Genealogy Project of the British Military Presence in India from 1612 to 1947 (2023)

British military presence in India from 1600 to 1947

This project will include the GEni profiles of British officers and men who served in India before 1947, directly employed by the British government or the East India Company.

Add any suitable profiles to this project, regardless of classification.

See too

Projects related to GEni or of Interest

(Video) The Anglo-Indians: The Last Remnants of the British Empire in India and South Asia

India - British Colonial Era
Governors General of India
Rao Bahadur

College of the East India Company
World War I: Indian Armed Forces


1612-1757, the East India Company established "factories" (trading posts) in various locations in India, with the consent of Mughal emperors or local rulers. Its rivals were Dutch and French trading companies. In the middle of the 18th century, three "presidential cities": Madras, Bombay and Calcutta grew in size.
1757–1858- was the period of the Company's rule in India. The Company gradually acquired sovereignty over large parts of India, now called "Presidencies". However, it also came increasingly under the supervision of the British government, effectively sharing sovereignty with the Crown. At the same time, it gradually lost its mercantile privileges.
1857- After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Company's remaining powers were transferred to the Crown.
1858-1947The New British Raj: Sovereignty was extended to some new regions such as Upper Burma. The major Presidencies were divided into "Provinces".

The Honorable East India Company ([H]EIC)entered into the Charter to represent the commercial interests of the British Crown and to establish trade east of the Cape of Good Hope. They received this Charter from about 1612 until shortly after the Indian Mutiny, when the EIC was dissolved. HEIC ships and trading posts (often called "factories") needed to defend against pirates, marauders, and forces of hostile powers, both European and Eastern.

Starting in 1700 for the next 160 years or so, theHonorable East India Companyformed its own armed forces. The three administrative areas of India, the Presidencies of Bombay, Madras and Bengal, each maintained its own army with its own Commander-in-Chief.

The Commander-in-Chief of Bengal was considered the superior officer of the three. These armies were paid entirely from the East India Company's Indian revenue, and together they were larger than the British army itself.

(Video) The Territorial Force of the British Army | Findmypast

All officers were British and trained at the Company's military academy in England. There were several European infantry regiments, but the vast majority of the Company's soldiers were native soldiers. These sepoys, as they were called, were mostly high-caste Hindus and many of them, especially in the Bengal Army, hailed from Oudh in what is now the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India.

They were organized into numbered regiments and trained in the British style. Sepoy regiments were led by Europeans, with a hardening of European noncommissioned officers.

Attached to this force were the Crown regiments, units of the British Army loaned by the Crown to the HEIC in times of need. In 1857, the total number of soldiers in India was 34,000 Europeans of all ranks and 257,000 sepoys.

Sir Thomas Smith- 1558-1625, was the first governor of the East India Company.
HEIC troops fought many minor skirmishes and major battles to protect East India Company assets. It was not until the end of 1756 that the Bengal Regiment emerged after the reforms ofMajor General Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, KB.

(Video) Andrew Tate explains how the British conquered India

Some events in the history ofeast india companythey are listed below.

1613- Earlier in the year, the Mughal Emperor issued a Firman to the HEIC for the establishment of a factory in Surat, near Bombay, this was the first settlement of the British on the mainland of India. HEIC prospered and expanded.
1625- The factory was installed in Masulipatam.
1634- February 2nd, a Firman issued for HEIC byShah Jehan Emperor of Indiafor the establishment of factories in Bengal.
1640- Obtaining concession for establishment in Madras.
1645- An unexpected extension of the Company's power in Bengal has been obtained. Emperor Shah Jehan had a favorite daughter who had suffered severe burns, the surgeon on one of the HEIC ships.Gabriel Broughton, was sent to attend to her, her treatment so successful that the emperor was overwhelmed with gratitude, he said he would grant Broughton whatever he could ask. Broughton's request was that HEIC be given permission to establish a factory in Hoogli (Calcutta), this was granted and a thriving trade arose.
1652- From the beginning it was necessary to have some kind of guard in these factories, at the time the Company employed an officer and thirty European soldiers to protect its factory near Calcutta, and according to reports they were a mixed group, mercenaries, adventurers and deserters from foreign armies, however, they were amalgamated into an efficient professional military unit.
History claims that the 1st and 2nd Battalions, the Royal Munster Rifle Regiment, designated by Lord Cardwell's reorganization of the British Army on 1 July 1881, can trace their regimental roots back to this small group of servicemen.
1668- March - Bombay Island ceded to HEIC by King Charles II. Military service under the HEIC was offered and accepted to a detachment of the kings' troops.
1680- The expansion and increased trade of the HEIC required additional recruits for the private army of the HEIC. Recruitment took place in England and permission was given by James II to raise small numbers of troops in Ireland.
1685- Six companies of infantry sent from England and Ireland, and a detachment from Madras with the object of establishing the Company's position in Bengal.
1689- Settlements in Bengal were abandoned, all military force returned to Madras.
1690- Settlements were re-established in Bengal at the end of the year, the force totaling a company of 100 men commanded by a Captain Hill.
1692-Captain John Goldesboroughhe arrived in Madras to command all HEIC forces in India.
1694- Goldesborough when on an inspection tour of Bengal ordered the establishment to be reduced to 2 sergeants, 2 corporals and 20 privates.
1697- A dangerous revolt breaks out in Bengal, led by Rajah Subah Sing, against the emperor's authority. The HEIC agent, Mr. (later Mr.)Carlos Eyre, he applied to the local Nawab for permission to fortify the factory at Chattanuttee, present-day Kolkata. In view of this, it was decided to erect a fort, to be called Fort William, in honor of King William III, and at the same time Bengal was declared a separate presidency.
1707- Fort William is reasonably complete, with several cannons and 125 soldiers, half of whom are European.
1710- The strength and constitution of the military forces in the three Presidencies, Bombay, Bengal and Madras have undergone many changes, each having more or less the organization and disposition of its own forces. The white part of the armies was made up of detachments sent from England and Ireland.
1743HEIC officer Robert Clive arrives in India, then transfers to military service in the HEIC, distinguishing himself as a soldier.
1753- Clive returns to England after accumulating wealth.
1756- June - Robert Clive returns to Madras from England, appointed governor of Fort St David with a commission as a lieutenant colonel. He is also credited with turning the army in India into an orderly military force.
1756- Aug 5 - News received in Madras, capture of Calcutta by Surajah Dowlah, the new Nawab of Bengal, imprisonment of Europeans in a dungeon called Black Hole. Clive was ordered to secure Calcutta and release the prisoners.
1756- 16 December - Independent companies and detachments formed into Regiment by Clive, placed under the command of Major Kilpatrick under the designation of -The European Regiment of Bengal.

References and sources


Free to follow, ask to collaborate

To join the project, use the sign-up link under "Actions" in the upper-right corner of the page.

(Video) How did British Empire take over India? | Fall of Mughal Empire | Dhruv Rathee


Geni Square Project
work with projects
Evil Wiki
Geni Wikitext, Unicode and imageswhich is a big help.
see the discussionProject Help: Adding Text to a Project - Starter Kitfor you to go!

Genealogy Project of the British Military Presence in India from 1612 to 1947 (1)
Genealogy Project of the British Military Presence in India from 1612 to 1947 (2)this project is inLink to history
Genealogy Project of the British Military Presence in India from 1612 to 1947 (3)
Genealogy Project of the British Military Presence in India from 1612 to 1947 (4)

(Video) Ancestors in British India | Findmypast


How did British structure their army in India? ›

The first army officially called the "Indian Army" was raised by the government of India in 1895, existing alongside the three long-established presidency armies. However, in 1903 the Indian Army absorbed these three armies.

Where were British troops stationed in India? ›

The main provinces in British India were Madras, Bombay, Central Provinces, Punjab, United Provinces, Bengal, Assam, and Bihar and Orissa. The North West Frontier Province was another significant province.

What was the name of Indian soldiers in the British Army answer? ›

Hint: The Sepoys were Indian troops recruited by European colonial powers from India's native population. The sepoys were organised into battalions led by European officers and were trained and armed in European fashion. The units were referred to as "native sepoys" until 1885 when the phrase was abandoned.

What did the British do to India in 1947? ›

On 2 June 1947, the last Viceroy of India, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, announced that Britain had accepted that the country should be divided into a mainly Hindu India and a mainly Muslim Pakistan, encompassing the geographically separate territories of West Pakistan (now Pakistan) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh ...

What forced the British to leave India in 1947? ›

World War II had severely damaged the British Empire in terms of economy. To cut their losses they were forced to relinquish many of their colonies.

Why was the British Army in India? ›

As it grew, it needed to secure its Indian settlements from European rivals and hostile locals. It purchased land from Indian rulers and recruited troops to protect these 'Presidencies'. Eventually, these forces evolved into the Bengal, Bombay and Madras Armies.

Why did British need army in India? ›

The British needed a large army to secure their interests and fulfill their objective of achieving territorial control over areas where they conducted their trade. They needed to defend their factories and trading posts and expand their trade. Achieving political control was necessary to fulfill this aim.

How was India treated under British power? ›

India lost its independence not even to a government but to a private company: the notorious British East India Company, which extended its control over a sizable share of the country through both manipulation and brutality — and conducted its theft by taxing the natives and forcibly extracting their resources.

Who were recruited for the British Army from India? ›

After the Revolt of 1857 in India, the British recruited the soldiers in the British Indian Army from Punjabi, Gurkha and Pathan communities on a large scale and declared them as martial communities.

When did British Army leave India? ›

British Troops in India, moved to Bombay on zznd December, and on 1st January, 1948, General Whistler took over responsibility for the final withdrawal of British personnel from the country.

When did British came to India? ›

The British landed on the Indian Subcontinent at the port of Surat on August 24, 1608 AD for the purpose of trade, but after 7 years British got royal order (i.e. Farman) to establish a factory at Surat under the leadership of Sir Thomas Roe (Ambassador of James I).

How were the Indian soldiers ill treated by the British? ›

The Indians were racially discriminated by the British. The Indian sepoys had lesser salary when compared to their British counterparts. For promotions too, British soldiers were always given preference.

Who was the Indian soldier who killed the British in 1857? ›

Mangal Pandey, (born July 19, 1827, Akbarpur, India—died April 8, 1857, Barrackpore), Indian soldier whose attack on British officers on March 29, 1857, was the first major incident of what came to be known as the Indian, or Sepoy, Mutiny (in India the uprising is often called the First War of Independence or other ...

What are Indian soldiers called? ›

Sepoy | Indian soldier | Britannica.

What happened when the British left India in 1947? ›

In August, 1947, when, after three hundred years in India, the British finally left, the subcontinent was partitioned into two independent nation states: Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.

What were two main reasons that the British granted independence to India? ›

Answer and Explanation: The main reason that the British granted independence to India was the decades-long protest movement lead by Mahatma Gandhi. The second reason was the weakening of British military and economic power that occurred after World War II. India was granted independence in 1947.

Why did Britain split India into two countries in 1947? ›

Crudely, this was a division based upon religious affiliation, with the creation of a Muslim majority in West and East Pakistan and a Hindu majority in India.

Who told the British to leave India? ›

On 20 February, 1947, Clement Attlee, the then British Prime Minister, announced in the British Parliament's House of Commons that the British would leave India by 30 June, 1948.

Who gave freedom to India from British? ›

Years of nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU, eventually resulted in Indian independence in 1947.

Why did the British abandon India? ›

The British did not stay in India because their position had become untenable because World War II had destroyed its economy to such an extent that it did not have the resources to maintain its colonies.

How long did British rule India? ›

The British Raj (/rɑːdʒ/; from Hindi rāj: kingdom, realm, state, or empire) was the rule of the British Crown on the Indian subcontinent; it is also called Crown rule in India, or Direct rule in India, and lasted from 1858 to 1947.

Why were the Indians unhappy about the Army system of British? ›

Sepoys were angry with the British because: They were paid low wages. British did not respect their religion. They were asked to open the cartridge with their teeth, which was believed to be made of cow's and pig's flesh which triggered the sepoys.

Why were the Indian soldiers not happy with the British government? ›

The Indian soldiers in the British army were unhappy. They were not allowed to wear their traditional and religious symbols and head gears. They were paid a meagre salary and had no promotion options.

How did the British became powerful in India? ›

Robert Clive, who led the company's 3,000-person army, became Bengal's governor and began collecting taxes and customs, which were then used to purchase Indian goods and export them to England. The company then built on its victory and drove the French and Dutch out of the Indian subcontinent.

Where is India mentioned in the Bible? ›

India is mentioned in Esther 1:1 and 8:9 as the eastern boundary of the Persian Empire under Ahasuerus (c. fifth century B.C.) and in 1 Maccabees 6:37 in a reference to the Indian mahouts of Antiochus's war elephants (second century B.C.). Otherwise there are no explicit references to India in the Old Testament.

What was India called before the British? ›

Jambudvīpa (Sanskrit: जम्बुद्वीप, romanized: Jambu-dvīpa, lit. 'berry island') was used in ancient scriptures as a name of India before Bhārata became the official name. The derivative Jambu Dwipa was the historical term for India in many Southeast Asian countries before the introduction of the English word "India".

How many Indians were killed by British? ›

The British colonialism in India led to the death of over 100 million people in 4 decades from 1880 to 1920, the peak of British imperialism, a new study published in the journal World Development said.

Who fought with British first in India? ›

The first biggest strike from the British on India was the defeat of the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-daulah, at the hands of Robert Clive in the Battle of Plassey in 1757.

How many Indians joined the British army? ›

A Connected Histories project estimated that the British Indian Army amounted to 1.4 million troops, with 430,000 Muslims serving alongside more than 800,000 Hindus and 100,000 Sikhs, as well as Christians and others. The Muslim soldiers were recruited from regions such as the Punjab, Bengal and Kashmir.

What is the oldest age you can join the British army? ›

Age. You must be at least 17 years and 9 months when you apply. You can apply to join the Army until the day before your 50th birthday (for Reserve Soldier) and 48 years and 9 months for Officer Roles. There are higher age limits for some specialist roles, and ex-Regular Rejoiners.

Did India exist before the British? ›

It was argued that India was previously not one country at all, but a thoroughly divided land mass. It was the British empire, so the claim goes, that welded India into a nation. Winston Churchill even remarked that before the British came, there was no Indian nation. “India is a geographical term.

How many soldiers are there in Indian Army in 1947? ›

In the meantime, demobilization had commenced with vigour, and by June 1947 the active strength of the Army stood at some 500,000. Finally, 400,000 men, and countrywide movable and immovable assets were shared under a complicated scheme supervised by a British presence in the form of a Supreme Headquarters.

How many British soldiers were in India? ›

By the early 19th century, the Company's army was 250,000-strong, larger than that of many nations. The officers were British and there were several regiments composed only of Europeans.

How many British soldiers invade India? ›

In 1939 the British Indian Army numbered 205,000 men. It took in volunteers and by 1945 was the largest all-volunteer force in history, rising to over 3.35 million men.

What was the ratio of British troops in India? ›

The number of British troops in India was never very large with the British in the ratio as low as four thousand. The ratio of British to Indian troops was fixed roughly one ratio two (1:2) instead of One ratio five (1:5).

When did the British Army leave India? ›

British Troops in India, moved to Bombay on zznd December, and on 1st January, 1948, General Whistler took over responsibility for the final withdrawal of British personnel from the country.

How many years did British ruled India? ›

The British Raj (/rɑːdʒ/; from Hindi rāj: kingdom, realm, state, or empire) was the rule of the British Crown on the Indian subcontinent; it is also called Crown rule in India, or Direct rule in India, and lasted from 1858 to 1947.

Was India a rich country before British rule? ›

India was the one of the largest economies in the world, for about two and a half millennia starting around the end of 1st millennium BC and ending around the beginning of British rule in India.

How many Britishers died in India? ›

Somewhere between 6,000 and 40,000 British soldiers and civilians were killed in the violence and an estimated 800,000 Indians were killed in the quelling of the rebellion and its aftermath.

Why did Indians fight in the British army? ›

The lieutenant formed part of the largest volunteer army in the world, 2.5m men from undivided India – what is today India, Pakistan and Bangladesh – who served the British during World War II. They were fighting for Britain at a time when the struggle for India's freedom from British rule was at its most incendiary.

Is Indian military stronger than British? ›

Indian military strength lags China, US but better than UK, Japan.

When did British come to India? ›

The British first landed in India in Surat for the purpose of trade. Here's how and why a simple trading company, the British East India Company, became one of the biggest challenges the subcontinent had ever dealt with. By India Today Web Desk: The British landed in India in Surat on August 24, 1608.

How many British were living in India? ›

At its height in 1947, the British population in India (including their descendents) numbered ~800,000. This community dwindled rapidly after India's Independence.

Which was the first British Army unit to serve in India? ›

The British Army unit, '39th Regiment of Foot' was given the motto 'Primus in Indis' because it was the first to serve in India.

How much of Britain is Indian? ›

Population. According to the 2021 Census, Indians in England & Wales enumerated 1,864,318, or 3.1% of the population. The 2011 United Kingdom census recorded 1,451,862 residents of Indian ethnicity, accounting for 2.3 per cent of the total UK population (not including those of mixed ethnic backgrounds).


1. Royal Indian Naval Mutiny: the last nail in the coffin of British colonialism in India | UPSC CSE
(StudyIQ IAS)
2. The British East India Company - Findmypast Live 7 Aug 2020 | Findmypast
3. What if the British Commonwealth was a Superpower?
4. Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip: The Royal Tour of India Pt. 1 (1961) | British Pathé
(British Pathé)
5. WW2 From India's Perspective | Animated History (US Soldier Reacts)
(Just Another Army Vet 2.0)
6. How the New World was Created from the Old World
(Michelle Gibson)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Mr. See Jast

Last Updated: 04/11/2023

Views: 5809

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Mr. See Jast

Birthday: 1999-07-30

Address: 8409 Megan Mountain, New Mathew, MT 44997-8193

Phone: +5023589614038

Job: Chief Executive

Hobby: Leather crafting, Flag Football, Candle making, Flying, Poi, Gunsmithing, Swimming

Introduction: My name is Mr. See Jast, I am a open, jolly, gorgeous, courageous, inexpensive, friendly, homely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.