Important Governor Generals Notes

Lord Cornwallis (1786–93):

  • He was the first person to codify laws in 1793. This code separated the revenue administration from the administration of justice. He also created the post of district judge.
  • Cornwallis introduced Permanent Settlement in Bengal (1793).
  • He is called ‘the father of civil service in India’.
  • He also introduced Police Reforms with respect to Indian administration wherein, each district was divided into 400 sq. miles and placed under a police superintendent assisted by constables.
  • Cornwallis was involved in the 3rd Anglo-Mysore War.

Sir John Shore (1793–98):

He introduced the 1st Charter Act of 1793.

Lord Wellesley (1798–1805):

  • He started the Subsidiary Alliance system to achieve British paramountcy in India. The Madras Presidency was formed during his tenure.
  • He was involved in the 4th Anglo-Mysore War (1799 and the 2nd Anglo-Maratha War (1803–05).

Lord Minto I (1807–1813):

  • He concluded Treaty of Amritsar with Ranjit Singh (1809).
  • Under Lord Minto the Charter Act of 1813 was passed.

Lord Hastings (1813–1823):

  • He adopted the policy of intervention and war.
  • He was involved in the Anglo-Nepalese War (1813–23) and the 3rd Anglo-Maratha War (1817–18).
  • As a result of the 3rd Anglo Maratha War, Hastings forced humiliating treaties on Peshwa and the Scindia.
  • He introduced the Ryotwari settlement in Madras with Thomas Munro.
  • He is known for the suppression of the Pindaris.

Lord William Bentick (1828–33):

  • He is regarded as’ the Father of Modern Western Education in India’.
  • He abolished Sati in 1829.
  • He is credited with the suppression of thugees with the help of Colonel Sleeman.
  • Under his rule Mysore was annexed in1831.
  • He concluded a treaty of perpetual friendship with Ranjit Singh (1831).
  • He passed the Charter Act of 1833, which provided that no Indian subject of Company was to be debarred from holding an office on account of his religion, place of birth, descent and colour.
  • On recommendation of Macaulay Committee, Bentick made English the medium of higher education in India.
  • He founded Calcutta Medical College in 1835.

Governor-Generals of India (1833–58)

Lord W. Bentick (1833–35):

  • Under the provision of the Charter of India act 1833 he became the first Governor- General of India.
  • Bentick abolished the provincial courts of appeal and circuits set up by Cornwallis and appointed Commissioners of revenue and circuit.

Sir Charles Metcalfe (1835–1836):

He passed the famous Press Law, which liberated the press in India and due to this he is called ‘Liberator the Indian Press’.

Lord Auckland (1836–42):

  • He was involved in the 1st Anglo-Afghan War (1836–42).
  • Under him the Tripartite treaty was signed between the East India Company, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Shah Shuja.

Lord Ellenborough (1842–44):

  • He brought an end to the Afghan War.
  • During his tenure, Sindh was annexed in 1843 under the guidance of Charles Napier.
  • He abolished slavery in 1843.

Lord Dalhousie (1848–56):

  • He abolished Titles and Pensions.
  • Under him the Widow Remarriage Act was passed in 1856.
  • He made Shimla the summer capital for British.
  • Under his tenure Gurkha regiments were raised.
  • He recommended the Thomsonian system of Vernacular education for the North western Provinces in 1853.
  • Charles Wood’s Educational Despatch of 1854 was passed which led to the opening of Anglo-Vernacular Schools and Government Colleges in India.
  • An Engineering College was established at Roorkee under him.

Lord Dalhousie (1848–56):

  • He is credited with the introduction of the first railway line in 1853 (connecting Bombay with Thane).
  • He also started the first electric telegraph service.
  • He is credited for laying down the basis of the modern postal system (1854).
  • A separate public works department was set up for the first time under him.
  • He introduced the infamous Doctrine of Lapse.
  • He was involved in the 2nd Anglo-Sikh War (1848–49) and as a result annexed the whole of the Punjab in 1849.
  • He was also involved in the 2nd Anglo-Burmese War (1852) and annexation of Lower Burma or Pegu.
  • Under him Berar and Awadh were also annexed on charges of maladministration.

Governor Generals and Viceroys (1858–1947)

Lord Canning (1856–62):

  • He was the last Governor General and the first Viceroy of India.
  • Under him the Revolt of 1857 took place. As a result, he passed the Act of 1858, which ended the rule of the East India Company.
  • He withdrew Doctrine of Lapse. Mutiny took place in his time.
  • The Indian Councils Act of 1862 was passed under him, which proved to be a landmark in the constitutional history of India.
  • Under his tenure the Indian Penal Code of Criminal Procedure (1859) was passed, the Indian High Court Act (1861) was enacted and income tax was introduced for the first time in 1858.
  • The Universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras founded in 1857.

Sir John Lawrence (1864–69):

  • Telegraphic communication was opened with Europe under him.
  • High Courts were established at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in 1865.
  • He expanded canal works and railways in India.
  • Under him, the Indian Forest Department was created and the native Judicial service was recognized.

Lord Mayo (1869–72):

  • He introduced financial decentralization in India.
  • He established Rajkot College at Kathiarwar and Mayo College at Ajmer for the princes.
  • Under him, the Statistical Survey of India was organized.
  • He also established the Department of Agriculture & Commerce.
  • He was the only Viceroy to be murdered in office by a Pathan convict in Andamans in 1872.
  • Under him, State Railways were introduced and a census was held in 1871, for the first time in Indian history

Lord Lytton (1876–80):

  • He arranged the Grand Darbar in Delhi (in 1877) when the country was suffering from a severe famine.
  • He passed the Royal Title Act (1876) and presented Queen Victoria with the title of the Kaisar-i-Hind.
  • Under him the Arms Act (1878) was passed which made mandatory for Indians to acquire license for arms.
  • He passed the infamous Vernacular Press Act (1878) that put restrictions on vernacular publishers.
  • He proposed the plan of Statutory Civil Service in 1878-79 and lowered the maximum age limit from 21 to 19 years.

Lord Ripon (1880–84):

  • He repealed the Vernacular Press Act, 1882.
  • Under him the First Factory Act of 1881 was passed, to improve labor conditions in India.
  • Hunter Commission (for education reforms) was appointed under him in 1882.
  • The Ilbert Bill controversy erupted during his time under which Indian district magistrates were given the power to try European criminals. But this was withdrawn later.

Lord Dufferin (1884–88):

During his tenure the Indian National Congress in was established in 1885.

Lord Lansdowne (1888–94):

  • Under him the second Factory Act of 1891 was passed.
  • He categorized the Civil Services into imperial, provincial and subordinate.
  • The Indian Council Act of 1892 (introduced elections which was indirect) was passed under him.
  • Appointment of the Durand Commission to define the line between British India and Afghanistan (1893) was also under Lansdowne.

Lord Curzon (1899–1905):

He appointed a Police Commission in 1902 under Andrew Frazer-• He also set up the Universities Commission and according to it the Indian.

Universities Act of 1904 was passed.

  • He set up the Department of Commerce and Industry.
  • The Calcutta Corporation Act (1899), the Indian Coinage and Paper Currency Act (in 1899) were passed under him.
  • The partition of Bengal took place in 1905 under him.
  • He created North West Frontier Provinces and the Archaeological Survey of India.

Lord Minto II (1905–10):

  • His tenure faced the Swadeshi Movement (1905–08). The foundation of the Muslim League in1906 was also under his tenure.
  • The Newspapers Act, 1908 and Morley-Minto Reforms, 1909 were passed under him.

Lord Hardinge (1910–16):

  • Annulment of the partition of Bengal (1911) done under his tenure.
  • The capital was transferred from Calcutta to Delhi (1911).
  • The Delhi Darbar and Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary took place in 1911.

Lord Chelmsford (1916–21):

  • Government of India Act (1919) and the repressive Rowlatt Act (1919) passed under him.
  • Jallianwala Bagh Massacre took place in 1919.
  • Saddler Commission (1917) was formulated to look into the functioning of the University of Calcutta.
  • An Indian Sir S. P. Sinha was appointed Governor of Bengal.

Lord Reading (1921–26):

  • Criminal Law Amendment Act and abolition of cotton excise was done.
  • The Press Act of 1910 & Rowlatt Act of 1919 was repealed.
  • He suppressed non-cooperation movement.

Lord Irwin (1926–31):

  • Simon Commission announced in 1927 under his tenure.
  • Other important developments were: Butler Commission (1927); Nehru Report (1928); 14 points of Jinnah (1929); Lahore session of Congress and ‘Poorna Swaraj’ declaration (1929); Civil Disobedience Movement (1930); Dandhi march (1930); Ist Round Table Conference (1930); Gandhi-Irwin Pact (1931).

Lord Willingdon (1931–36):

  • Important events under his tenure include: 2nd Round Table Conference (1931); Civil Disobedience Movement (1932); Announcement of MacDonald’s Communal Award (1932); 3rd Round Table Conference; Foundation of Congress Socialist Party-CSP (1934); Government of India Act (1935); Poona Pact was signed.
  • Burma separated from India in 1935 under Willingdon.

Lord Linlithgow (1936–43):

Important events under his tenure include: ‘Deliverance Day’ by Muslim League in 1939; Foundation of Forward Block by S.C. Bose (1939); Lahore Resolution (1940); August Offer (1940); Cripps Mission (1942); Quit India Movement (1942) and the outbreak of Second World War in 1939.

Lord Wavell (1943–1947):

  • Under Wavell’s tenure significant events include: C.R. Formula 1944; Wavell Plan and Shimla Conference in 1945; End of 2nd World War in 1945; INA Trials in 1945; Naval mutiny in 1946; Cabinet Mission, 1946; Direct Action Day by the Muslim League on 16th August, 1946 and first meeting of the constituent assembly which was held on Dec. 9, 1946.

Lord Mountbatten (March–August 1947):

  • Under him the Indian Independence Bill was introduced in the house of Commons and passed by the British Parliament on July 4, 1947
  • The appointment of 2 boundary commissions under Sir Radcliffe happened.

Governor Generals of Independent India (1947–50)

Lord Mountbatten (1947–48):

  • He was the first Governor General of free India.
  • Under his tenure Kashmir was acceded to India (Oct. 1947) and Gandhi was murdered on Jan. 30, 1948.

C. Rajagopalachari (June 1948–January 25, 1950):

He was the last Governor General of free India and the only Indian Governor-General.