What is Meant by the Doctrine of Lapse?

By Shivank Goel|Updated : September 8th, 2022

The Doctrine of Lapse was a policy introduced by Lord Dalhousie, which stated that upon the death of any Indian ruler who left no male heir, the kingdom would be acquired by the British. It was the final wave of the British annexation of India.

  • From 1848 to 1856, Lord Dalhousie served as the governor-general.
  • He oversaw the last round of annexations.
  • His doctrine of lapse policy was used to carry out this last wave of annexations.
  • According to the Doctrine of Lapse, if a kingdom's ruler passed away without leaving a male heir, the kingdom would "Lapse" and join the British East India Company.

The Doctrine of Lapse

The East India Company expanded its realm in a number of ways between 1757 and 1857.

  • In addition to using military force, it also employed political, diplomatic, and economical means to capture kingdoms.
  • Following the Battle of Buxar in 1764, the British appointed citizens to Indian states.
  • Through residents, the British East India Company began meddling in the domestic affairs of the States.
  • The Company recruited candidates for administrative positions and even went so far as to make the heirs apparent.

The Doctrine of Lapse was used to annex many Kingdoms. They have been listed below:

  • The Doctrine of Lapse was first used in 1848 to acquire the Kingdom of Satara.
  • In 1850, the Province of Sambalpur was annexed.
  • Through the Doctrine of Lapse, Dalhousie seized control of the Kingdom of Udaipur in 1852.
  • In 1853, the State of Nagpur was annexed.
  • In 1854, the Throne of Jhansi was annexed.
  • The Kingdom of Awadh was the last territory to be annexed under the Doctrine of Lapse in 1856.

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FAQs on What is Meant by the Doctrine of Lapse?

  • The Doctrine of Lapse was introduced by Lord Dalhousie.

  • The Doctrine of Lapse was first introduced in the province of Satara.

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