Modern South Asia

A timeline to accompany HIST 1160

1600-12-31 00:00:00

East India Company

Queen Elizabeth I grants the East India Company a charter to trade in the east.

1608-08-28 00:00:00

Landing at Surat

William Hawkins becomes the first commander of the East India Company to land in Surat, India.

1739-07-02 05:21:10

Invasion of Mughal Empire

Nader Shah of Persia invades the Mughal empire with over 50,000 men.

1756-09-01 00:00:00

East India Company

First serious territorial conquests beginning in Bengal. 47 years later, the company expanded as far north as Delhi and almost all of India south of the city.

1756-12-01 00:00:00

East India Company Territorial Expansion Begins

The East India Company began its first territorial conflicts in Bengal. Over the course of the next 50 years their reach expanded as far as the capital of Delhi. Troops in 1803: 260,000 Men

1757-06-23 00:00:00

Battle of Plassey

Enter story info here

1765-08-01 00:00:00

Treaty of Allahabad

In August of 1765, Shah Alam released control of Bengal to Robert Clive, an official of the East India Company. Clive became governor of Bengal. From then on, Mughal taxes were collected by a foreign corporation and the East India Company transitioned from a merchant corporation to a colonial power.

1765-08-01 00:00:00

Treaty of Allabahad

The British East India Company, under the direction of Robert Clive, forced the involuntary privatization of Shah Alam after he was defeated and exiled from New Delhi.

1769-01-01 00:00:00

Famine of 1769

Shortly after the East India Country took over control of modern day India, the people, already devastated by war, were struck by a terrible famine. Following this, the indigenous people were "then further ruined by high taxation". Considered to be a complete violation to human right, casted upon by the European settlers.

1769-01-01 00:00:00

Bengal Suffers Famine

During the East India Company's reign in Bengal, the province suffers from a devastating famine. This augments already established suffering due to war and unreasonable taxation.

1771-12-31 00:00:00

Triangle Trade

The triangle trade involved the British Dutch East India Company cultivating opium in India to send to China to purchase Chinese tea, to send back to Britain to "keep the workers of the Industrial Revolution going"

1772-09-01 00:00:00

Hastings as Governor-General

The East India companies appoints Warren Hastings as the governor general of its' territories in the east. Hastings established a capital for the company's territories and structured a government. This is the first time we see the organization of political rule by the Company but also a point in time where we see the British government trying to intervene with the Company's affairs, by giving Hastings the title of 'governor-general.'

1773-12-17 00:00:00

East India Company Falls Into Massive Debt

After a year of poor collections in land revenues from Bengal, the East India Company faced debts cumulating up to 1.5 million pounds and 1 million pounds in unpaid taxes.

1780-12-31 00:00:00

Tipu Sultan's Mysore

Tipu fought the British to a draw in the 1780's but was ultimately defeated in 1799. For the British, he was considered the model of an Oriental despot.

1784-09-05 00:00:00

Asiatic Society of Bengal

Hastings created the Asiatic Society of Bengal, under the leadership of Sir William Jones. The society dedicated itself to the study of the religious and cosmological texts of Indian antiquity.

1784-12-01 00:00:00

Foundation of the Asciatic Society of Bengal

This society which was placed under the leadership of William Jones involved a collaboration between Indian Pundits and British Scholars. The primary goal of the organization was to investigate ancient Indian religious and cosmological texts and determine a history for India. One of the major discoveries that was made by this organization involved the fact that Sanskrit, Latin, and Greek all share a central root from which they emerged. - Metcalf Chapter 3

1788-02-13 00:00:00

Britain Reprimands EIC

Impeachment of Warren Hastings- A time when we see the intersection of British government and the EIC. The government steps in to impeach a British 'nabob' whose actions were seen as corrupt and detrimental to British reputation and honor. Not a form of discipline and restraint that is often discussed in the British takeover of India.

1800-01-01 00:00:00

Muslims vs. Hindus

British censuses were not the only things that contributed to an India increasingly divided by religion. The 19th century was an age of extreme Muslim reform movements. Muslims fought against the concepts of their religion that connected them to Hinduism (namely vegetarianism, consultation of Brahmins), and instead focused on how Islam differed. P. Hardy, in his book, mentions that "India could be made by the reformers to feel not like a home, but like a habitat." What incentive does this give the large Muslim population in India to fight on India's behalf as time goes on?

1813-01-01 00:00:00

Regulation of Sati

Before this, sati-the sacrifice of a widow on her husband's funeral pyre-was an unregulated religious act throughout India, but concentrated in Bengal around the city of Calcutta. This regulation was the result of a continuing conflict over the morality of the practice. This made sati legal on the basis that it was a voluntary act, among other criterion.

1813-09-01 00:00:00

End of Company's Monopoly

In response to pressure from British merchants, Parliament ended the East India Company's trade monopoly with India. After this, the balance of trade between India and British began shifting into one of a traditional colonial trade system in which raw materials were exported from India and finished products were imported from Britain. Thus, Indians became increasingly reliant on the British.

1818-07-03 07:37:46

Great Trigonometrical Survey

A geographical survey of India conducted in order to better map out the land. As the British East India trading company began to take political control over the nation, they wanted to educate themselves on the land and the people's ways to benefit themselves. However, the 1,500 mile survey ended up showing the British's scientific prowess more than it benefited them economically.

1820-09-01 00:00:00

Opium Production Increase

The Company greatly increases poppy production in Bengal, leading to a massive increase in opium production. Between 1820 and 1830, opium exports to China triple.

1820-12-31 00:00:00

Decline of South Asia's Capitalist Economy

The entire world felt the affects of this depression, but it was especially detrimental to South Asia because of problems that arose from British colonialism. During this time, Indians were forced to buy English manufactured goods because they were cheaper than Indian goods, Indians were forced to export many of their goods to China for British profit, and several established cultural groups that had served as the center of Indian livelihood and success were broken off by the British. These things are significant in that they shape a universally accepted view of India that exists today, the view that India is a nation of traditionalist culture that hasn't recovered from British rule. India was one of the most progressive and capitalistic places in the world before British colonialism, but the depression of the 1820's-1850's gave it a certain stigma, and made it little but the unfortunate leftovers of a British empire.

1821-01-01 00:00:00

Opium Becomes Commodity

Prior to 1821, the main import of the triangular trade was tea to Britain. In this year, the import of opium to China became the new staple of foreign trade. It was worth 9 million Spanish dollars in comparison to the 8.4 million dollar worth of Chinese tea.

1825-09-04 00:00:00

Dadabhai Naoroji

Indian nationalist and critic of British economic policy in India. He was a professor of math and philosophy in Bombay before turning to politics and a career in commerce that took him to England, where he spent much of his life. In 1892 he was elected Liberal member of Parliament for Central Finsbury, London. He argued that India was too highly taxed and that its wealth was being drained away to England.

1825-12-31 00:00:00

Dadabhai Naoroji

Indian politician who lived during the British movement. Coined the 'drain of wealth' theory, a statement that bravely incinuated that the British quite literally and figuratively drained India's economy for a number of reasons.

1829-01-01 00:00:00

British Abolition of Sati

Major movement for women in India, especially for those in upper class

1829-12-04 00:00:00

Abolition of Sati

As acting governor-general, one of Lord William Bentinck's first acts was to regulate the act of Sati in British India. Sati is described as the practice of immolation of a Hindu wife following the death of her husband.

1830-06-01 10:52:55

Rammohun Publishes Pamphlet Emphasizing Elimination of Sati

Rammohun Roy’s primary arguments in this pamphlet are based on the scriptures such as the Manu. His first argument is that the Vedas claim that becoming an ascetic widow is the preferred and more spiritual action than committing Sati. The reason for Sati’s inferiority is due to its “means to obtain carnal fruition.” His other arguments emphasize the widow’s right to live with her natal or marital family. - Mani 135

1830-10-05 00:00:00

Economy Trumps Religious Unity

We have seen stories of Indian infighting as a result of varying religious views. But, in 1830, we see something different. Saiyid Ahmad took over Peshawar in the year 1830. In 1831, local Pathans in Peshawar killed Ahmad and 600 of his allies. The Pathans were Islamic like Ahmad, and both Pathans and Ahmad's followers had a shared 'enemy' in the British, but nevertheless Pathans resisted outsider control and originally took their grievances out on Ahmad's tax collectors. Ahmad wasn't exactly on a path to Indian unification here, but this is an example of economic consolidation turning peoples of the same religion on each other. How were the Indians supposed to form a united front against the British if they couldn't reconcile differences among themselves?

1830-12-01 00:00:00

Jute Handcrafting Flourishes

During this time period, the handicraft sector of Indian jute production expanded substantially. This was one of several examples of small-scale production thriving in the wake of the industrial revolution, challenging the common assumption that the industrialization of a country necessarily leads to the factory system. This supports Chandavarkar's claim that Indian economic development was unique.

1837-12-31 00:00:00

Orphans of Sikandra

During the year 1837, there was a major drought that resulted in the deaths of many families. The orphans from this drought were taken up by Christian missionaries and converted to Christianity. While the missionaries had good intentions, the Indian people did not like the intrusion of these foreign powers onto their own culture and religion. This was one of the first causes of the rebellion of 1857.

1838-09-06 17:19:49

Birth of Maharaja Sir Duleep Singh

Maharaja Sir Duleep Singh, son of Ranjit Singh, was the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire. He is recognized as the "Black Prince of Perthshire" and famously known for his exile to the British Crown and the effects that had on him.

1839-01-01 00:00:00

Death of Ranjit Singh

Ranjit Singh was responsible for banding various Sikh tribes together, thereby promoting prosperity in the Punjab. As a product of his actions, Panjab enjoyed the protection of a large (20,000 infantry; 4,000 cavalry) and disciplined army. Only with the onset of his death did the British begin their movements in lands along and west of the Indus.

1839-05-17 13:48:19

First Afghan War

British East India Company fights Afghanistan, primarily due to their desire for control over the Hindu Kush mountain range. Afghanistan triumphed over the British East India Company in a crushing defeat.

1855-01-01 00:00:00

The First Jute Mill

George Acland, a former coffee planter from Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), constructed the first jute mill in India. Despite his supposed market-experience, Acland's jute mill failed to realize expected success. In fact, it wasn't until the 1870s that the jute industry really began to grow.

1856-05-28 20:51:25

Passing of General Service Enlistment Act

This Act required sepoys to serve at whatever post they were appointed to. This created extreme animosity from the sepoys towards the British, and was a contributing factory to the rebellion of 1857.

1856-07-09 16:31:57

Awadh Revolt: A Heroic Failure

Upset by the British officials' unfavorable summary of their revenues, the Talukdar magnates started building hostile feelings towards the British rule in Awadh. This distaste of the British was only greatened by the laying off of thousands of soldiers. While the revolt did damage the British force in Awadh, it was a regional conflict and did not result in dealing with the British presence in the national level.

1857-01-31 00:00:00

Indigo Riots

The Indigo Riots were a series of riots started by Indigo farmers due to their unjust treatment by the Indigo planters in the region. These farmers were encouraged to grow Indigo instead of food crops by the planters. Eventually this led to the farmers taking out loans to buy food, which was at an interest rate that indebted them for life. The planters only gave Indigo farmers 2.5% of the actual value of the crop. All of these factors led to the revolt by these farmers on the planters that were abusing them.

1857-05-01 00:00:00

Emperor Bahadur Shah Leads Revolt

Emperor Bahadur Shah was finally persuaded to lead the rebelling troops, who marched from Meerut to Delhi. Because of his authority, unhappy Mughal followers joined the rebellion, such as Nawab Walidad Khan. He essentially reinforced the strength of the rebellion by hunting the forces under one reliable ruler. This then began the series of connected revolts throughout northern India Source: Bayly, p. 180

1857-05-01 00:00:00

Indian Rebellion of 1857

The rebellion began as a mutiny of sepoys of the EIC's army on 10 May 1857. The conflict soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India. The rebellion is also known as "India's First War of Independence."

1857-06-01 00:00:00

Nana Sahib Joins Rebellion

Nana Sahib was the adopted son of Baji Rao II, the last Maratha peshwa. With the British denying the extension of his father's pension to him, Sahib had incentive to stand against the British. Reports from Sahib's agents, which claimed the British were poor in military strength, coerced his participation in the rebellion. Sahib joined with the rebel battalion in Kanpur at the onset of June 1857.

1857-06-05 00:00:00

Siege of Cawnpore

The siege of Cawnpore was a demonstration of the brutality exhibited by the Indian rebels. With a promise of safety from Nana Sahib, the British garrison in Cawnpore was quick to surrender. However, Sahib overturned his promise, firing at the British as they attempted to flee on boats. The resulting causalities were not limited to soldiers, as nearly 400 British women and children were killed. (Source: Metcalf, p.103; Specific dates provided by the linked article.)

1857-06-23 00:00:00

Nana Sahib and Siege of Cawnpore

This Indian aristocrat from the southern region of Maratha was vital in the Cawnpore rebellion. His primary motivation for becoming a rebel involved Dalhousie’s doctrine of lapse and the fact that he had been adopted. He is famous for an act of military savagery where he fired on the Cawnpore garrison who were promised safe passage. Concise History - Pg103

1857-07-01 00:00:00

Clemency Proclamation

The Clemency Proclamation was an unofficial plea by the governor-general Lord Canning to end the savage fighting between Indian rebels and the British. As a response to revolt in Delhi, Lucknow, and Cawnpore, British troops and even civilians terrorized the countryside, randomly killing Indians. Correspondingly, Nana Sahib attacked British troops who had already surrendered to him, massacring 400 soldiers and civilians, women and children included.

1857-07-17 00:00:00

A Holy War

A Muslim leader conducts an attack with soldiers from Rohilla (a city in North India) and bazaar people on the British Residency in Delhi. This prompted several other revolts and munities in Northern India. However, Chieftains from Hyderabad refrained from joining in these revolts, seeing the revolts as largely Marathan in origin, and seeing themselves as tribal enemies to the Marathas. This is an important intersection of religious and cultural conflict that weakens the success of anti-British military action.

1857-07-19 05:19:13

Sayyid Ahmad Khan

Sayyid Ahmad Khan was an Indian official who served the Raj. He remained loyal to the British during the sepoy rebellion, helping many Europeans seek refuge during the uprisings. He has argued that the mutiny was triggered by a series of factors including many of Great Britain's policies.

1857-09-01 00:00:00

Nana Sahib

One of several Maratha Chiefs who claimed leadership of the 1857 uprising. Notably, he promised safe passage to a British garrison that surrendered at Cawnpore, but ambushed them and killed women and children in the attack. He contributed to prolonging the fighting in central India but eventually ceased resistance in mid-1858.

1857-09-17 10:48:54

Sayyid Ahmad Khan

Sayyid Khan remained loyal to the British during the revolt. However, his insight is important in understanding the multi-dimensional causes of Indian revolt. He reminded the world that the revolt was not an isolated incident of Indian mutiny, but rather a culmination of grievances relating to a general lack of representation, skyrocketing revenue taxes, and an overwhelming sense that Indian culture was becoming decimated by British rule.

1857-12-31 00:00:00

Nana Sahib

Nana Sahib was a Maratha leader who led the Cawnpore (Kanpur) rebellion in 1875. He provided one of the most extreme instances of Indian violence during the rebellion, massacring 400 British, including women and children.

Modern South Asia

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