List of Governors General of India

31 Aug 2022  Read 4643 Views

In 1600 Queen Elizabeth-I sent a troop to India named East India Company(EIC), and in 1765 they won the Battle of Buxar against the Shah Alam emperor, who gave them Diwani or permission to rule over. At this time, Britishers were trying hard to root themselves in India thus, for the same, they used their greatest artillery and armor, The Centralised British Body, which was made through a reporting head called ‘Governor General.’

Till 1833 Governor-General of Bengal, Warren Hastings was the supreme authority of all other state's governor general, but with William Bentinck first Governor General of India was introduced; later, in 1858, under the Government of India Act, the Governor General of India post name was changed to Viceroy of India.

What was the authority of the Governors-General or Viceroy?

Governor General or Viceroy was the supreme face of British administration in the dominion country; the post was mainly created for administrative purposes, the monarch provided executive powers to the Governor General, and most of the powers were centralized within the dominion. 

Difference between Governors- general and Viceroy

A common phrase is used for Great Britain, i.e., ‘the empire on which the sun never sets’ because it had many territories; once, when the British sent its troop to the west to form its colony, the troop backstabbed them and continued their life as the west people. Therefore, the British crown decided to increase the answerability of troops to direct the British crown. Thus, EIC and governor-general posts dissolved, and British crown rule started so did Viceroys regime Both of these posts headed the state during the British rule with a subtle difference as below:- 

  •  Governor general post was created by Regulating act of 1833 and was recruited by the court of Directors of East India Company, whereas the viceroy post was created by the Government of India in 1858 and was directly controlled by the British government under the advice of the parliament.

  •  India was a colony in the name of the parliament of Great Britain during the governor general regime, and during Viceroy, it was in the name of the British Crown  

  • Governor General rule was from 1833 to 1858, later with the first war of independence, the post was dissolved, and then came Viceroy of India from 1858 to 1948 

List of Governors-General or Viceroy In India 

Governors General or viceroys 


Acts and work done by them 

Warren Hastings


  • Regulating Act of 1773 – centralized functioning, the supreme court was introduced 

  • Amending act of 1781

  • Pitts India act 1784 – dual government system 

Lord Cornwallis


  • Act of 1786 & 1793

  • Treaty of seringapatm 1792

Lord Wellesley


  • Subsidiary alliance system 1798

Lord Minto 


  • Charter act of 1813 

Lord  Hastings


  • Ryotwari system 1820 

Lord Amherst


  • First Burmese war 1824

Lord William Bentinck 


  • Charter act of 1833

Lord Auckland 


  • First afghan war 1838

Lord Hardinge 


  • Treaty of Lahore 1846

Lord Dalhousie


  • Charter act of 1853- open exams for Indian 

Lord Canning 


  • The first war of independence 1858

  • Government of India act 1858 - Dissolution of EIC and crown rule started 

  • India council act 1861 –decentralization started 

Lord John Lawrence


  • New high courts at Calcutta Bombay and madras 1865

Lord Lytton 


  • The vernacular press act 1878 

  • The arms act 1878 

Lord Ripon 


  • The first factory act 1881 

  • Repeal of vernacular press act 1882

Lord Dufferin 


  • Establishment of congress 

Lord Lansdowne


  • Indian council act 1892 

  • Setting up of Durand Commission 1893 

Lord Curzon 


  • Appointment of police commission 1902

Lord Minto II


  • Father of communalism 

  • Swadeshi movements 1905

  • Indian council act of 1909

Lord HardingeII


  • Transfer of capital from Calcutta to Delhi 1911

Lord Chelmsford


  • Montague Chelmsford reforms 1919- introduced diarchy and bicameralism 

  • Rowlatt act 1919

  • Jallianwalla bagh 1919

Lord Reading



Lord Irwin 


  • Simon commission1927 

  • First round table conference 

Lord Willingdon 


  • Second and third round table conference

  • Poona pact 1932

  • Government of India act of 1935

Lord Linlithgow 


  • Cripps mission 1942

  • Quit India moment 1942

Lord Wavell


  • Cabinet mission 1946

Lord Mountbatten 


  • Redcliff commission 1947 

  • India’s independence in 1947

Chakravarti Rajagopala



  • Only till the constitution was ready 

About the Author: Kirti Bathija | 3 Post(s)

Kirti Bathija is very high in enthusiasm and always inquisitive. She has done her bachelors in art in subjects English economics and geography, also she is a law aspirant. During her preparation, she realized that current affairs interest her a lot so, she is motivated to write articles on legal- contemporary issues as well.


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