Why Was India Called the "Jewel in the Crown"?

india-called-jewel-crown Credit: Meena Kadri/CC-BY 2.0

India's wealth and rich resources made it the most valuable territory claimed by the British Empire, hence the "jewel" of the Empire. India inherited the title "Jewel in the crown" sometime after the original "jewel," the American colonies, won their independence.

The British East India Company turned over all its Indian holdings to the British Crown in 1858 after the Indian Great Uprising of 1857. This created an empire encompassing 20 percent of the land mass on Earth. While the climate, foreign diseases and a sometimes rebellious population were hard on the British citizens who administered the subcontinent, the treasure in taxes and trade that poured into Britain from India helped fuel British wealth throughout the Victorian and Edwardian ages.