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united provinces agra oudh

United Provinces of Agra and Oudh

The United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, more commonly the United Provinces, was a province of British India, which existed from 1902 to 1947. It corresponded approximately to the combined regions of the present-day Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. From 1856 to 1902, the region was known as the North-Western Provinces and Oudh.

History

By the 18th century, the once vast Mughal Empire was collapsing, undone by internal dissension and by expansion of the Marathas from the Deccan, the British from Bengal, and the Afghans from Afghanistan. By the middle of the century, present-day Uttar Pradesh was divided between several states: Awadh (Oudh) in the centre and east, ruled by a Nawab who owed allegiance to the Mughal Emperor, but was de facto independent; Rohilkhand in the north, ruled by Afghans; the Marathas, who controlled the Bundelkhand region in the south, and the Mughal Empire, which controlled the entire Doab (the strip of land between the Ganges and Yamuna rivers) and the Delhi region.

In 1765, the combined forces of Awadh and the Mughal Emperor met the British at the Battle of Buxar. The British won, but they did not take any territory; the whole of Awadh was restored to the Nawab, and the Mughal emperor Shah Alam was restored the subas of Allahabad and Kora in the lower Doab, with a British garrison in the fort of Allahabad. Governor-General Warren Hastings later augmented the territory of Awadh by lending the nawab a British army to conquer Rohilkhand in the Rohilla War, and by giving Allahabad and Kora to Awadh on the ground that Shah Alam had placed himself in the power of the Marathas. At the same time the British received the province of Benares from Awadh.

Subsequently no great change took place until the arrival of Lord Wellesley (Governor-General 1797-1805) who acquired a very large accession of territory in two instalments. In 1801 he obtained from the Nawab of Oudh the cession of Rohilkhand, the lower Doab, and the Gorakhpur Division, thus enclosing Awadh on all sides except the north. In 1804, as the result of Lord Lake's victories in the Second Anglo-Maratha War, part of Bundelkhand and the rest of the Doab, including Agra and the guardianship of the old and blind emperor, Shah Alam, at Delhi, were obtained from Scindia. In 1815 the Kumaon Division was acquired after the Gurkha War, and a further portion of Bundelkhand from the Maratha Peshwa in 1817. These new acquisitions, known as the ceded and conquered provinces, continued to be administered by the governor-general as part of Bengal. In 1833 an act of Parliament was passed to constitute a new presidency (province), with its capital at Agra. But this scheme was never fully carried out, and in 1835 another statute authorized the appointment of a lieutenant-governor for the North-Western Provinces, as they were then known.

The North-Western Provinces included the Delhi and Gurgaon territories, transferred later, after the Revolt of 1857 to the Punjab; and also (after 1853) the Saugor and Nerbudda Territories, which in 1861 became part of the Central Provinces. Awadh remained under its nawab, who was permitted to assume the title of king in 1819. Awadh was annexed in 1856 and constituted a separate chief commissionership. Then followed the Revolt of 1857, when all signs of British rule were for a time swept away throughout the greater part of the two provinces. The lieutenant-governor died when shut up in the fort at Agra, and Oudh was only reconquered after several campaigns lasting for eighteen months.

In 1877 the offices of lieutenant-governor of the North-Western Provinces and chief commissioner of Oudh were combined in the same person; and in 1902, when the new name of United Provinces of Agra and Oudh was introduced, the title of chief commissioner was dropped, though Oudh still retained some marks of its former independence. In 1935, the name of the province was shortened to the United Provinces. The Raj province became Uttar Pradesh state after India's independence on January 26, 1950.

Geography

The Provinces were bounded on the north by Tibet, and on the north-east by Nepal; on the east and south-east by the Champaran, Saran, Shahabad, and Palamau Districts of Bengal; on the south by two of the Chota Nagpur States in the Central Provinces, Rewah and some small States in the Central India Agency, and Saugor District in the Central Provinces; on the west by the States of Gwalior, Dholpur, and Bharatpur, the Districts of Gurgaon, Delhi, Karnal, and Ambala in the Punjab, and the Punjab States of Sirmur and Jubbal. The Jumna river formed part of the western boundary, the Ganges part of the southern, and the Gandak part of the eastern; other boundaries are artificial. According to the District surveys the areas of the two Provinces are, in square miles: Agra, 83,198; Oudh, 23,966; total, 107,164. Including some river-beds which form District boundaries and are excluded from the District details, the total area amounts to 107,494 square miles. The area of the two Native States in the Provinces (Rampur and Tehri) is 5,079 square miles more. A Presidency of Agra was first formed in 1834, up to which date the area then separated had been included in the Presidency of Bengal, being sometimes called the Western Provinces. The United Provinces included four distinct tracts of country namely, portions of the Himalayas, the sub-Himalayan tracts, the great Gangetic plain, and portions of the hill systems of Central India.

References

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