History – Governor Generals and Viceroys

Delhi Law Academy

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Governor-Generals of India

The Governor-General of India was the head of the British administration in India.

This office was created in 1773, with the title of Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William. This officer had direct control only over Fort William, but supervised other British East India Company officials in India. Complete authority over whole of British India was granted in 1833, and the official became known as the Governor-General of India.

To reflect the Governor-General’s role as the representative of the monarch to the feudal rulers of princely states, from 1858, the term Viceroy and Governor-General of India (known in short as the Viceroy of India) was applied to him.

The title of Viceroy was abandoned when India and Pakistan gained their independence in 1947, but the office of Governor-General continued to exist in both new dominions until they adopted republican constitutions in 1950 and 1956 respectively.

Governors-General of Fort William in Bengal (Regulating Act of 1773)

Term Name
1773 – 1785 Warren Hastings
1786 – 1793 Lord Charles Cornwallis
1793 – 1798 Sir John Shore
1798 – 1805 Lord Arthur Wellesley
1805 – 1807 Sir George Barlow
1807 – 1813 Lord Minto I
1813 – 1823 Lord Hastings
1823 – 1828 Lord Amherst
1828 – 1833 Lord Bentinck

 

 Governors-General of India, Charter Act of 1833

Term Name
1833 – 1835 Lord William Bentinck
1835 – 1836 Lord Metcalfe
1836 – 1842 Lord Auckland
1842 – 1844 Lord Ellenborough
1844 – 1848 Lord Hardinge I
1848 – 1856 Lord Dalhousie
1856 – 1858 Lord Canning
(on Nov 1 1858 he became the first Viceroy of British India)

 

Viceroys

From 1858 to 1947 India was informally known as the British Raj

Term Name
1858 – 1862 Lord Canning
1862 – 1863 Lord Elgin I
1864 – 1869 Lord Lawrence
1869 – 1872 Lord Mayo
1872 – 1876 Lord Northbrook
1876 – 1880 Lord Lytton
1880 – 1884 Lord Ripon
1884 – 1888 Lord Dufferin,
1888 – 1894 Lord Lansdowne
1894 – 1899 Lord Elgin II
1899 – 1905 Lord Curzon
1905-1910 Lord Minto II
1910 – 1916 Lord Hardinge II
1916 – 1921 Lord Chelmsford
1921 – 1926 Lord Reading
1926 – 1931 Lord Irwin
1931 – 1936 Lord Willingdon
1936 – 1944 Lord Linlithgow
1944 – 1947 Lord Wavell
1947 – 1948 Lord Mountbatten