Viceroy of India – First and Last Viceroy of India, List of Viceroy of India (1857 to 1947)

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Viceroy of India was a representative of the British Crown in India that overlooked the implementation of all of the policies set by the government and maintained their rule. Initially, the Viceroy was called the Governor-General of India before the post underwent changes. The viceroy was given a council called the India Council to guide him. After 1857, the Governor General of India was called the Viceroy of India from 1857 to 1947.

The title of viceroy was presented post the war of 1857. The British government noticed the mismanagement by the East India Company. The Government then decided to introduce a self-governing head titled the Viceroy of India. The first viceroy was Lord Canning, and the last viceroy of India was Lord Mountbatten in 1947. Download the complete list of viceroys of India and their noteworthy contribution.

Viceroy of India

Once India gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, the Viceroy of India, formerly known as the governor-general of India, was designated as the monarch’s representative. In most cases, the term “viceroy” refers to a king or queen’s delegate who administers another nation on their behalf.

Viceroy of India PDF

The Viceroy’s position and power came under British control following the uprising of 1857. The Governor Generals controlled India before the Viceroy. Lord Canning, who oversaw the country from 1856 until 1862, served as the first viceroy of India.

First Viceroy of India

The 1st Viceroy of India was Lord Canning from 1858 to 1862. After the Last Governor General of India, the Government of India Act 1858 was passed, which changed the name of the post of Governor-General of India to the Viceroy of India. The Viceroy of India was to be directly appointed by the British government.

The revolt of 1857 was the first organized rebellion attack that the somewhat docile Indian population had launched on the EIC. It worried the English monarch back in Britain, who feared losing India as its cash cow. To appease the crowds with the promise of a better administration and efficient rule-making, the Crown terminated the company rule, and India came under its direct control through the Viceroys of India.

Last Viceroy of India

Lord Mountbatten was appointed as the last Viceroy of India in 1947 with the primary responsibility of preventing the partition of India. After the independence of India, Lord Mountbatten remained the first governor-general of an independent India until June 1948.

His name was Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten. The partition work of India and Pakistan was provided to him by the British monarchs. After he got retired, C. Rajagopalachari became the first Governor General of India.

Last Governor General of India

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was the Last Governor-General of India from 1948-1950, making him the only Indian to become the Governor General before the office was abolished. The Last British Governor General of India was Lord Mountbatten. He was the only Indian last Governor-general of India after independence, from 1948 to 1950. R. Rajagopalachari was an activist and an Indian statesman. He acted as the head of INC and chief of the Madras Presidency.

He launched the Swatantra party in 1959 in an attempt to multiply his liberal principles. He is known to take part in renowned Indian national movements like the Non-Cooperation movement, Vaikom Satyagraha, Dandi March, and the Quit India movement. He was among the first recipients of Bharat Ratna recognition in India. He worked for the encouragement of Dalits and became a prominent part of the temple entrance movements in the country.

List of Viceroy in India (1857 – 1947)

The British Viceroy of India had diplomatic powers and governed colonies under the British crown. The Governor General of India mainly had administrative powers. There were 20 viceroys appointed, from Lord Canning being the first to Lord Mountbatten, the Last Viceroy of India.

Viceroy of India List

The complete Viceroy of India list from 1857 to 1947 is mentioned below. Additionally, learn about their tenure and the significant events that took place in the course of each Viceroy.

Viceroys of India Tenure Significant Events
Lord Canning – First Viceroy of British India 1856-1862 The Revolt of 1857 happened during his service;

The establishment of three universities at Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay in 1857;

The rule of the East India Company was abolished, and the control was transferred to the Crown by the Government of India Act, of 1858;

Indian Councils Act of 1861;

Lord Elgin – Second Viceroy of India 1862-1863 The Wahabi Movement happened under his reign
Lord John Lawrence 1864-1869 The Bhutan War (1865) happened during his service;

The High Courts at Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras were established in 1865

Lord Mayo 1869-1872 The financial distribution between the center and the state was introduced;

India’s first Census was done in 1872;

The Mayo College for the royal elite was set up;

Establishment of the Statistical Survey of India;

The only Governor-General to die in India was Lord Mayo. Sher Ali Afridi murdered him in Port Blair

Lord Northbrook 1872-1876 Civil Marriage under the Universal Marriage Act was introduced in 1872. This act allowed inter-caste marriage;

Arya Samaj was established;

The Kuka Movement was observed in Punjab

Lord Lytton 1876-1880 Several acts were introduced; the Vernacular Press Act (1878), and the Arms Act (1878);

The Second Afghan War happened from 1878 – 1880;

Queen Victoria took the title of Kaiser-i-Hind’ which translates to Queen Empress of India

Lord Ripon 1880-1884 Upon receiving backlash, the Vernacular Press Act (1882) was repealed;

The first Factory Act of 1881 was introduced;

There was a government resolution passed on the establishment of local self-government (1882);

Ilbert Bill controversy (1883-84);

Hunter Commission on Education (1882)

Viceroy in 1887 – Lord Dufferin 1884-1888 The Third Burmese War (1885-86);

One of the most noteworthy events was the establishment of Indian National Congress in 1885

Lord Lansdowne 1888-1894 Another Factory Act was introduced in 1891;

Indian Councils Act, 1892;

The Durand Commission was set up in 1893

Lord Elgin II 1894-1899 Brothers Ramkrishna and Damodar Chapekar killed the first British officer, Rands. During British control in India, it was the very first political assassination
Lord Curzon 1899-1905 The Police Commission was appointed in 1902;

The appointment of the Universities Commission happened in 1902;

Indian Universities Act of 1904 was introduced;

Partition of Bengal 1905 was Curzon’s master move towards the British Policy of Divide and Rule

Lord Minto II 1905-1910 Surat Split of Congress (1907);

The Muslim League was established in 1906;

Morley-Minto Reforms came in 1909

Lord Hardinge II 1910-1916 The Partition of Bengal was annulled in 1911;

The British capital shifted from Calcutta to Delhi (1911);

Establishment of the Hindu Mahasabha (1915)

Lord Chelmsford 1916-1921 Chelmsford’s India saw a lot of change and tragedy;

The Lucknow pact occurred in 1916;

The Champaran Satyagraha was launched in 1917;

Montagu’s August Declaration (1917);

The Government of India Act (1919) was introduced;

The Rowlatt Act (1919) or the Black laws were introduced. There were nationwide protests;

This led to one of the most tragic events in Indian history, the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre (1919);

Launch of Non-Cooperation and Khilafat Movements

Lord Reading Lord Reading Time Period- 1921-1926 The Chauri Chaura incident (1922) happened, which led to the withdrawal of the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1922 by Mahatma Gandhi;

Establishment of Swaraj Party (1922);

Kakori Conspiracy, train robbery (1925)

Lord Irwin 1926-1931 The Simon Commission came to India in 1927;

Harcourt Butler, Indian States Commission (1927);

Nehru Report (1928);

Deepavali Declaration (1929);

The Lahore session of the Congress where the Purna Swaraj Resolution was taken happened in 1929;

The revolutionary Dandi March was from 12 Mar 1930 to 6 Apr 1930, successfully launching the Civil Disobedience Movement the same year;

First Round Table Conference (1930);

Gandhi-Irwin Pact (1931)

Lord Willingdon 1931-1936 Establishment of the Communal Award (1932);

Second & Third Round Table Conference (1932);

The Poona Pact 1932 resolved the issues between Dr. BR Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi over separate Dalit electorates;

Government of India Act of 1935

Lord Linlithgow Linlithgow Time Period – 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’ of 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 was announced by the Muslim League (1946);

Announcement of the end of British rule in India by Clement Attlee (1947)

Lord Mountbatten 1947-1948 June Third Plan or Mountbatten Plan (1947);

Redcliff Commission (1947);

India’s Independence (15 August 1947)

Viceroy of India UPSC

The Viceroy of India was chosen by the British government directly. The first viceroy of India was Lord Canning. The Viceroy of India, who represented the British throne, took over the duties of the Governor-General of India. The last viceroy of India was Lord Mountbatten.

Between 1948 and 1950, the last governor-general of India was Chakravarti Rajagopalachari. To have a better understanding about Viceroy of India UPSC topic, you must be thorough with NCERT books for UPSC and subsequently practice the below MCQs.

Viceroy of India Sample Questions

Question: Consider the following statements regarding Warren Hastings. 1) He was the first Governor-General of Bengal; 2) He founded Madrasa ‘Aliya’; 3) He supported the foundation of the Bengal Asiatic Society, Which of the statements is/are correct? (a) 1 and 3 only, (b) 1, 2 and 3, (c) 2 and 3 only, (d) 1 and 2 only, (e) None of the above/ More than one of the above
Answer: 1, 2 and 3

Question: The First Factory Act in India to improve labor conditions was introduced under the Viceroy-ship of? (a) Lord Ripon, (b) Lord Curzon, (c) Lord Canning, (d) Lord Dufferin
Answer: Lord Ripon

Question: Who among the following was the Viceroy of British India at the time of second round table conference? (a) Lord Linlithgow, (b) Lord Irwin, (c) Lord Reading, (d) Lord Willingdon
Answer: Lord Willingdon

Question: Who was the first British Viceroy of India? (a) Robert Clive, (b) Lord Wellesley, (c) Lord Canning, (d) William Bentinck
Answer: Lord Canning

Question: Which Viceroy partitioned Bengal in 1905? (a) Viceroy Linlithgow, (b) Viceroy Ripon, (c) Viceroy Curzon, (d) Viceroy Lytton
Answer: Viceroy Curzon

UPSC Notes
Union Territories of India Types of Majorities in Parliament
List of High Courts in India Types of Banks in India
Governor General of India Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Indian National Congress Session Indian Judiciary
French Revolution Types of Forest in India
Prehistoric Period Right to Freedom
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