British India 1858-1885

The SEPOY REBELLION of 1857-1858 had driven the East India Company into bankrupcy. The British government took over her debts and assets; British India became a CROWN COLONY. The capital was moved from Calcutta to NEW DELHI in 1876, on the occasion of Queen Victoria's coronation as Empress of India. British India was governed by a GOVERNOR (VICEROY), who was advised by the COUNCIL OF INDIA, the members of which were appointed.

The OPENING OF THE SUEZ CANAL in 1869 and steamship technology consideravy improved communication and trade with the motherland. The issuance of POSTAGE STAMPS for India began in 1854; communication was further improved by the connection of British India with Britain by telegraph cable.

Imports of cheap, industrially produced British cloth had a devastating impact on India's traditional textile industry; regions which used to be centers of textile production, such as Malwa, experienced famine. On the other hand, demand for products such as jute and INDIGO increased.

In 1878-1880, the SECOND ANGLO-AFGHAN WAR was fought; Britain, worried about Russian progress in Central Asia, failed to take control of Afghanistan. On the subcontinent itself, the British administration ceased the policy of territorial expansion pursued by the EIC and adopted the policy of INDIRECT RULE in the remaining Indian principalities, where the traditional administration remained, but the British resident, in an advisory function to the prince, was the most powerful person in the state.

In 1857 the UNIVERSITIES OF BOMBAY, CALCUTTA and MADRAS were established. The UNIVERSITY OF THE PUNJAB at Lahore followed in 1882.