What were the Princely States?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

The Princely States were called native states and were ruled by a local or regional king in a secondary alliance with the British Raj. At the time of Indian independence in 1947, there were about 565 princely states; Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel did the work of including about 562 of them in India.

Princely States during British Raj

A princely state, sometimes known as a native or Indian state, was a nominally sovereign part of the British Indian Empire.

  • It was ruled by an indirect system of a subsidiary alliance, the power of the British throne, and an Indian emperor.
  • Although there were technically 565 princely kingdoms at the time of India and Pakistan’s independence in 1947, the vast majority had agreements with the ruler to manage public services and tax collection.
  • Of the actual 21 states, only four had significant state governments (Hyderabad State, Mysore State, Jammu and Kashmir State, and Baroda State).
  • They joined one of the two newly independent nations between 1947 and 1949.
  • The accession process was largely peaceful, with the exception of Hyderabad, Jammu, and Kashmir, which became bitterly divided between India and Pakistan. Every prince received a pension at some point.


What were the Princely States?

The Princely States were ruled in a secondary alliance by a local or regional king with the British Raj, also known as native states or feudatory states. At the time of independence in 1947, there were approximately 565 princely republics; Sardar Vallabhai Patel fought to unite 562 of them with India.

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