Reading

1921-1926

  • Setting up of Swaraj Party (1922)
  • Kakori train robbery (1925)
  • Chauri Chaura incident (1922)
  • Withdrawal of Non-Cooperation Movement (1922)

Lord Irwin

1926-1931

  • Harcourt Butler Indian States Commission (1927)
  • Deepavali Declaration (1929)
  • Dandi March and the Civil Disobedience Movement (1930)
  • Nehru Report (1928)
  • Lahore session of the Congress (Purna Swaraj Resolution) 1929
  • First Round Table Conference (1930)
  • Simon Commission to India (1927)
  • Gandhi-Irwin Pact (1931).

Lord Willingdon

1931-1936

  • Government of India Act of 1935.
  • Communal Award (1932)
  • Second and Third Round Table Conference (1932).
  • Poona Pact (1932).

Lord Linlithgow

1936-1944

  • Tripuri Crisis and formation of Forward Bloc (1939)
  • Lahore Resolution of the Muslim League (demand for a separate state for Muslims) 1940
  • Resignation of the Congress ministries after the outbreak of the Second World War (1939)
  • 'August Offer' (1940)
  • Formation of the Indian National Army (1941)
  • Cripps Mission (1942)
  • Quit India Movement (1942)

Lord Wavell

1944-1947

  • Direct Action Day (1946)
  • Notification of end of British control in India by Clement Attlee (1947)
  • C. Rajagopalachari's CR Formula (1944)
  • Wavell Plan and the Simla Conference (1942)
  • Cabinet Mission (1946).

Lord Mountbatten

1947-1948

  • Redcliff commission (1947)
  • June Third Plan (1947)
  • India's Independence (15 August 1947)

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari

1948-1950

  • Last Governor General of India, before the office, was permanently canceled in 1950.

Difference between the Viceroy and Governor General of India

Governor of Bengal was the position that came before the Governor General and Viceroy of India. Bengal was governed by the East India Company when it arrived in India through the role of Governor of Bengal. Robert Clive served as Bengal's first governor.

Following the Regulating Act of 1773, the governor of Bengal, who had previously served as governor of Madras and Bombay, became the governor-general of Bengal.

  • Lord Warren Hastings served as Bengal's first governor-general.
  • The Regulating Act of 1833 changed the position of Governor General of Bengal to Governor General of India.
  • Under the Government of India Act of 1858, this position is further transformed into Viceroy of India.

Now let's examine the minute variations between these two positions.

Aspect

Governor General of India

Viceroy of India

The post is created by

The Regulating Act of 1833, which changed the title of the position from Governor-General of Bengal to Governor General of India, and formed the position. East India Company's court of directors appointed the Governor General of India.

Following the Revolt of 1857, the Government of India established the office in 1858. The Viceroy of India, who served as the British crown's envoy, replaced the position of Governor General of India.

First-person to hold the office

William Bentick

Lord Canning

Last person to hold the office

C. Rajgopalachari (also first Indian governor general of India)

Lord Louis Mountbatten

Reporting officer above them

Court of Directors of East India Company

British Crown

Duration

1833-1858

1858-1948

 

Important Notes for UPSC
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FAQs on Governor General of India

  • William Bentinck became the first governor-general of India in 1833. After the Charter Act of 1833, the name changed to Governor General of India from Governor General of Bengal.

  • Warren Hastings evolved as the first governor-general of Bengal. Hastings was accountable for reducing British authority over the first central Indian province to be defeated.

  • The Government of India Act 1858 fixed the control to appoint the Governor-General in the Sovereign. The Governor-General, in turn, had the authority to select all lieutenant governors in India, subject to the Sovereign's approval.

  • Lord Cornwallis was the second Governor General of Bengal after a supplementary act passed in 1786. Later, he became the effective ruler of British India under the authority of the Board of Control and the Court of Directors.

  • Chakravarti Rajagopalachari became the only Indian and last governor-general after independence, between the years 1878 till 1972.

  • The first Governor-General of British India was William Bentick. The Governor-General of Bengal evolved as the Governor-General of British India after the Charter Act of 1833 was passed.

  • C. Rajagopalachari became the only Indian Governor-General of India. Viceroy was no longer a position after August 1947, when India gained independence, and the British representative took the title of Governor-General.

  • Earl Canning, Charles John Canning, also called Viscount Canning of Kilbrahan, (born in 1812, London, England, and died in 1862, London), was a statesman and governor-general of India during the Indian revolt of 1857.

  • James Andrew Broun-Ramsay, Lord Dalhousie, was the Governor General of India from 1848 to 1856. He was a colonial officer and Scottish statesman in British India.

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