British India

The mutiny of 1857 marked the end of the British East India Company. And in August 1858 Queen Victoria of England issued a declaration dissolving the company and taking over its power. In 1877 she assumed the title of the Empress of India. And the Indian subcontinent became the property of Britain from 1857 till the country became independent at the end of a long and painful struggle, in 1947. Under Britain, India was called British India and it included what is modern India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bengladesh etc. In 1937 Myanmar (the erstwhile Burma) was made a separate colony. The British Raj had two different layers – the areas which were directly under British rule, and princely states which were controlled by Britain under covenants and pacts. In effect, the whole of India became a colony of Britain.

After World War I Britain introduced certain administrative reforms in order to contain the dissatisfaction among various sections of the people and the popular movements for freedom. They also gave some share to the Indians in the civil service and administration. But these reforms failed to quench India's yearning for freedom from the foreign yoke. The 20th century witnessed a rare spectacle in history – a whole nation waging a war with the foreign masters for its freedom, in a non-violent and non-co-operative mode of action. India won its freedom from the British in 1947, triggering a chain action of de-colonization. Emulating India's path, several colonies of European powers won their liberation.