Chapter 16

Chapter 12
The New Imperialism
Section 4 – The British Take Over India
Setting the Scene
Ranjit Singh ruled the large Sikh empire in
northwestern India during the early 1800s. He
had cordial dealings with the British but saw only
too well where their ambitions were headed. One
day, he was looking at a map of India on which
British-held lands were shaded red. "All will one
day become red!" he predicted.
Not long after Ranjit Singh's death in 1839, the
British conquered the Sikh empire. They added
its 100,000 square miles to their steadily growing
lands. As Singh had forecast, India was falling
under British control.
I. East India Company and Sepoy Rebellion
After the decline of the Mughal Empire in the
mid-1800s, the British East India Company
gained control of India
I. East India Company and Sepoy Rebellion
The British were able to take over India by
exploiting the diverse people and cultures of
India is the seventh
largest country in the
world - approximately
3,287,000 sq km
(1,281,930 sq mi); 18
languages and 800
dialects; Hindu, Muslim,
Christian, Sikh, Buddhist,
Jain religions
I. East India Company and Sepoy Rebellion
The main goal was to make money, but it also
introduced western education, religion, and
I. East India Company and Sepoy Rebellion
The British worked to end slavery and the
caste system, and outlawed sati (suttee)
I. East India Company and Sepoy Rebellion
Discontent began when sepoys were required
to serve anywhere, and when a law was
passed allowing Hindu widows to remarry
Sepoys of the Bombay, Bengal and Madras armies
I. East India Company and Sepoy Rebellion
In 1857, new rifles using cartridges greased
with animal fat were issued to the sepoys,
who refused to use them
A section through the .577" Enfield-Pritchett
cartridge. The infantryman would tear off the top of
the paper cartridge with his teeth and pour the
gunpowder inside down the gun barrel.
I. East India Company and Sepoy Rebellion
When the Sepoys were disciplined, it set off
the Sepoy Rebellion
An 1859 lithograph depicts the storming of Delhi in 1857 by
rebelling Indian sepoys, beginning the Sepoy Rebellion
II. British Colonial Rule
In 1858, Parliament ended the rule of the East
India Company and set up a colonial rule
II. British Colonial Rule
Britain saw India as a market and a source of
raw materials, and built up India’s infrastructure
Indian cotton
Indian jute
II. British Colonial Rule
After the Suez Canal opened in 1869, British
trade with India increased greatly
1869 Opening of the Suez Canal
II. British Colonial Rule
New farming methods and medicines lead to
rapid population growth, and in the late 1800s
famines swept India
II. British Colonial Rule
British rule also brought peace and order,
promoted justice, and improved travel and
A French artist's rendering of Calcutta in the early
19th century.
III. Different Views on Culture
Some Indians urged following a western
model of progress, others felt the answer to
change lay within their own culture
III. Different Views on Culture
Ram Mohun Roy combined both views and
because of his influence, he is often hailed as
the founder of Indian nationalism
This statue of Raja Rammohun Roy
stands outside Bristol Cathedral.
III. Different Views on Culture
The British disagreed among themselves
about India - a few admired Indian culture but
most British viewed India with contempt
In an essay on whether Indians
should be taught in English or
their native languages, English
historian Thomas Macaulay
wrote that: “A single shelf of a
good European library is worth
the whole native literature of
India and Arabia."
IV. Indian Nationalism
During the years of British rule, a class of
western-educated Indians emerged who
dreamed of ending imperial rule
In 1835, Thomas Macaulay articulated the goals of
British colonial imperialism most succinctly: "We must
do our best to form a class who may be interpreters
between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of
persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste,
in opinions, words and intellect."
IV. Indian Nationalism
In 1885, nationalist organized the Indian
National Congress, known as the Congress
party, which called for greater democracy
IV. Indian Nationalism
At first, Muslims and Hindus worked together,
but in 1906 Muslims formed the Muslim
League to pursue their own goals
Looking Ahead
By the early 1900s, protests and resistance
to British rule increased. Some Indian
nationalists urged that Indian languages
and cultures be restored. More and more
Indians demanded not simply self-rule but
complete independence. Their goal finally
would be achieved in 1947, but only after a
long struggle against the British and a
nightmare of bloody conflict between
Hindus and Muslims.
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