Friday, August 19, 2016

Presidencies and provinces of British India and Princely state

Main articles: Presidencies and provinces of British India and Princely state

India during the British Raj was made up of two types of territory: British India and the Native States (or Princely States).[22] In its Interpretation Act 1889, the British Parliamentadopted the following definitions in Section 18:


(4.) The expression "British India" shall mean all territories and places within Her Majesty's dominions which are for the time being governed by Her Majesty through the Governor-General of India or through any governor or other officer subordinate to the Governor-General of India.
(5.) The expression "India" shall mean British India together with any territories of any native prince or chief under the suzerainty of Her Majesty exercised through the Governor-General of India, or through any governor or other officer subordinate to the Governor-General of India.[1]

In general, the term "British India" had been used (and is still used) to refer also to the regions under the rule of the British East India Company in India from 1600 to 1858.[23] The term has also been used to refer to the "British in India".[24]

The terms "Indian Empire" and "Empire of India" (like the term "British Empire") were not used in legislation. The monarch was known as Empress or Emperor of India and the term was often used in Queen Victoria's Queen's Speeches and Prorogation Speeches. The passports issued by the British Indian government had the words "Indian Empire" on the cover and "Empire of India" on the inside.[25] In addition, an order of knighthood, the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, was set up in 1878.

Suzerainty over 175 princely states, some of the largest and most important, was exercised (in the name of the British Crown) by the central government of British India under theViceroy; the remaining approximately 500 states were dependents of the provincial governments of British India under a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or Chief Commissioner (as the case might have been).[26] A clear distinction between "dominion" and "suzerainty" was supplied by the jurisdiction of the courts of law: the law of British India rested upon the laws passed by the British Parliament and the legislative powers those laws vested in the various governments of British India, both central and local; in contrast, the courts of the Princely States existed under the authority of the respective rulers of those states.[26]

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