Emperor of India

Emperor of India

Emperor/Empress of India ("Badishah-e-Hind" in Hindustani) was used as a title by the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II, and also by the colonial British monarchs during the British Raj in India.

The term "Emperor of India" is also sometimes used to refer to Indian emperors such as Ashoka the Great of the Maurya Dynastycite web|url=http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-38797/Asoka|title=Aśoka – Britannica Online Encyclopedia|work=Online encyclopædia|publisher=Encyclopædia Britannica|accessdate=2008-07-08] and Emperor Akbar of the Mughal empire. However, they did not claim this title for themselves.

Bahadur Shah II

Though the Mughal dynasty ruled over most of the Indian subcontinent from the 16th century onwards, they simply used the title "badshah" (considered in the West to be equivalent to "emperor") without geographic designation. During the Indian rebellion of 1857, the rebel sepoys seized Delhi and proclaimed the Mughal Bahadur Shah II as "Badshah-i Hind," or Emperor of India. After the rebellion was crushed, he was captured and was exiled to Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar) in 1858, and the Mughal dynasty came to an end.

British monarchs

After the Mughal Emperor was deposed by the British East India Company, and after the company itself was dissolved, the title "Empress of India" was taken by Queen Victoria from May 1 1876. The title was created nineteen years after the formal incorporation into the British Empire of Britain's possessions and protectorates on the Indian subcontinent, comprising most of modern-day India (excluding the Portuguese colony Goa, the State of Sikkim, and the French colony Pondicherry), Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Burma (though the latter would be made a separate colony in 1937).

Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is usually credited with creating the title for her. [ [http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page118.asp History of the Monarchy, Victoria] ] Also, the title was created when it became evident that Queen Victoria's daughter, Victoria, Princess Royal, would become an empress when her husband ascended the German imperial throne, many at the time thinking it wrong for the daughter to outrank her mother the Queen.

When Victoria died, and her son Edward VII ascended the throne, his title became "Emperor of India". The title continued until India and Pakistan became independent from the United Kingdom at midnight on 14/15 August 1947. The title itself was not formally abandoned by Edward VIII's successor, George VI, until 1948.

When signing their name for Indian business, a British King-Emperor or reigning Queen-Empress used the initials "R I" ("Rex/Regina Imperator/Imperatrix") or the abbreviation "Ind. Imp." ("Indiae Imperator/Imperatrix") after their name (while the one reigning Queen-Empress, Victoria, used the initials "R I", the three consorts of the married King-Emperors simply used "R"). This was also used on many British coins, including some 1948 coins of George VI.

When a male monarch held the title, his wife, the Queen Consort used the style Queen-Empress, but unlike Queen Victoria, they themselves were not reigning monarchs but the wives of reigning monarchs.

King of India and Pakistan

George VI continued to hold the title King of India for two years during the short Governor-Generalships of Lord Mountbatten and of C. Rajagopalachari until India became a republic on 26 January 1950. George VI remained as King of the United Kingdom and King of Pakistan until his death in 1952. Pakistan became a republic on 23 March 1956, so Elizabeth II was Queen of Pakistan for four years.

Emperors and Empresses of India

ee also

* List of Indian monarchs
* List of Mughal emperors
* List of British monarchs
* Mughal Empire
* President of India
* President of Pakistan
* Governor-General of Pakistan
* Governor-General


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