List of governors of Bengal Presidency

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In 1644, Gabriel Boughton procured privileges for the East India Company which permitted them to build a factory at Hughli, without fortifications. Various chief agents, Governors and presidents were appointed to look after company affairs in the Bengal region. In 1765, the Treaty of Allahabad granted the diwani of Bengal subah to the EIC. In 1772, Warren Hastings was appointed as the Governor General of Fort William in Bengal which ended the title of Governor of Bengal.[1]

The Saint Helena Act, 1833 enacted that the Governor-General of India shall also act as the Governor of the Bengal presidency. From this time the Governors-General of India held also the separate office of Governor of Bengal, until the year 1854.[2]

The Section 56 of Act 16 & 17 Victoria in 1853 empowered the Court of Directors of EIC to declare that the Governor-General of India shall not be Governor of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal, but that a separate Governor shall be appointed for such Presidency. Until then, the Governor-General of India in Council will be directed to appoint a Lieutenant Governor of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal. In 1854, F. J. Halliday was appointed as the first lieutenant governor of the Bengal presidency.[3]

At the Delhi Durbar on 12 December 1911, King George V announced the transfer of the seat of the Government of India from Calcutta to Delhi, the reunification of the five predominantly Bengali-speaking divisions into a Presidency (or province) of Bengal under a Governor, the creation of a new province of Bihar and Orissa under a lieutenant-governor, and that Assam Province would be reconstituted under a chief commissioner. On 21 March 1912, Thomas Gibson-Carmichael was appointed the Governor of Bengal. On 22 March the provinces of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa and Assam were constituted.[4]

In 1947, India gained independence from the British Raj, and the new state of West Bengal was formed following the partition of India. C. Rajagopalachari was appointed as the first Governor of West Bengal. When the constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950, the office of Governor of West Bengal become a ceremonial position.

Precursors (1650–1758)[edit]

Agents, Chiefs and Governors (1650-1699)[edit]

In 1644 Gabriel Boughton, procured privileges for the East India Company which permitted them to build a factory at Hughli, without fortifications. In 1650, the factories of Balasor and Hughli were united. On 14 December 1650, James Bridgman was appointed as the chief of the factories. However, in 1653, Bridgman left suddenly and Powle Waldegrave assumed his charge.

On 27 February 1657, the company resolved its holdings into four agencies:- Fort St. George, Bantam, Persia, and Hughli. George Gawton was appointed as the Agent of Hughly. Additional three factories in Ballasore, Cassambazar and Pattana were put under the Hughly agency. In 1658, Johnathan Trevisa was appointed as the second to Gawton and was meant to succeed him after the latter's death. On 6 February 1661, the company reduced the Hughly agency under the Fort St. George, and then agent Trevisa was made the "Chief of Factories in the Bay of Bengal". On 24 November 1681, William Hedges was appointed as the "Agent and Governor for the affairs of the East India Company in the Bay of Bengal". On 21 December 1684, William Gyfford who was the President and Governor of Fort St. George was given the additional charge of Bengal due to increasing mismanagement. John Beard was appointed as the "Agent and Chief in the Bay of Bengal" and become the subordinate to Gifford.

Chief of the factories of Balasore and Hughli
Name Portrait Took Office Left Office Remarks
James Bridgman 14 December 1650 1653
Powle Waldegrave 1653 1657
Agent of Hughly Agency
George Gawton 27 February 1657 11 September 1658
John Trevisa 11 September 1658 6 February 1661
Chief of Factories in the Bay of Bengal
John Trevisa 6 February 1661 31 January 1662
William Blake 31 January 1662 24 January 1668
Shem Bridges 24 January 1668 7 December 1669
Henry Powell 7 December 1669 ?
Walter Clavell ~June 1672 7 August 1677 Died in office
Mathias Vincent 7 September 1677 ~July 1682

(position superseded)

Deposed in July 1682
Agent and Governor

for the affairs of the East India Company

in the Bay of Bengal

Sir William Hedges 24 November 1681 ~ August 1684 Deposed in August 1864
Agent and Chief in the Bay of Bengal
John Beard 21 December 1863 28 August 1865 Died in office
Job Charnock ~ April 1686 10 January 1693 Died in office
Francis Ellis 10 January 1693 January 1694
Charles Eyre 25 January 1694 1 February 1699 Left for England in 1699
John Beard 1 February 1699 20 December 1699

(position superseded)

Second to Eyre

President and Governor of Fort William, in Bengal (1699-1705)[edit]

On 20 December 1699, the Court of Directors (London East India Company) declared Bengal a Presidency, and then Agent Charles Eyre was made the " President and Governor of Fort William, in Bengal". The President or Chief in the Bay of Bengal for the English East India Company was Sir Edward Littleton in whose commission and instructions, dated 12 January 1698, it was also stated that power had been obtained from his Majesty to constitute him the "Minister or Consul for the English Nation" with all powers requisite thereunto. Littleton was later deposed by the Court of Directors in 1703.

The union of the two East India Companies took place on 23 July 1702. For united trade in Bengal, a Council was appointed, of which Nathaniel Halsey and Robert Hedges were to take chair each in their week alternatively as per the dispatch from United Company on 26 February 1702. In a dispatch of 12 February 1704, it was ordered that if Beard shall die, no one will be appointed as President to succeed him. After the departure of John Beard to Madras, Ralph Sheldon assumed the position of Chief of Council, and his appointment was confirmed in a dispatch of 7 February 1706.

President and Governor of Fort William, in Bengal
Name Portrait Took Office Left Office Remarks
Sir Charles Eyre 20 December 1699 7 January 1701 Left on account of health issues
John Beard 7 January 1701 7 July 1705 Died in Office

President in the Bay, and Governor and Commander-in-Chief for Fort William, in Bengal (1705-1774)[edit]

On 30 December 1709, Anthony Weldon was appointed as the "President in the Bay, and Governor and Commander-in-Chief for Fort William, in Bengal" for the United East India Company. His appointment was later revoked and was supposed to be succeeded by Sheldon. Since Sheldon had died by the time dispatch arrived in Bengal, John Russell was ordered to succeed as the Governor. By a letter of 8 May 1771, the Court appointed Warren Hastings to be Governor of Bengal. By Act of Parliament 13 Geo. III., cap. 63, the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal will headed by a Governor-General, and Hastings was appointed as the first Governor-General. He assumed the office on 20 October 1774.

President in the Bay, and Governor and Commander-in-Chief for Fort William, in Bengal
# Name Portrait Took Office Left Office Remarks Appointee
1 Anthony Weldon 30 December 1709 4 March 1711 Appointment revoked by the Court of Directors

Resigned on March 1711

East India
Company

Coat of arms of the East India Company.svg
2 John Rusell 4 March 1711 3 December 1713 Dismissed by the Court
3 Robert Hedges 3 December 1713 28 December 1717 died in office
4 Samuel Feake 12 January 1718 17 January 1723 Left for England due to illness
5 John Deane 17 January 1723 30 January 1726 Returned to England
6 Henry Frankland 30 January 1726 25 February 1732 Returned to Europe
7 John Stackhouse 25 February 1732 29 January 1739 Resigned
8 Thomas Broddyll 29 January 1739 4 Feb 1746 Left for England
9 John Forster 4 Feb 1746 March 1748 Died in office
10 William Barewell 18 April 1748 1749 Dismissed by the Court
11 Adam Dawson 17 July 1749 1752 Dismissed by the Court
12 William Fycthe Thomas Hudson (attributed) - Portrait of William Fytche of Bengal 1752.jpg 5 July 1752 8 August 1752 Died in Office
13 Roger Drake 8 August 1752 20 June 1758 Deposed by the Court
14 Col. Robert Clive Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive by Nathaniel Dance, (later Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland, Bt).jpg 27 June 1758 23 January 1760 Resigned
15 John Zephaniah Holwell John Zephaniah Holwell.jpg 28 January 1760 27 July 1760 Handed over to Vansittart who was appointed on

23 November 1759 to the office

16 Henry Vansittart Henry Vansittart.jpg 27 July 1760 26 November 1764 Returned to England
17 John Spencer 3 December 1764 3 May 1765
18 The Lord Clive Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive by Nathaniel Dance, (later Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland, Bt).jpg 3 May 1765 20 January 1767 Returned to England
19 Harry Verelst 29 January 1767 24 December 1769 Retired from the service
20 John Cartier 26 December 1769 13 April 1772
21 Warren Hastings Warren Hastings by Joshua Reynolds.jpg 13 April 1772 20 October 1774

(office superseded)

Appointed as the Governor-General of Fort William

in Bengal in 1774

Governors of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal (1834-1854)[edit]

By an Act of 1833 (3 & 4 William IV. , cap. lxxxv., Section lvi . ), it was enacted " that the Executive Government of each of the several Presidencies of Fort William in Bengal, Fort St. George, Bombay, and Agra shall be administered by a Governor and three Councilors, to be styled the Governor-in-Council of the said Presidencies of Fort William in Bengal , Fort St. George, Bombay, and Agra respectively, and that the Governor General of India for the time being shall be Governor of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal. From this time the Governors General of India held also the separate office of Governor of Bengal, until the year 1854.[2] Under the Charter Act 1853 the Governor General of India was relieved of his concurrent duties as Governor of Bengal and empowered to appoint a lieutenant-governor from 1854.

Governors of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal

(ex-officio Governor-General of India, 1833-1857)

# Name

(birth–death)

Portrait Took office Left office Appointee
1 The Lord William Bentick

(1774–1839)

Bentinck william.png 15 November 1834

(1833)

20 March 1835 East India
Company

Coat of arms of the East India Company.svg
- Sir Charles Metcalfe, Bt, ICS[5]

(acting)

(1785–1846)

Charles Theophilus Metcalfe, 1st Baron Metcalfe by George Chinnery.jpg 20 March 1835 4 March 1836
2 The Lord Auckland (1784–1849) George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland.png 4 March 1836 28 February 1842
3 The Lord Ellenborough (1790–1871) 1stEarlOfEllenborough.jpg 28 February 1842 June 1844
- William Wilberforce Bird, ICS[5]

(acting)

(1784–1857)

June 1844 23 July 1844
4 Sir Henry Hardinge (1785–1856) Henryhardinge.jpg 23 July 1844 12 January 1848
5 The Earl of Dalhousie (1812–1860) Dalhousie.jpg 12 January 1848 1 May 1854

(28 February 1856)

Lieutenant Governors of the Bengal Presidency (1854-1912)[edit]

Lieutenant Governors of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal (1854-1912)[edit]

Under the Charter Act 1853 the Governor General of India was relieved of his concurrent duties as Governor of Bengal and a separate Governor of Bengal shall be appointed. Until then a Lieutenant Governor will be appointed. F. J. Halliday became the first lieutenant governor of the Bengal presidency. William Duke served as the last lieutenant governor after which the office was superseded by the Governor of Bengal province in 1912.

Lieutenant Governors of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal
# Name Portrait Took office Left office Appointee
1 Frederick James Halliday Sir Frederick James Halliday.png 1854 1859 The Marquess of Dalhousie
2 John Peter Grant Sir John Peter Grant.png 1859 1862 The Earl Canning
3 Cecil Beadon Cecil Beadon.jpg 1862 1866
4 William Grey William Grey - Grant.jpg 1867 1870 Sir John Lawrence, Bt
5 George Campbell George Campbell.jpg 1870 1874 The Earl of Mayo
6 Sir Richard Temple Hart Richard Temple 1826-1902.jpg 1874 1877 The Lord Northbrook
7 Sir Ashley Eden Sir Ashley Eden.png 1877 1882
8 Sir Augustus Rivers Thompson Sir Augustus Rivers Thompson.png 1882 1887 The Marquess of Ripon
9 Sir Steuart Colvin Bayley Sir Steuart Colvin Bayley.png 1887 1890 The Earl of Dufferin
10 Sir Charles Alfred Elliott 1890 1893 The Marquess of Lansdowne
11 Sir Anthony Patrick MacDonnell Antony MacDonnell.jpg 1893 1895
12 Sir Alexander Mackenzie Alexander Mackenzie Bengal.jpg 1895 1897 The Earl of Elgin
13 Sir Charles Cecil Stevens 1897 1898
14 Sir John Woodburn 1898 1902
15 James Dewar Bourdillon 1902 1903 The Lord Curzon of Kedleston
16 Sir Andrew Henderson Leith Fraser Sir Andrew Fraser LCCN2014683484.jpg 1903 1906
17 Francis Slacke 1906 1908 The Earl of Minto
18 Sir Edward Norman Baker Edward Norman Baker.jpg 1908 1911
19 Frederick William Duke 1911 1912 The Lord Hardinge of Penshurst

Lieutenant Governors of the Province of Eastern Bengal and Assam (1905-1912)[edit]

The Earl Curzon, the Viceroy of India, proposed the Partition of Bengal on religious lines into hindu-majority Bengal and muslim-majority Eastern Bengal and Assam and put it into effect on 16 October 1905. Dacca became the capital. The partition stoked controversy among Indian nationalists, who described it as an attempt to "divide and rule" the Bengali homeland.[6] Sir Bampfylde Fuller was the province's first Lieutenant Governor. However, at the Delhi Durbar in 1911, King George V announced that the British government had decided to annul the partition. Eastern Bengal was reunited with western Bengali districts, and Assam was made a Chief-Commissionership.

Lieutenant Governors of the Province of Eastern Bengal and Assam
# Name Portrait Took office Left office Appointee
1 Sir Bampfylde Fuller 16 October 1905 20 August 1906 The Lord Curzon of Kedleston
2 Lancelot Hare Lancelot Hare.jpg 20 August 1906 1911 The Earl of Minto
3 Sir Charles Stuart Bayley 1911 21 March 1912 The Lord Hardinge of Penshurst

Governors of Bengal (1912–1947)[edit]

On 12 December 1911 at the Delhi Durbar, King George V announced the transfer of the seat of the Government of India from Calcutta to Delhi and the reunification of the five predominantly Bengali-speaking divisions into a Presidency (or province) of Bengal under a Governor. On 1 April 1912 Thomas Gibson-Carmichael was appointed the Governor of Bengal. Sir Frederick Burrows became the last Governor of the Bengal province following the Independence of India.

Governors of Bengal
Name Portrait Took office Left office Appointee
The Lord Carimichael Thomas Gibson-Carmichael.jpg 1 April 1912 26 March 1917 The Lord Hardinge of Penshurst
The Earl of Ronaldshay Lord Zetland.jpg 26 March 1917 28 March 1922 The Lord Chelmsford
The Earl of Lytton Lord Lytton 2nd.jpg 28 March 1922 28 March 1927 The Earl of Reading
Sir Francis Stanley Jackson Stanley Jackson MP.jpg 28 March 1927 28 March 1932 The Lord Irwin
Sir John Anderson John Anderson, 1st Viscount Waverley 1947.jpg 29 March 1932 30 May 1937 The Earl of Willingdon
The Lord Brabourne 30 May 1937 23 February 1939 The Marquess of Linlithgow
Sir John Arthur Herbert 1 July 1939 1 December 1943
The Lord Casey Richard Casey 1965.jpg 14 January 1944 19 February 1946 The Viscount Wavell
Sir Frederick John Burrows 19 February 1946 15 August 1947

Post-independence (1947-1950)[edit]

In 1947, the British Raj came to an end, and the new countries of India and Pakistan were created. Bengal province was partitioned into the state of West Bengal in India, and province of East Bengal (later East Pakistan) in Pakistan. East Pakistan later become independent in 1971 as Bangladesh.

Governors of West Bengal[edit]

After the Independence, the state of West Bengal was headed by a Governor and his powers were laid down in the Government of India Act, 1935. On 15 August 1947, C. Rajagopalachari was appointed as the first Governor of West Bengal. When the constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950, the office of Governor of West Bengal became a ceremonial position.

Governors of West Bengal
No. Name Portrait Took office Left office Appointee
1 Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari.jpg 15 August 1947 21 June 1948 The Viscount Mountbatten of Burma
2 Kailash Nath Katju Kailash Nath Katju.jpg 21 June 1948 1 November 1951 Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari

Governors of East Bengal (1947-1955)[edit]

Following the Partition of India, the muslim-majority part of Bengal province i.e. the East Bengal became the province of the Dominion of Pakistan. The Governor was the ceremonial head of the East Bengal province. The province of East Bengal was dissolved on 14 October 1955 when then Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Bogra implemented the One Unit scheme which merged the four western provinces into a single unit called West Pakistan while East Bengal was renamed as East Pakistan.

Governors of East Bengal
# Name Portrait Took Office Left Office Appointee
1 Sir Frederick Chalmers Bourne 15 August 1947 31 March 1950 Muhammad Ali Jinnah
2 Sir Feroz Khan Noon Feroz Khan Noon.jpg 31 March 1950 31 March 1953 Sir Khawaja Nazimuddin
3 Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman.JPG 31 March 1953 29 May 1954 Sir Ghulam Muhammad
4 Iskandar Ali Mirza Iskander Mirza, in British Indian Army.JPG 29 May 1954 May 1955
- Muhammad Shahabuddin (acting) May 1955 June 1955
5 Amiruddin Ahmad June 1955 14 October 1955

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Danvers, F.C. (22 June 2016). Bengal: Its Chiefs, Agents, and Governors. Forgotten Books. pp. –6. ISBN 978-1332869954.
  2. ^ a b Danvers, F.C. (22 June 2016). Bengal: Its Chiefs, Agents, and Governors. Forgotten Books. p. 21. ISBN 978-1332869954.
  3. ^ Danvers, F.C. (22 June 2016). Bengal: Its Chiefs, Agents, and Governors. Forgotten Books. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-1332869954.
  4. ^ Ilbert, Sir Courtenay Peregrine (1922). The Government of India, Third Edition, revised and updated. Clarendon Press. pp. 117–118.
  5. ^ a b "Raj Bhavan Kolkata" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Eastern Bengal and Assam - Banglapedia". En.banglapedia.org. 5 May 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2015.

External links[edit]