Modern History Notes: Governor Generals and Viceroys of India

By PARUL RISHI|Updated : January 3rd, 2023

Governor Generals and Viceroys of India: In this article, we would cover one of the most important topics of Modern history, i.e. Governor Generals and Viceroys of India. In SSC and Railway exams, questions are generally asked about the important viceroys and Governor Generals, their tenure and important acts passed and happening occurred in their tenure.

Introduction Of Governor-General and Viceroys in India

The objective of Introducing Viceroys and Governor Generals 

  • Britain was able to accomplish this incredible achievement because of the strong and efficient bureaucracies that it created in its colonies.
  • The British were able to establish this authority in India through Governors-General and Viceroys.

Introduction  of Governor-General of India

  • Bengal Governor-General (1773-1833): When the East India Company arrived in India, it established an office called "Governor of Bengal"
    • First Governor of Bengal: Robert Clive
  • However, with the passage of the Regulating Act 1773, the office of Governor of Bengal was renamed "Governor-General of Bengal"
    • First Governor-General of Bengal was Warren Hastings
  • Governor-General of India (1833-58): The office of Governor-General of Bengal was renamed "Governor-General of India" by a Charter Act in 1833
    • The first Governor-General of India was William Bentinck.
    • This position was mostly administrative in nature, and it reported to the East India Company's Court of Directors.

Introduction of Viceroys

  • Following the 1857 uprising, the company rule was dissolved, and India was placed under the direct administration of the British crown.
  • The Government of India Act of 1858 was passed, which replaced the post-Governor General of India with the Viceroy of India
  • The British government appointed the Viceroy immediately.
  • Lord Canning was India's first Viceroy.

List of Governor-General of India

Governors-General of India

Acts / Events During Regime

Warren Hastings (1773-1785)

  • Regulating Act of 1773
  • Pitt’s India Act of 1784
  • The Rohilla War of 1774
  • The First Maratha War in 1775-82 and the Treaty of Salbai in 1782
  • Second Mysore War in 1780-84

Lord Cornwallis (1786-1793)

  • Third Mysore War (1790-92) and Treaty of Seringapatam (1792)
  • Cornwallis Code (1793)
  • Permanent Settlement of Bengal, 1793

Lord Wellesley (1798-1805)

  • Introduction of the Subsidiary Alliance System (1798)
  • Fourth Mysore War (1799)
  • Second Maratha War (1803-05)

Lord Minto I (1807-1813)

  • Treaty of Amritsar with Ranjit Singh (1809)

Lord Hastings (1813-1823)

  • Anglo-Nepal War (1814-16) and the Treaty of Sagauli, 1816
  • Third Maratha War (1817-19) and dissolution of Maratha Confederacy
  • Establishment of Ryotwari System (1820)

Lord Amherst (1823-1828)

  • First Burmese War (1824-1826)

Lord William Bentinck (1828-1835)

  • Abolition of Sati System (1829)
  • Charter Act of 1833

Lord Auckland (1836-1842)

  • First Afghan War (1838-42)

Lord Hardinge I (1844-1848)

  • First Anglo-Sikh War (1845-46) and the Treaty of Lahore (1846).
  • Social reforms like the abolition of female infanticide

Lord Dalhousie (1848-1856)

  • Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-49)
  • The annexation of Lower Burma (1852)
  • Introduction of the Doctrine of Lapse
  • Wood’s Despatch 1854
  • Laying down of first railway line connecting Bombay and Thane in 1853
  • Laying down of first railway line connecting Bombay and Thane in 1853
  • Establishment of PWD

List of Viceroys in India

Viceroys of India

Acts / Events During Regime

Lord Canning (1856-1862)

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

Lord John Lawrence (1864-1869)

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

Lord Lytton (1876-1880)

  • The Vernacular Press Act (1878)
  • The Arms Act (1878)
  • The Second Afghan War (1878-80)
  • Queen Victoria assumed the title of ‘Kaiser-i-Hind’ or Queen Empress of India

Lord Ripon (1880-1884)

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

Lord Dufferin (1884-1888)

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

Lord Lansdowne (1888-1894)

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

Lord Curzon (1899-1905)

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

Lord Minto II (1905-1910)

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

Lord Hardinge II (1910-1916)

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

Lord Chelmsford (1916-1921)

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

Lord Reading (1921-1926)

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

Lord Irwin (1926-1931)

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

Lord Willingdon (1931-1936)

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

Lord Linlithgow (1936-1944)

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

Lord Wavell (1944-1947)

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

Lord Mountbatten (1947-1948)

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

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1948-1950)

  • The last Governor-General of India, before the office, was permanently abolished in 1950

List of Governor-General And Viceroys in India PDF

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