British India 1885-1918

In 1885 Indian patriots founded the CONGRESS PARTY. The British administration, however, spent little attention on her. The recruitment of Indian (Bengali, Tamil) COOLIES to work mines, railroad construction sites or plantations in other colonies of the British Empire, for instance Fiji or the Straits Settlements, continued. The British expanded the railway network of India. Famine, which occurred repeatedly, was blamed to the greed of grain merchants and the reluctance of the British administration to interfere by regulating prices in times of scarcity (Catholic Encyclopedia).

In 1885 UPPER BURMA was conquered in the THIRD ANGLO-BURMESE WAR; in 1886 it was annexed. In 1890 to 1893, territory on the border to AFGHANISTAN was annexed. With the Chinese Empire disintegrating, Britain regarded TIBET as British sphere of influence (from 1900 onward); in the ANGLO-RUSSIAN ENTENTE of 1907, southeastern Persia, adjacent to Baluchistan, was described as British sphere of influence.

Around 1900, British India consisted of 9 provinces : Madras, Bombay, Bengal, Eastern Bengal and Assam, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, the Punjab, Burma, Central Provinces and the North -- West Frontier Province. There were minor administrative units in addition to these : Coorg, Ajmere -- Marwara, British Baluchistan, and the Andaman Islands. The smaller protected states were grouped into AGENCIES such as the Rajputana, Kathiawar, Central India Agency.

In 1905 the province of Bengal was partitioned into West and East Bengal, a decision which would have far-reaching implications. In 1907, for the first time, a Muslim and a Hindu were appointed members of the COUNCIL OF INDIA. By 1910, the far majority of upper level positions in British India's administration (over 90 %) were held by Europeans.


In 1887 the UNIVERSITY OF ALLAHABAD was established, India's fifth institution of that kind.

In 1899, RUDYARD KIPLING published the poem THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN, glorifying British colonial rule. In 1913, RABINDRANATH TAGORE was the first non-western author to be awarded the NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE; his works, written in Bengali, were based on Indian mythology and were anti-colonial in tone.