List of Governor General of India

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The 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.

Governor General of Bengal to Governor General of India

The Governor-general of Bengal 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.

List of Governor General of India Notes

English statesman, Warren Hastings served as the Supreme Council of the 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.

Role of Governor-General in India

The position of the Governor-General was highly prestigious as they were the supreme head of the administration during British rule. The Governor-General was the sole representative of the Crown in British India. After the Government of India Act of 1858, the Governor-General of India became known as the Viceroy of India.

Warren Hastings, the first Governor General of Bengal, ended the dual government system and founded the Calcutta Madrasa to promote Islamic Studies. However, after the Regulating Act of 1833, the position got altered and became known as the Governor-General of India.

List of Governor General of Bengal

The post of Governor-General of Bengal or Governor-General of Presidency of Fort William was created after the Regulating Act of 1773. Although the post was later redesigned into the Governor-General of India, it is crucial to learn about the Governors-General of Bengal and the significant events during their tenure.

First Governor General of Bengal

As mentioned above, Warren Hastings was the first Governor General of Bengal and he was responsible for bringing multiple reforms during his tenure that lasted for 13 years.

Last Governor General of Bengal

The last Governor General of Bengal was Lord Amherst. The two critical events during his tenure were the Barrackpore mutiny of 1824 and the annexation of Assam that resulted in the first Burmese war in 1824.

Refer to the table illustrated below to learn more about the position of the Governor General of Bengal.


Governor-General of Bengal

Major Events and Reforms


Warren Hastings

First Governor General of Bengal

Ended the dual system of administration, Asiatic Society of Bengal, Supreme Court at Calcutta, 1st Anglo-Maratha War + Treaty of Salbai, 1st English translation of the Bhagavad Gita, Pitt’s India Act 1784


Lord Cornwallis

Establishing the Appellate and lower-grade courts, 3rd Anglo-Mysore War and Treaty of Seringapatam, Introduction of Permanent Settlement and civil services


Sir John Shore

Charter act of 1793, Policy of Non-intervention, Battle of Kharda


Lord Wellesley

4th Anglo- Mysore war + the Treaty of Bassein, Introducing Subsidiary Alliance System, 2nd Anglo–Maratha war, Establishing Fort William College at Calcutta, Establishment of Madras presidency


Sir George Barlow

Acted as the Governor-General until the arrival of Lord Minto, Diminished the area of British territory for economy and retrenchment. The Mutiny of Vellore, 1806


Lord Minto I

The treaty of Amritsar concluded with Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1809, Introduced the Charter Act of 1813


Lord Hastings

End of the Non-intervention policy, Abolition of Peshwaship, 3rd Anglo-Maratha war, Establishing the Ryotwari System in Bombay and Madras, Mahalwari system in north-western Provinces and Bombay


Lord Amherst

Annexation of Assam that led to the Burmese war of 1824, The Barrackpore mutiny of 1824


Lord Bentinck

Last Governor General of Bengal

During his tenure, the title changed to Governor General of India after the Charter Act of 1833.

List of Governor General of India

After the Charter Act of 1833, the title was refurbished to the Governor General of India. The Act addressed the country’s internal challenges and England’s political situation at the time. After assessing these factors, it was decided to rename and alter the esteemed position.

First Governor General of India

The title of the first Governor General of India went to Lord William Bentinck. He brought about a few crucial reforms during his tenure, including the abolition of Sati. He also suppressed the heinous act of child sacrifice and infanticide.

Last Governor General of India

Since the position of the Governor General of India was later redesigned to the Viceroy of India, Lord Charles John Canning served as the last Governor General of India. He passed the Hindu widow’s remarriage Act in 1856 and witnessed the revolt of 1857.

Refer to the table below to learn everything you need about the Governors-General of India.


Governors-General of India

Major Reforms and Events


Lord Bentinck

First Governor-General of India

Abolition of Satiand suppression of infanticide, thugee, and child sacrifices, English Education Act of 1835


Lord Metcalfe

Known as the ‘Liberator of the Indian press’ because he removed all restraints on an open press


Lord Auckland

Devoted to the improvement of native schools and the expansion of the commercial industry of India, 1st Anglo-Afghan war


Lord Ellenborough

Annexation of Sindh


Lord Hardinge I

1st Anglo-Sikh War (1845-46)

1848 to 1856

Lord Dalhousie (Governor-General of India)

Introduced the ‘Doctrine of Lapse‘, Doctrine of Good, Post Office Act, 1854, 1st Railway line was introduced (connecting Bombay and Thane), Established engineering college in Roorkee, 2nd Anglo-Sikh War

1st telegraph line, Establishment of the Public Works Department, Abolition of titles and pensions, Started Competitive exam for Indian Civil Services, Widow Remarriage Act


Lord Canning

Opened 3 universities in Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay in 1857, Revolt of 1857

(Note: After the 1857 Revolt, the title of Governor-General of India was made Viceroy of British India, and Canning became the first Viceroy of India)

Lastly, the title of the first Governor General of India after independence went to Lord Mountbatten. However, since the title had changed to the Viceroy of India, he is popularly known as the last Viceroy.

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.


Governor General of India

Viceroy of India

The post is created by

The Regulating Act of 1833, 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 the first Indian governor-general of India)

Lord Louis Mountbatten

Reporting officer above them

Court of Directors of East India Company

British Crown




UPSC Notes

Raja Ram Mohan Roy

French Revolution

River System in India

Arc Report

Simon Commission

Schedules of Indian Constitution

16 Mahajanapadas

7th Schedule of Indian Constitution

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