Provinces of India

Provinces of India

The Provinces of India (also Provinces of British India) were administrative units of British rule in India, the predecessors to the modern-day states. During the period 1600 to 1765 these provinces were governed by officials of the East India Company whereas, from 1858 to 1947, by those representing the British government.

By the mid-19th century, the provinces comprised over half of the area of India and 60 percent of the Indian population. The provincial governments were headed by Governors, Lieutenant-governors, High Commissioners, Commissioners, or Administrators appointed by the Governor-general of India. The remaining area of India was made up of princely states, which were ruled by Indian rulers, or princes, who had accepted British suzerainty in return for limited autonomy.

Provinces of British India

Established by the East India Company (1600–1765)

*Madras Presidency: established 1640.
*Bombay Presidency: East India Company's headquarters moved from Surat to Bombay in 1687.
*Bengal Presidency: established 1690.

The East India Company, which was incorporated on December 31, 1600, established trade relations with Indian rulers in Masulipatam on the east coast in 1611 and Surat on the west coast in 1612.Harvnb|Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV|1907|p=6] The company rented a trading outpost in Madras in 1639. The company rented a trading outpost in Madras in 1639. Bombay, which was ceded to the British Crown by Portugal as part of the wedding dowry of Catherine of Braganza in 1661, was in turn granted to the East India Company to be held in trust for the Crown.

Meanwhile, in eastern India, after obtaining permission from the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to trade with Bengal, the Company established its first factory at Hoogly in 1640. Almost a half-century later, after Emperor Aurengzeb forced the Company out of Hooghly, Calcutta was founded by Job Charnock in 1686. By the mid-eighteenth century the three principal trading settlements, now called the Madras Presidency (or the Presidency of Fort St. George), the Bombay Presidency, and the Bengal Presidency (or the Presidency of Fort William) were each administered by a Governor.Harvnb|Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV|1907|p=7]

Established or expanded during Company rule in India (1765–1858)

After Robert Clive's victory in the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the puppet government of a new Nawab of Bengal, was maintained by the East India Company.Harvnb|Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV|1907|p=9] However, after the invasion of Bengal by the Nawab of Oudh in 1764 and his subsequent defeat in the Battle of Buxar, the Company obtained the "Diwani" of Bengal, which included the right to administer and collect land-revenue (land tax) in "Bengal", the region of present-day Bangladesh, West Bengal, Orissa and Bihar. In 1772, the Company also obtained the "Nizāmat" of Bengal (the "exercise of criminal jurisdiction") and thereby full sovereignty of the expanded Bengal Presidency. During the period, 1773 to 1785, very little changed; the only exceptions were the addition of the dominions of the "Raja" of Banares to the western boundary of the Bengal Presidency, and the addition of Salsette Island to the Bombay Presidency.Harvnb|Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV|1907|p=10]

Next, in 1799, after the defeat of Tipu Sultan in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War a large part of his territory was annexed to the Madras Presidency. In 1801, Carnatic, which had been under the suzerainty of the Company, began to be directly administered by it as a part of the Madras Presidency.Harvnb|Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV|1907|p=11]
*Madras Presidency: Expanded in the mid-to-late 18th century Carnatic Wars and Anglo-Mysore Wars.
*Bombay Presidency: expanded after the Anglo-Maratha Wars.
*Bengal Presidency: Expanded after the battles of Plassey (1757) and Buxar (1764), and after the Second and Third Anglo-Maratha Wars.
*Ajmer-Merwara-Kekri: ceded by Sindhia of Gwalior in 1818 at the conclusion of the Third Anglo-Maratha War.
*Coorg: Annexed in 1834.
*Ceded and Conquered Provinces: Established in 1802 within the Bengal Presidency. Proposed to be renamed the Presidency of Agra under a Governor in 1835, but proposal not implemented.
*North-Western Provinces: established as a Lieutenant-Governorship in 1836 from the erstwhile "Ceded and Conquered Provinces"
*Punjab: Established in 1849 from territories captured in the Anglo-Sikh Wars.
*Nagpur Province: Created in 1853 from the princely state of Nagpur, seized by the doctrine of lapse. Merged into the Central Provinces in 1861.

Established or expanded during the British Raj (1858–1947)

*Central Provinces: Created in 1861 from Nagpur Province and the Saugor and Nerbudda Territories. renamed the Central Provinces and Berar in 1903.
*Burma: Lower Burma annexed 1852, established as a province in 1862, Upper Burma incorporated in 1886. Separated from British India in 1937 to become administered independently by the newly established British Government "Burma Office".
*Assam: separated from Bengal in 1874.
*Andaman and Nicobar Islands: established as a province in 1875.
*Baluchistan: Organized into a province in 1887.
*North-West Frontier Province: created in 1901 from the north-western districts of Punjab Province.
*East Bengal: separated from Bengal from 1905. Re-merged with Bengal in 1912
*Bihar and Orissa: separated from Bengal in 1912. Renamed Bihar in 1935 when Orissa became a separate province.
*Delhi: Separated from Punjab in 1912, when it became the capital of British India.
*Aden: separated from Bombay Presidency to become province of India in 1932; separated from India and made the Crown Colony of Aden in 1937.
*Orissa: Separated from Bihar in 1935.
*Sindh: Separated from Bombay in 1935.
*Panth-Piploda: made a province in 1942, from territories ceded by a native ruler.

Provinces of India in 1909

Major Provinces

At the turn of the 20th century, British India consisted of eight provinces that were administered either by a Governor or a Lieutenant-Governor. The following table lists their areas and populations (but does not include those of the dependent Native States):Harvnb|Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV|1907|p=46] During the partition of Bengal (1905–1911), a new province, "Assam and East Bengal" was created as a Lieutenant-Governorship. In 1911, "East Bengal" was reunited with Bengal, and the new provinces in the east became: Assam, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.

Minor Provinces

In addition, there were a few minor provinces that were administered by a Chief Commissioner:Harvnb|Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV|1907|p=56]

Provinces at independence, 1947

At Independence in 1947, British India had seventeen provinces:
*Andaman and Nicobar Islands
*Bengal Province
*Bombay Province
*Central Provinces and Berar
*Delhi Province
*Madras Province
*North-West Frontier Province
*United Provinces of Agra and Oudh

Upon the Partition of India into Union of India and Dominion of Pakistan, twelve provinces (Ajmer-Merwara-Kekri, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Assam, Bihar, Bombay, Central Provinces and Berar, Coorg, Delhi, Madras, Panth-Piploda, Orissa, and the United Provinces) became provinces within India, three (Baluchistan, North-West Frontier, and Sindh) within Pakistan, and two (Bengal and Punjab) were partitioned between India and Pakistan.

In 1950, after the new Indian Constitution was adopted, the provinces in India were replaced by redrawn states and union territories. Pakistan, however, retained its five provinces, one of which, East Pakistan became the independent nation of Bangladesh in 1971.



* Harvard reference | last = Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV
first = | title = The Indian Empire, Administrative
publisher = Published under the authority of His Majesty's Secretary of State for India in Council, Oxford at the Clarendon Press. Pp. xxx, 1 map, 552. | year = 1907



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • India in World War II — The Provinces of India (which included most of modern day India and parts of Pakistan and Bangladesh), being imperial colonies of Great Britain, were by default a part of the Allies of World War II. Several Indian princely states, within the… …   Wikipedia

  • India — • The peninsula is separated on the north from Tibet and Central Asia by the Himalaya, Hindu Kush, and Karakoram mountains, and some lower ranges divide it from Afghanistan and Baluchistan Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. India      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • India — /in dee euh/, n. 1. Hindi, Bharat. a republic in S Asia: a union comprising 25 states and 7 union territories; formerly a British colony; gained independence Aug. 15, 1947; became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations Jan. 26, 1950.… …   Universalium

  • Provinces of Portugal — The Provinces of Portugal, although today not recognized in law and disused, continue to exist as socio cultural divisions within the territory. Along its history, Portugal has had various administrative reorganizations that subdivided its… …   Wikipedia

  • Provinces of Iran — Iran This article is part of the series: Politics and government of Iran …   Wikipedia

  • Provinces of Thailand — Thailand This article is part of the series: Politics and government of Thailand …   Wikipedia

  • Provinces of the People's Republic of China — formally Provincial level divisions Simplified Chinese 省级行政区 Traditional Chinese 省級行政區 …   Wikipedia

  • Provinces of Papua New Guinea — The provinces of Papua New Guinea are the primary administrative divisions of the country. Provincial governments are branches of the national governmentndash Papua New Guinea is not a federation of provinces. The country has 20 province level… …   Wikipedia

  • INDIA —    1) (287,223), British dependency, consisting of the great peninsula in the S. of Asia, which has the Bay of Bengal on the E. and the Arabian Sea on the W., and is separated from the mainland by the Hindu Kush and the Himalaya Mountains;… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Provinces of Kazakhstan — Kazakhstan is divided into 14 provinces (Kazakh: облыстар / oblystar; singular: облысы / oblysy; Russian: области / oblasti; singular: область / oblast ). The provinces are further subdivided into districts (Kazakh: аудандар / audandar; singular …   Wikipedia