|Casa da Índia||1434–1833|
|Portuguese East India Company||1628–1633|
|East India Company||1612–1757|
|Company rule in India||1757–1858|
|British rule in Burma||1824–1948|
|Partition of India|
The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in India. Collectively, they were called British India. In one form or another, they existed between 1612 and 1947, conventionally divided into three historical periods:
- Between 1612 and 1757 the East India Company set up "factories" (trading posts) in several locations, mostly in coastal India, with the consent of the Mughal emperors or local rulers. Its rivals were the merchant trading companies of Portugal, Denmark, the Netherlands, and France. By the mid-18th century three Presidency towns: Madras, Bombay and Calcutta, had grown in size.
- During the period of Company rule in India, 1757–1858, the Company gradually acquired sovereignty over large parts of India, now called "Presidencies". However, it also increasingly came under British government oversight, in effect sharing sovereignty with the Crown. At the same time, it gradually lost its mercantile privileges.
- Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857 the Company's remaining powers were transferred to the Crown. Under the British Raj (1858–1947), administrative boundaries were extended to include a few other British-administered regions, such as Upper Burma. Increasingly, however, the unwieldy presidencies were broken up into "Provinces".
ᱵᱽᱨᱤᱴᱤᱥ ᱤᱱᱰᱤᱭᱟ (᱑᱗᱙᱓–᱑᱙᱔᱗)[ᱥᱟᱯᱲᱟᱣ | ᱯᱷᱮᱰᱟᱛ ᱥᱟᱯᱲᱟᱣ]
In 1608, Mughal authorities allowed the English East India Company to establish a small trading settlement at Surat (now in the state of Gujarat), and this became the company's first headquarters town. It was followed in 1611 by a permanent factory at Machilipatnam on the Coromandel Coast, and in 1612 the company joined other already established European trading companies in Bengal in trade. However, the power of the Mughal Empire declined from 1707, first at the hands of the Marathas and later due to invasion from Persia (1739) and Afghanistan (1761); after the East India Company's victories at the Battle of Plassey (1757) and Battle of Buxar (1764)—both within the Bengal Presidency established in 1765—and the abolition of local rule (Nizamat) in Bengal in 1793, the Company gradually began to formally expand its territories across India. By the mid-19th century, and after the three Anglo-Maratha Wars the East India Company had become the paramount political and military power in south Asia, its territory held in trust for the British Crown.
Company rule in Bengal (after 1793) was terminated by the Government of India Act 1858, following the events of the Bengal Rebellion of 1857. Henceforth known as British India, it was thereafter directly ruled as a colonial possession of the United Kingdom, and India was officially known after 1876 as the Indian Empire. India was divided into British India, regions that were directly administered by the British, with Acts established and passed in British Parliament, and the Princely States, ruled by local rulers of different ethnic backgrounds. These rulers were allowed a measure of internal autonomy in exchange for recognition of British suzerainty. British India constituted a significant portion of India both in area and population; in 1910, for example, it covered approximately 54% of the area and included over 77% of the population. In addition, there were Portuguese and French exclaves in India. Independence from British rule was achieved in 1947 with the formation of two nations, the Dominions of India and Pakistan, the latter including East Bengal, present-day Bangladesh.
The term British India also applied to Burma for a shorter time period: beginning in 1824, a small part of Burma, and by 1886, almost two thirds of Burma had been made part of British India. This arrangement lasted until 1937, when Burma was reorganized as a separate British colony. British India did not apply to other countries in the region, such as Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), which was a British Crown colony, or the Maldive Islands, which were a British protectorate. At its greatest extent, in the early 20th century, the territory of British India extended as far as the frontiers of Persia in the west; Afghanistan in the northwest; Nepal in the north, Tibet in the northeast; and China, French Indochina and Siam in the east. It also included the Aden Province in the Arabian Peninsula.
ᱥᱟ.ᱠᱷᱭᱟ.ᱛ[ᱥᱟᱯᱲᱟᱣ | ᱯᱷᱮᱰᱟᱛ ᱥᱟᱯᱲᱟᱣ]
- The Imperial Gazetteer of India (26 vol, 1908–31), highly detailed description of all of India in 1901. online edition
- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. II (1908), The Indian Empire, Historical, Published under the authority of His Majesty's Secretary of State for India in Council, Oxford at the Clarendon Press. Pp. xxxv, 1 map, 573
- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. III (1908), The Indian Empire, Economic (Chapter X: Famine, pp. 475–502), Published under the authority of His Majesty's Secretary of State for India in Council, Oxford at the Clarendon Press. Pp. xxxvi, 1 map, 520
- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV (1908), The Indian Empire, Administrative, 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
ᱵᱟ.ᱲᱛᱤ ᱡᱚᱱᱚᱲ[ᱥᱟᱯᱲᱟᱣ | ᱯᱷᱮᱰᱟᱛ ᱥᱟᱯᱲᱟᱣ]
- Statistical abstracts relating to British India, from 1840 to 1920 at uchicago.edu
- Digital Colonial Documents (India) Homepage at latrobe.edu.au
- Provinces of British India at worldstatesmen.org
- Collection of early 20th century photographs of the cities of Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras with other interesting Indian locations from the magazine, India Illustrated, at the University of Houston Digital Library
- Coins of British India
- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV 1908, p. 5 Quote: "The history of British India falls ... into three periods. From the beginning of the 17th to the middle of the 18th century, the East India Company is a trading corporation, existing on the sufferance of the native powers, and in rivalry with the merchant companies of Holland and France. During the next century, the Company acquires and consolidates its dominion, shares its sovereignty in increasing proportions with the Crown, and gradually loses its mercantile privileges and functions. After the Mutiny of 1857, the remaining powers of the Company are transferred to the Crown ..."
- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. II 1908, pp. 452–472
- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. II 1908, pp. 473–487
- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. II 1908, pp. 488–514
- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. II 1908, pp. 514–530
- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV 1908, pp. 46–57
- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV 1908, pp. 58–103
- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV 1908, pp. 59–61
- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV 1908, pp. 104–125