Emperor of India
|Emperor of India|
King-Emperor George VI
|Last monarch||George VI|
|Formation||1 May 1876|
|Abolition||22 June 1948|
The term "Emperor of India" is also used to refer to Indian emperors such as Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya Dynasty and Emperor Akbar of the Mughal Empire. For instance, Emperor Ashoka used the word 'Samrat' as his title, which means "Emperor" in Sanskrit and other Indian languages. The title was also used for a few weeks in 1857 by the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II until he was captured by the British.
Bahadur Shah II
Though the Mughal dynasty ruled over most of the Indian subcontinent from the 16th century onwards, they simply used the title Badishah (Badishah or badshah means "Great King" or King of Kings, somewhat close to the title of emperor) without geographic designation. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the rebel sepoys seized Delhi and proclaimed the Mughal Bahadur Shah II as Badishah-e-Hind, or Emperor of India. He had little or no control over the rebellion. The British crushed the rebellion, captured Bahadur Shah and exiled him to Rangoon, Burma in 1858, whereupon the Mughal dynasty came to an end.
After the British East India Company (EIC) deposed the Mughal Emperor, and after the British government dissolved the EIC in 1874, Queen Victoria took the title "Empress of India" (or Kaiser-i-Hind, a form coined by the orientalist G.W. Leitner in a deliberate attempt to dissociate British imperial rule from that of preceding dynasties) from 1 May 1876. The new title was proclaimed at the Delhi Durbar of 1877. The title came into use nineteen years after the formal incorporation into the British Empire of Britain's possessions and protectorates on the Indian subcontinent, Ceylon and Burma (though Burma became a separate colony in 1937). Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (in office: 1868 and 1874-1880) is usually credited[by whom?] with the title's creation - at the same time Queen Victoria granted him the title of Earl of Beaconsfield.
When Victoria died and her son Edward VII ascended the throne (1901) he used the title "Emperor of India". The title continued after India became independent on 15 August 1947 until King George VI formally abandoned it on 22 June 1948, although the British monarch continued to be the King of India until it became a republic in 1950.
When signing off Indian business, British king-emperors or the reigning queen-empress used the initials R I (Rex/Regina Imperator/Imperatrix) or the abbreviation Ind. Imp. (Indiae Imperator/Imperatrix) after their name (while the one reigning queen-empress, Victoria, used the initials R I, the three consorts of the married king-emperors simply used R).
UK coins and those of the Empire and Commonwealth dominions routinely included the abbreviated title Ind. Imp., although in India itself the coins said "Empress", and later "King Emperor". When in 1947 India became independent all coining dies had to be changed, which took up to a year and created some problems. Canadian coins, for example, were minted well into 1948 stamped "1947", the new year's issue indicated by a small maple leaf in one corner. In Great Britain itself the title appeared on coinage through 1948.
List of Emperors of India
|Portrait||Name||Birth||Death||Monarch from||Monarch until||Relationship with predecessor(s)||Spouse(s)|
|Victoria||24 May 1819||22 January 1901||1 May 1876
|22 January 1901||Given title after dissolution of the East India Company|
|Edward VII||9 November 1841||6 May 1910||22 January 1901||6 May 1910||Son of Victoria||Alexandra of Denmark|
|George V||3 June 1865||20 January 1936||6 May 1910||20 January 1936||Son of Edward VII||Mary of Teck|
|Edward VIII||23 June 1894||28 May 1972||20 January 1936||11 December 1936
|Son of George V|
|George VI||14 December 1895||6 February 1952||11 December 1936||22 June 1948||Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon|
- British rule in India ended on 15 August 1947, but George VI retained the title of King-Emperor until 22 June 1948, and thereafter remained monarch of India until India became a Republic on 26 January 1950.
- The London Gazette: . 22 June 1948. Retrieved 25 August 2014. Royal Proclamation of 22 June 1948, made in accordance with the Indian Independence Act 1947, 10 & 11 GEO. 6. CH. 30.('Section 7: ...(2)The assent of the Parliament of the United Kingdom is hereby given to the omission from the Royal Style and Titles of the words " Indiae Imperator " and the words " Emperor of India " and to the issue by His Majesty for that purpose of His Royal Proclamation under the Great Seal of the Realm.'). According to this Royal Proclamation, the King retained the Style and Titles 'George VI by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith', and he thus remained King of the various Dominions, including India and Pakistan, though these two (and others) eventually chose to abandon their monarchies and became republics.
- "Aśoka – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Online encyclopædia. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
- Ashoka by R. G. Bandarkar (Asian Educational Service: 2000)
- William Dalrymple, The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857 (2008) pp 179, 200, 208, 275, 339-40
- Harold E. Raugh (2004). The Victorians at War, 1815-1914: An Encyclopedia of British Military History. ABC-CLIO. p. 122.
- B.S. Cohn, "Representing Authority in Victorian India", in E. Hobsbawm and T. Ranger (eds.), The Invention of Tradition (1983), 165-209, esp. 201-2.
- History of the Monarchy, Victoria
- Proclaimed Empress of India on 28 April 1876 in the United Kingdom
- Proclaimed Empress of India on 1 January 1877 in India