Bengal Presidency

The Bengal Presidency originally comprising east and west Bengal, was a colonial region of the British Empire in South-Asia and beyond it. It comprised areas which are now within Bangladesh, and the present day Indian States of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya, Orissa and Tripura. Penang and Singapore were also considered to be administratively a part of the Presidency until they were incorporated into the Crown Colony of the Straits Settlements in 1867.

Calcutta was declared a Presidency Town of the East India Company in 1699, but the beginnings of the Bengal Presidency proper can be dated from the treaties of 1765 between the East India Company and the Mughal Emperor and Nawab of Oudh which placed Bengal, Meghalaya, Bihar and Orissa under the administration of the Company.

At its height, gradually added, were the annexed princely states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh and portions of Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra in present day India, as well as the provinces of North West Frontier and Punjab, both now in Pakistan, and most of Burma (present day Myanmar).

In 1874 Assam, including Sylhet, was severed from Bengal to form a Chief-Commissionership, and the Lushai Hills were added to that in 1898.

The Presidency of Bengal, unlike those of Madras and Bombay, eventually included all of the British possessions north of the Central Provinces (Madhya Pradesh), from the mouths of the Ganges and Brahmaputra to the Himalayas as well as the Punjab. In 1831, the North-Western Provinces were created, which were subsequently included with Oudh in the United Provinces (Uttar Pradesh). Just before the First World War the whole of Northern India was divided into the four lieutenant-governorships of the Punjab, the United Provinces, Bengal, Eastern Bengal and Assam, and the North-West Frontier Province under a Commissioner.

Read more about Bengal Presidency:  Early History, Administrative Reform and The Permanent Settlement, The 1905 Partition of Bengal

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