Themes, Issues and Background
Before the passing of the India Act of 1858, responsibility for the administration of India was in the hands of the East India Company. The final transfer of power from the company to the British Crown was a direct result of the Indian Mutiny of 1857–8, a revolt, originating in the Bengal army, which spread to large parts of upper and central India. British soldiers and their families were cut off in Cawnpore and Lucknow, and those who surrendered at Cawnpore were massacred. Lucknow was relieved by General Havelock in the autumn of 1857, Delhi was taken in September, and peace was proclaimed in July 1858. Reprisals were carried out with considerable ferocity.
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