By 1857, India - in whole or in part - had been under the rule of the British East India Company (on behalf of the Crown) for nearly a century. The assumption of British rule over this vast, diverse territory was not without the bloodshed and anguish that marked the era of imperialism.
The simmering anger at British rule is symbolized best by the rebellion of 1857. On 10 May of that year, sepoys in the town of Meerut mutinied against the Company. This was swiftly followed by other rebellions and uprisings across the country, but mainly in northern and central India. The rebellion against the British was not a unanimous uprising: many Indians fought for the British, and wholesale destruction laid waste to cities like Delhi and Lucknow.
Cruelty was widespread on both sides, and British reprisals after the fact confirmed the original grievances of many that had taken part. After the rebels were defeated, in 1858, the East India Company was disestablished and direct rule was formed, leading to the creation of the British Raj.
Photographer: Painting by Orlando Noire
Location taken: India
Source: The Spectator
- 1857-05-10 Indian Mutiny against rule by the British East India Company begins with the revolt of the Sepoy soldiers in Meerut
- 1859-02-10 General Horsford defeats Begum of Oude and Nana Sahib in Indian Mutiny