May 11th, 1857 – Indian Rebels Seize Delhi!

Today-In-History

The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the East India Company‘s army on May 10th, 1857, in the cantonment of the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to present-day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern Madhya Pradesh, and the Delhi region. 

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On May 11th, 1857rebels seized Delhi from the British and posed a considerable threat to East India Company power in that region; it was contained only with the fall of Gwalior on June 20th, 1858. The rebellion is also known as India’s First War of Independence, the Great Rebellion, the Indian Rebellion, the Indian Mutiny, the Revolt of 1857, the Rebellion of 1857, the Uprising of 1857, the Sepoy Rebellion and the Sepoy Mutiny.

Other regions of Company-controlled India, such as Bengal, the Bombay Presidency, and the Madras Presidency, remained largely calm. In Punjab, the Sikh princes backed the Company by providing soldiers and support. The large princely states of Hyderabad, Mysore, Travancore, and Kashmir, as well as the smaller ones of Rajputana, did not join the rebellion. In some regions, such as Oudh, the rebellion took on the attributes of a patriotic revolt against European presence. Maratha leaders, such as Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi, became folk heroes in the nationalist movement in India half a century later; however, they themselves “generated no coherent ideology” for a new order.

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The rebellion led to the dissolution of the East India Company in 1858. It also led the British to reorganize the army, the financial system and the administration in India. The country was thereafter directly governed by the crown as the new British Raj.


 

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