James Andrew Broun Ramsay 1st marquess of Dalhousie

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Dalhousie, James Andrew Broun Ramsay, 1st Marquis and 10th Earl (1812–60). Born at Dalhousie castle, Scotland, he was the son of a commander-in-chief of the Indian army. Politically he was a Peelite and, after serving at the Board of Trade from 1843–5, was appointed governor-general of India in 1848. His period in office was distinguished by its aggressive westernization, which contributed to the Indian mutiny of 1857. He extended the boundaries of British India, annexing the Punjab (1849) and Pegu in Burma (1852) and declaring a doctrine of ‘lapse’ to acquire princely states which failed to produce heirs. He centralized authority within the East India Company state, providing it with a modern system of record-keeping, reporting, and decision-making. He promoted the building of roads, railways, and ports, the extension of western education, and the development of colonial commerce. He resigned exhausted in 1856, the victim of overwork and ill-health.

David Anthony Washbrook

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James Andrew Broun Ramsay Dalhousie, 1st marquess of (dălhōō´zē, –hou´–), 1812–60, British statesman. After serving as president of the Board of Trade (1845–47) he was governor-general of India (1847–56). He annexed the Punjab (1849) after the British victory in the second Sikh War and lower Myanmar (1852) after the second Burma War. He also expanded British control by peaceful methods, annexing seven princely states on the basis of lapse (i.e., when the Indian rulers left no direct male heirs) and one state, Oudh, on the grounds of misgovernment. At the same time Dalhousie developed public works; planned the railway system, with which began heavy British investment in Indian economic development; encouraged western education; and instituted reforms in Hindu social practices, including authorizing the remarriage of widows. Dalhousie's policy of annexation was a factor in the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny, but he must be accounted one of the ablest and most effective governors general of India. He was created marquess in 1849.

See his letters (1910, repr. 1973); biography by W. W. Hunter (1890, repr. 1961); study by M. A. Rahim (1963).