Causes of the Mutiny
There were number of longer term causes such as grievances over how India was being ruled by the East India Company, economic disagreements, and the fact the British were taking over land that belonged to Indians. But the short term trigger was the rebellion of Indian Sepoys (soldiers) against their British officers over religious disagreements.
Events of the Mutiny
There were number of uprisings across the country, triggered by the death of an Indian Sepoy after injuring a British official. This led from the refusal of a number of sepoys to bite into a bullet cartridge (how you used them in the guns they had) as they were covered in pig fat, which was against the religion of most of the soldiers. This disobedience was seen as a huge crime and the British threatened them with death or loss of their roles. This sparked other uprisings across the country.
Outcomes of the Mutiny
The Government of India Act was introduced in 1858 when Parliament took complete control over India and the EIC was abolished. They set up a system of rule in India with Viceroys and they took their orders from the Secretary of State for India, based in Parliament in Britain.
Mutiny or Rebellion
You may hear the rebellion of 1857 described as different things, a mutiny, rebellion or uprising depending on the narrative of what you are reading. It was viewed positively by the Indians as it led to better treatment of them, but negatively by the colonial British powers. All of this is linked to the fact that it is a significant event in British Imperial history.
Significance of the Mutiny
After the rebellion, the new governance of India made sure that they distanced themselves from the Christian missionaries and stopped getting rid of princes and other land rulers. They made sure the army was now mixed, and stopped enforcing things against people’s religions. The parades in India celebrated India’s customs and traditions and the Western technology advances were introduced - laying railway tracks, steamships, and developing industries. Indian education also improved, and they produced Indians who could speak English and who had adopted parts of English culture they liked and kept parts of their own.
- What is a Sepoy?
- Your answer should include: indian / soldier
- Why did the Sepoys refuse to obey orders?
- Your answer should include: bite / pig fat
- Why was the mutiny significant?
- Your answer should include: changes / rule / India / rights / native / Indians