Central India Campaign (1858)

Central India Campaign (1858)

Central India Campaign (1858)

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The Central India Campaign was one of the last series of actions in the Indian rebellion of 1857, (also known as the First Indian War of Independence or Indian Mutiny). A small British and Indian Army (from the Bombay Presidency) overcame a disunited collection of states in a single rapid campaign, although determined rebels continued a guerilla campaign for another year.

Outbreak of the Rebellion

The area known to the British at the time as Central India is now occupied by parts of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan states. In 1857, it was administered as the Central India Agency and consisted of six large and almost 150 small states, nominally under Maratha or Mogul princes, but actually controlled to a greater or lesser degree by Residents or Commissioners appointed by the British East India Company. Opposition to British control centred on Jhansi, where the Rani Lakshmi Bai, widow of the last prince, opposed the British annexation of the state under the notorious doctrine of lapse.

The loyalty of the Indian soldiers (sepoys) of the East India Company's Bengal Army had been under increasing strain over the previous decade, and on May 10, 1857, the sepoys at Meerut, north of Delhi, broke into open rebellion. News of this outbreak spread rapidly, and most other units of the Bengal Army also rebelled.

Nine regiments of Bengal Native Infantry and three of cavalry were stationed in Central India. There was also a large Gwalior Contingent, raised largely from Oudh (or Awadh) and...
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