[Prelims Spotlight] Important Governor Generals and Viceroys


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9th March 2020

With almost absolute power the Governor-General and viceroy played a significant role in the shaping history of the country. Following are some of these important figures and significant events and major reforms carried out by them.

        Governor Generals of                            Bengal/India


                  Important events/Reforms



Warren Hastings



Regulating Act of 1773.

First Governor-General of Bengal.

End of the dual system of administration (1765-1772).

Supreme Court at Calcutta.

Wrote Introduction to the first English translation of Gita.

Founded Madarasa Aliya at Calcutta.




Lord Cornwallis



Separation of three branches of service: commercial, judicial and revenue.

Permanent Land Revenue Settlement of Bengal-1793.

Reformed, modernised and rationalised the civil service.

Introduced the Cornwallis Code.

Sanskrit College, Varanasi.



Lord Wellesley



Introduction of Subsidiary Alliance System.

Fourth Anglo-Mysore war.

Fort William College, Calcutta.




Lord Hastings





Anglo-Nepal War-(1814-16)

Third Anglo-Maratha War-(1817-19) and dissolution of Maratha confederacy.

Introduction of Ryotwari System of Thomas Munro, Governor of Madras-1820.



Lord William Bentinck



Charter Act of 1833.

Abolition of Sati-1829.

Resolution of 1835 and Education reforms and introduction of English as the official language.

The annexation of Mysore-1831, Coorg, and Central Cachar-1831.



Lord Dalhousie



Introduction of the Doctrine of Lapse and annexations of Satara-1848, Jaitpur and Sambhalpur-1849, Udaipur-1852, Jhansi-1853, Nagpur-1854 and Awadh-1856.

Wood’s Dispatch of 1854.

Railway Minute of 1853.

Telegraph and Postal reforms.

Widow Remarriage Act-1856.



Lord Canning



Establishment of universities at Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.

Mutiny of 1857.



       Governor-General                            and

         Viceroy of India


                               Important events/Reforms
 Lord Canning


Transfer of control from East India Company to the Crown by the Government of India Act 1858

Indian Councils Act-1861



Lord Mayo



Opening of Rajkot College in Kathiawad and Mayo College at Ajmer for political training of Indian Princes.

Statistical Survey of India was established.

Department of Agriculture and Commerce was established.

Introduction of state railways.





Lord Lytton




The great famine of 1876 affecting Bombay, Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad, Central India and Punjab.

Appointment of Famine Commission under the presidency of Richard Strachey.

Vernacular Press Act was passed- 1878.

The Arms Act-1878.



Lord Ripon



Education Commission 1882 under William Hunter-1882.

Ilbert Bill controversy.

Repeal of Vernacular Press Act in 1882.

The First Factory Act in 1881 to improve labour conditions.

Government resolution on local self government-1882.


Lord Dufferin



Establishment of Indian National Congress.


Lord Lansdowne



The categorisation of civil services into imperial, provincial and subordinate.

Indian Councils Act-1892

Durand Commission (1893) was set up to define the Durand Line between India and Afghanistan.




Lord Curzon



Police Commission (1902) was appointed under Sir Andrew Frazer.

University Commission (1902) was appointed and Universities Act (1904) was passed.

Department of Commerce and Industry was established.

Calcutta Corporation Act-1899

Partition of Bengal (1905).


Lord Minto-II



Popularisation of anti-partition and Swadeshi Movements.

Split in Indian National Congress at Surat in 1907.

Indian Muslim League was established by Aga Khan (1907)

Morley-Minto reforms or Indian Councils Act 1909.


Lord Hardinge-II


 Transfer of capital from Calcutta to Delhi (1911).

Establishment of Hindu Mahasabha (1915) by Madan Mohan Malviya.

      Lord Chelmsford


Home Rule League was formed by Annie Besant and Tilak (1916)

Lucknow session of Congress (1916).

Lucknow Pact between Congress and Muslim League (1916).

Champaran Satyagraha (1918), and Satyagraha at Ahmadabad (1918).

Montague’s August Declaration.

Government of Indian Act- 1919

Jallianwalla Bagh massacre (1919).

Non-Cooperation and Khilafat Movements were launched.

Foundation of Women’s University at Poona (1916) and Saddler’s Commission was appointed for reforms in educational policy.

Appointment of S. P. Sinha as governor of Bihar first Indian to do so.




Lord Reading



The Chaura-Chauri Incident-Feb5, 1922 and withdrawal of Non-Cooperation movement.

Moplah rebellion in Kerala (1921).

Repeal of the Press Act of 1910 and Rowlatt Act of 1919.

Kakori train robbery (1925)

Establishment of Swaraj Party (1922).

The decision to hold a simultaneous examination for ICS in Delhi and London with effect from 1923.





Lord Irwin



Simon Commission-1928

Appointment of the Harcourt Butler Indian States Commission (1927)

Murder of Saunders and Bomb blast in the Assembly Hall of Delhi-1929

Lahore session of Congress 1929 and Purna Swaraj Resolution.

Dandi March (12 March, 1929) and launch of Civil Disobedience Movement.





Lord Willingdon



Second Round Table Conference and failure of the conference, resumption of the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Announcement of the Communal Award (1932).

Poona Pact (1932)

Third Round Table Conference 1932.

The Government of India 1935.

Establishment of All India Kisan Sabha 1936.

Establishment of Congress Socialist Party by Acharya Narendra Dev and Jayaprakash Narayan (1934)





Lord Linlithgow



First general elections were held and Congress attained absolute majority (1936-1937).

Congress ministers resigned (1937) after the outbreak of WW-II

Subhash Chandra Bose elected as the president of Congress-1938.

Lahore Resolution by Muslim League for the demand of separate state for Muslims.

August Offer by the viceroy-1940.

Cripp’s Mission to India

Passing of the Quit India Resolution by Congress-1942




Lord Wavell



C Rajgopalachari’s CR Formula (1944) and Gandhi-Jinnah Talks failed.

Wavell Plan and the Shimla Conference (1942)

Cabinet Mission and Congress accepted its plan 1946

Observance of the ‘Direct Action Day’ (16 August 1946) by the Muslim League.

Elections to the Constituent Assembly and formation of Interim Government by the Congress (September 1946).

Announcement of the end of British rule in India by Clement Attlee on February 20, 1946



Lord Mountbatten


June Third Plan (June 3, 1947) announced.

Introduction of Indian Independence Bill in the House of Commons.

Appointment of two boundary commissions under Sir Cyril Radcliff for the partition of Bengal and Punjab.


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4 years ago

can you please check lord lytton features once as they belong to Lord Ripon

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4 years ago
Reply to  Alekya Thalari

The mistake has been corrected Alekya.
Thanks for pointing it out.


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