Governors, Generals & Viceroys of India

This article will help you to know the complete details of the Governor General and Viceroy of India from the year 1772 to 1947. It also covers the important achievements and events that took place during their time.

First governor general of British India was LORD WILLIAM BENTINCK.

  • Charter act of 1833 made the Governor General of Bengal as the Governor General of India. And first such one was LORD WILLIAM BENTINCK.
  • LORD WARREN HASTINGS was the first Governor general of Bengal. Many confuse Warren Hastings as first governor general of India.
  • And in 1858 after the Revolt of 1857, the British government enacted an act called Act for the Good Government of India.
  • By this act, the designation of the Governor General of India was changed to the VICEROY OF INDIA.
  • And the first such VICEROY OF INDIA was LORD CANNING.

List of Governors, Generals & Viceroys of India before Independence:

S.N.Name
(birth-death)
Took officeLeft officeHappenings
1Warren Hastings
(1732–1818)
20 October 17731 February 1785» Regulating Act of 1773 which ended
the dual government of Bengal.» Supreme Court at Calcutta» Asiatic Society of Bengal

» English Translation of Bhagwat Gita

» Stopped Mughal pension to Shah Alam II

» Stopped Diarchy in Bengal

» New Sanskrit School by Jonathan Deccan

2Sir John Macpherson
(acting)
(1745–1821)
1 February 178512 September 1786» He held the post temporarily
3The Earl Cornwallis
(1738–1805)
12 September 178628 October 1793»Established lower courts and appellate courts

»Sanskrit College established by Jonathan Duncan

»Permanent Settlement in Bihar and Bengal in 1793

» Introduction of Cornwallis Code

» Introduction of Civil Services in India

4Sir John Shore
(1751–1834)
28 October 179318 March 1798» Policy of Non-intervention

» Charter Act of 1793

5Sir Alured Clarke
(acting)
(1744–1832)
18 March 179818 May 1798» He held the post temporarily
6The Marquess Wellesley
(1760–1842)
18 May 179830 July 1805»Introduction of Subsidiary Alliance

» He opened College to train the Company’s servants in Calcutta.

» Fourth Anglo-Mysore War 1799

» Fort William College at Calcutta

» Formation of Madras Presidency in 1801

7The Marquess Cornwallis
(1738–1805)
30 July 18055 October 1805» He held the post temporarily
8Sir George Barlow, Bt
(acting)
(1762–1847)
10 October 180531 July 1807» Sepoy Mutiny at Vellore in which the Indian soldiers
killed many English officials
9The Lord Minto
(1751–1814)
31 July 18074 October 1813» Charter Act of 1813

» Treaty of Amritsar, 1809 with Ranjit Singh

10The Marquess of Hastings
(1754–1826)
4 October 18139 January 1823»Ended the policy of Non-intervention

» Third Anglo-Maratha War (1816-1818)

»Creation of Bombay Presidency in 1818

»Establishment of Ryotwari System in Madras

11John Adam
(acting)
(1779–1825)
9 January 18231 August 1823» Licensing Regulations
12The Lord Amherst
(1773–1857)
1 August 182313 March 1828» Treaty of Yandabo, 1826

» First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–26)

» Mutiny of Barrackpur (1824)

13William Butterworth Bayley
(acting)
(1782–1860)
13 March 18284 July 1828» He held the post temporarily
14Lord William Bentinck
(1774–1839)
4 July 182820 March 1835» Was known as the liberal Governor General and he is the First Governor General of India.
» Bengal Sati Regulation, 1829
» Charter Act, 1833
»  Saint Helena Act 1833
» English Education Act 1835»  Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata
»  Carried out social reforms such as the abolition of Sati Pratha with the help of Rajaram Mohan Roy, Suppression of Thuggee.
»  Made English as the language of higher education
» Suppressed female infanticide and child sacrifice
15Sir Charles Metcalfe, Bt
(acting)
(1785–1846)
20 March 18354 March 1836» Repealed 1823 Licensing Regulations
» He held the post temporarily and removed the
restriction on the Vernacular press
16The Lord Auckland
(1784–1849)
4 March 183628 February 1842» First Afghan War was fought in his reign.
17The Lord Ellenborough
(1790–1871)
28 February 1842June 1844 

» Successfully completed Afghan war and annexed Sindh province for British in 1843.
» Became first Governor General of India to be recalled for defying the orders of the Court of Directors of East India Company.
» War with Gwalior (1843) occurred during his tenure.

18William Wilberforce Bird
(acting)
(1784–1857)
June 184423 July 1844» He held the post temporarily
19Sir Henry Hardinge
(1785–1856)
23 July 184412 January 1848The First Anglo-Sikh War (1845–46)
» The Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848–49)
» Treaty of Lahore
20The Marquess of Dalhousie
(1812–1860)
12 January 184828 February 1856» Doctrine of Lapse

» Charles Wood Dispatch

»1st Railway line connecting Bombay and Thane

» Post Office Act, 1854

»Established Public Works Department

»Engineering College was established at Roorkee

21Charles John Canning, also known as The Viscount Canning
(1812–1862)
28 February 185621 March 1862» The first Earl Canning.

»University of Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras were set up in 1857.

» The revolt of 1857.

»The Government of India Act, 1858.

»Withdrew Doctrine of Lapse.

» Hindu widow remarriage act 1856.

»  Indian council act was passed in 1861

22The Earl of Elgin
(1811–1863)
21 March 186220 November 1863» Wahabi movement occurred during his tenure and get suppressed
23Sir Robert Napier
(acting)
(1810–1890)
21 November 18632 December 1863» He held the post temporarily
24Sir William Denison
(acting)
(1804–1871)
2 December 186312 January 1864» He held the post temporarily
25Sir John Lawrence, Bt
(1811–1879)
12 January 186412 January 1869»Telegraphic communication was opened with Europe.

»High Courts were established at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in 1865.

»Created the Indian Forest Department.

26The Earl of Mayo
(1822–1872)
12 January 18698 February 1872»Started the process of financial decentralization in India.

»For the first time in Indian history, a census was held in 1871.

»Organised the Statistical Survey of India.

»Was the only Viceroy to be murdered in office by a Pathan convict in the Andamans in 1872.

27Sir John Strachey
(acting)
(1823–1907)
9 February 187223 February 1872» He held the post temporarily
28The Lord Napier
(acting)
(1819–1898)
24 February 18723 May 1872» He held the post temporarily
29The Lord Northbrook
(1826–1904)
3 May 187212 April 1876 

» Visit of Prince of Wales in 1875 occurred
» Trial of Gaelcwar of Baroda occurred
»  Kuka movement in Punjab occurred during his tenure

30The Lord Lytton
(1831–1891)
12 April 18768 June 1880» Known as the Viceroy to reverse characters.

»Organised the Grand ‘Delhi Durbar’ in 1877 to decorate Queen Victoria with the title of ‘Kaiser I Hind’.

»Arms act (1878) made it mandatory for Indians to acquire license for arms.

»Passed the infamous Vernacular Press act (1878).

31The Marquess of Ripon
(1827–1909)
8 June 188013 December 1884»Liberal person, who sympathized with Indians.

»Repeated the Vernacular Press act (1882)

»Passed the local self government act (1882)

»Took steps to improve primary & secondary education (on William Hunter Commission’s recommendations).

»The I Factory act, 1881, aimed at prohibiting child labour.

»Passed the liberty Bill (1883) which enabled Indian district magistrates to try European criminals. But this was withdrawn later.

32The Earl of Dufferin
(1826–1902)
13 December 188410 December 1888»Indian National Congress was formed during his tenure.
33The Marquess of Lansdowne
(1845–1927)
10 December 188811 October 1894»II Factory act (1891) granted a weekly holiday and stipulated working hours for women and children, although it failed to address concerns such as work hours for men.

»Categorization of Civil Services into Imperial, Provincial and Subordinate.

»Indian Council act of 1892 was passed.

»Appointment of Durand Commission to define the line between British India and Afghanistan.

34The Earl of Elgin
(1849–1917)
11 October 18946 January 1899»Great famine of (1896 – 1897)

»Lyall Commission was appointed.

35The Lord Curzon of Kedleston
(1859–1925)
6 January 189918 November 1905»Passed the Indian Universities act (1904) in which official control over the Universities was increased.

»Partitioned Bengal (October 16, 1905) into two provinces Bengal (proper) & East Bengal & Assam.

»Appointed a Police Commission under Sir Andrew Frazer to enquire into the police administration of every province.

»The risings of the frontier tribes in 1897 – 98 led him to create the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP).

»Passed the Ancient Monuments Protection Act (1904), to restore India’s cultural heritage. Thus the Archaeological Survey of India was established.

»Passed the Indian Coinage and Paper Currency act (1899) and put India on a gold standard.

»Extended railways to a great extent.

36The Earl of Minto
(1845–1914)
18 November 190523 November 1910»There was great political unrest in India. Various acts were passed to curb the revolutionary activities. Extremists like Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh (in May, 1907) and Bal Gangadhar Tilak (in July, 1908) were sent to Mandalay jail in Burma.

»The Indian Council act of 1909 or the Morley Minto Reforms was passed.

37The Lord Hardinge of Penshurst
(1858–1944)
23 November 19104       April 1916»Held a durbar in December, 1911 to celebrate the coronation of King George V.

»Partition of Bengal was cancelled (1911), capital shifted from Calcutta to Delhi (1911).

»A bomb was thrown at him; but he escaped unhurt (December 23, 1912).

»Gandhi ji came back to India from South Africa (1915).

»Annie Besant announced the Home Rule Movement.

38The Lord Chelmsford
(1868–1933)
4 April 19162       April 1921»August Declaration of 1917, whereby control over the Indian government would be gradually transferred to the Indian people.

»The government of India act in 1919 (Montague Chelmsford reforms) was passed.

»Rowlatt act of 1919; Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (April 13, 1919).

»Non Cooperation Movement.

»An Indian Sir S.P.Sinha was appointed the Governor of Bengal.

»A Women’s university was founded at Poona in 1916.

»Saddler Commission was appointed in 1917 to envisage new educational policy.

39The Earl of Reading
(1860–1935)
2 April 19213       April 1926»Rowlatt act was repeated along with the Press act of 1910.

»Suppressed non – cooperation movement.

»Prince of Wales visited India in November, 1921.

»Moplah rebellion (1921) took place in Kerala.

»Ahmedabad session of 1921.

»Formation of Swaraj Party.

»Vishwabharati University started functioning in 1922.

»Communist part was founded in 1921 by M.N. Roy.

»Kakory Train Robbery on August 9, 1925.

»Communal riots of 1923 – 25 in Multan, Amritsar, Delhi, etc.

»Swami Shraddhanand, a great nationalist and a leader of the Arya Samajists, was murdered in communal orgy.

40The Lord Irwin
(1881–1959)
3 April 192618 April 1931»Simon Commission visited India in 1928.

»Congress passed the Indian Resolution in 1929.

»Dandi March (March 12, 1930).

»Civil Disobedience Movement (1930).

»First Round Table Conference held in England in 1930.

»Gandhi Irwin Pact (March 5, 1931) was signed and Civil Disobediance Movement was withdrawn.

»Martydorm of Jatin Das after 64 days hunger strike (1929).

41The Earl of Willingdon
(1866–1941)
18 April 193118   pril 1936»Second Round Table conference in London in 1931.

»On his return Gandhi ji was again arrested and Civil Disobedience Movement was resumed in January, 1932.

»Communal Awards (August 16, 1932) assigned seats to different religious communities. Gandhi ji went on a epic fast in protest against this division.

»Third Round Table conference in 1932.

»Poona Pact was signed.

»Government of India act (1935) was passed

42The Marquess of Linlithgow
(1887–1952)
18 April 19361      October 1943»Government of India act enforced in the provinces. Congress ministries formed in 8 out of 11 provinces. They remained in power for about 2 years till October 1939, when they gave up offices on the issue of India having been dragged into the II World War. The Muslim League observed the days as ‘Deliverance Say’ (22 December)

»Churchill became the British PM in May, 1940. He declared that the Atlantic Charter (issued jointly by the UK and US, stating to give sovereign rights to those who have been forcibly deprived of them) does not apply to India.

»Outbreak of World War II in 1939.

»Cripps Mission in 1942.

»Quit India Movement (August 8, 1942).

43Lord Wavell, also known as The Viscount Wavell
(1883–1950)
1 October 194321   February 1947»Arranged the Shimla Conference on June 25, 1945 with Indian National Congress and Muslim League; failed.

»Cabinet Mission Plan (May 16, 1946).

»Elections to the constituent assembly were held and an Interim Government was appointed under Nehru.

»First meeting of the constituent assembly was held on December 9, 1946.

44Lord Mountbatten, also known as The Viscount Mountbatten of Burma
(1900–1979)
21 February 194721 June 1948»Last Viceroy of British India and the first Governor General of free India.

»Partition of India decided by the June 3 Plan.

»Indian Independence Act passed by the British parliament on July 4, 1947, by which India became independent on August 15, 1947.

»Retried in June 1948 and was succeeded by C. Rajagopalachari (the first and the last Indian Governor General of free India).

45C. Rajagopalachari
(1878–1972)
21 June 194826 January 1950» The last and the only Indian Governor-General of India.

 

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