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India and the Rebellion of 1857

            In 1857, many native soldiers (also known as sepoys), from the Indian army, rebelled against the British East India Company. This rebellion did not result from just one event, but of several events, which eventually led into many mutinies and civilian rebellions. The events of this rebellion, which is also known as 'India's first war of Independence' should be remembered as it led to permanent changes in how India was governed. This also shows what India was like before and how much the country has changed. It also informs us about the British and Indian attitudes towards each other in the mid-19th century. .
             After the 1857 rebellion, a new royal government that was under the rule of Queen Victoria replaced the East India Company. This meant that they took direct control over the former East India Company's territories and made some negotiations with the Indian Prices to bring them under indirect control. Also the new governor general also took the title of 'viceroy' and was responsible to the Parliament. This seemed to symbolize the new moderation of the government. The new government made significant changes to India and improved the conditions there, making it a more modern country to live in. .
             The new royal government carefully reorganized the Indian Army after 1858 to prevent the recurrence of another revolt. They made changes to the military structure, composition, and the general outlook of the army. The old 'Bengal' army was demolished so new regular forces were brought in. The men who stood in the army at the end of 1859 were very different to those who were in 1857 as the new sepoys were low-caste men who majority were from Punjab. By the end of 1858, 75,000 Punjab men were serving in the army. Also, the ratio of British to India became 2:1 and Indians were prohibited from manning the artillery and from entering certain scientific branches of the army. This was quite a significant change that was brought into India, as there were only twenty minor mutinies from 1858-1947.

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