Indian Independence Timeline

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1498 - Vasco da Gama discovers the sea route between India and Europe.

The land route between India and Europe was both tiresome and unsafe. Traders were frequently looted by raiders. Hence the European nations were in a race to find the sea route to India. It would reduce travel time and would be far safer. The Portuguese sailor Vasco Da Gama landed in India in the city of Cochin in 1498. This sea route gave paths to other European nations to trade with India. France made its base in Pondicherry, Portugal in Goa, and Britain in Kolkata.

1757 - Battle of Plassey

The East India Company of Britain came to India under the disguise of a trading company. They bought soldiers under the pretense of self-defense and created an army. They waited for the right moment to strike and gain power over weak Indian provinces. One such province was Bengal. In the battle of Plassey, The East India company defeated Bengal. They had governance over the regions of Bengal and Bihar. This was the start of the British Imperial.

1775 - Anglo-Maratha Wars

Anglo-Maratha wars refer to a series of three wars between the Maratha Empire and the East India company. The Maratha empire controlled a major portion of western and central India. The Maratha empire was the last piece of the Indian puzzle.

1799 - Anglo-Mysore wars

In this war, the British defeated the Mysore army led by Tipu Sultan and gained control over the southern Deccan.

1845 - Anglo-Sikh War

The death of Ranjit Singh had left the region of Punjab vulnerable. Thus began the Anglo-Sikh war. Winning this battle proved pivotal to the East India company. The capture of the Sikh region gave access to the large Sikh warrior regiment. The Sikh made for the majority of policemen in India under the East India company.

1848 - First Governor-General of India, Dalhousie was commissioned

Once the region under the East India Company became too vast to be controlled by the East India Company by themselves, they appointed Lord Dalhousie as the first Governor-General of India.

1857 - Sepoy Mutiny

The Hindu and Muslim soldiers of East India company revolted against the EIC when they came to know about the cow and pig fat being used in their cartridges. The revolt started in Bengal with the hanging of Mangal Pandey and spread into Awadh province. The revolt was the first stand against the British by the common man of India. This revolt had no official leadership and no help from other royalties.

1858 - India came under British Monarch

Rani Laxmi Bai, the face of the revolt, dies.
After successfully suppressing the first wave of revolution, East India company

transferred the control of India to British Monarch.

1864 - Sir Syed Ahmed formed a Scientific Society in Gazipur. The objective of the society was to translate scientific books of English and other languages into Indian languages.

1867 - Dadabhai Naroji forms the East India Association. Many smaller associations emerged demanding equal rights and freedom for the Indians.

1874 - The great famine of Bengal happens. The modern-day state of Bihar and parts of Odisha were also impacted by the famine. The East India Company did a great job in relief works. There was hardly any mortality. The Company took the opportunity to improve its public reputation.

1876 - Vernacular Press Act

This act curbed the freedom of press in British-ruled India. It prevented newspapers from printing any criticism towards British governance. Many revolutionaries thus started printing their own local newspapers under disguise to keep the public informed.

1882 - The Hunter Act

The Hunter Act was named after Sir Hunter Williams. He was a civil service officer. The act gave preference to literate individuals even at a lower position of government jobs. It also made many changes in the primary education of British-controlled schools. As a result, authentic local schools died out due to lack of funding.


1885 - Indian National Congress was formed

Indian Civil Service Officer Allan Octavian Hume formed a political party named Indian National Congress. The aim of the party was to bring together English-educated leaders together. These leaders would then justify British governance to the Indian public.

1905 - Partition of Bengal

Following the divide and rule policy, the territory of Bengal was divided into two separate provinces. Eastern Province had a majority of Muslims and Western province had a Hindu majority. This action was not taken lightly by the national leaders. A large boycott of British goods would then force the British to reunite Bengal in 1911.

1906 - The All India Muslim League was formed in the city of Dhaka. Its agenda was to form a separate a different country for the Muslim minorities of India.

1907 - The Indian National Congress party splits into extremists and moderates in the Surat session of 1907.

1909 - The Morley-Minto act increased the number of Indians in the governing council of India.

1911 - The capital of India shifted from Calcutta to Delhi.

1913 - Rabindranath Tagore wins the Nobel prize in literature for his works in ‘Geetanjali’.

1914 - World War One began

World war one began in Europe. Britain was attacked by the allied forces of Germany, Italy, and Hungary. Short on men’s power, Britain deployed over 1.3 million Indian soldiers in the war of which 74000 never made their way back.

1915 - Gandhi returns to India

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a lawyer from Gujarat who was employed by a private firm in South Africa. There he started fighting against Racial discrimination. He worked in South Africa for 25 years. In 1915, he came back to India. He became the most pivotal figure of Indian independence.

1916 - Home Rule League

Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Annie Bessant introduced the Home Rule League movement. The objective of this movement was to empower highly educated Indians so that they can run their own country.

1917 - Champaran Satyagraha

Gandhi’s reputation has followed him back to India. His works in South Africa made the farmers of Champaran call him for aid. The village of Champaran was troubled by the forceful plantation of Indigo. The East India company made them grow indigo at a cheaper price and gave no insurance if the crops died. Mahatma Gandhi traveled to their help. Here he used his well-practiced method of Satyagrah to convince British Government. This was the first civil disobedience movement of India. He convinced the farmers to peacefully follow his instruction. Later he submitted 8000 individual testimonies of farmers to the court. This was the first major win against British governance and gave Gandhi much-needed recognition.

1919 - Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

The people of Amritsar were peacefully protesting against the capture of two nationalist leaders, Satyendra Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew. This was happening on the grounds of Jallianwala bagh. Suddenly the officer in charge, General Dyer ordered his officers to open fire on the protestors. More than 400 people lost their lives in this horrendous massacre.

1920 - Non-cooperation movement

Angered by the Jallianwala bagh incident, Gandhi announced the first-ever nationwide Non-cooperation movement. Under this movement, people were asked to peacefully retire their cooperation with the British. Indian lawyers quit the court, Indian doctors quit the hospital, train drivers stopped trains, and many Indian soldiers quit the British army. This event was utterly successful and forced the British government to write an apology for the Jallianwala Bagh incident.

1922 - Chauri Chaura

As a part of the ongoing non-cooperation, some protestors gathered in the town of Chauri Chaura. The protest turned violent when the police opened fire. Mahatma Gandhi was saddened by the incident and called off the non-cooperation movement.

1923 - Swarajist Party was formed by Motilal Nehru.

1927 - Simon Commission

Simon commission was a team of officers sent to form a report on the working constituency of India. This decision was met with a lot of criticism as no Indian was a part of it. The members of the team were greeted by the slogans of “Simon go back”. One of these protests was led by Lala Lajpat Rai. This protest turned violent and Lala Rajapat Rai lost his life because of the beatings from the police.

1928 - Nehru Report

A committee of nine members led by Motilal Nehru and his son Jawaharlal Nehru created a report named The Nehru report. The focus of the report was to give India a dominion status and have a constitution for governing.

1929 - Bhagat Singh, along with Bukteshwar Dutta threw bombs in the assembly of New Delhi. They also threw the leaflets quoting “It takes a loud noise to make the deaf hear”. They were captured and prisoned.

1930 - Dandi March

The East India Company had a monopoly over salt and heavily taxed it. Mahatma Gandhi decided to protest against it. He walked from his ashram in Sabarmati to the town of Dandi. On his way, he gave speeches and shared his vision. More and more people joined the protest march. On reaching Dandi, he created the salt and broke the law. He also gave eleven more conditions to the British Government to consider.

1929 - Civil Disobedience

When the British government failed to meet the demands of Gandhi, he called out for a nationwide Civil disobedience movement. In this movement, the public was supposed to disobey laws like Salt law. To suppress the movement, Britain offered Gandhi a place in the round table conference.

1931 - Round Table conference

Mahatma Gandhi attained the second round table as the representative of India. Sarojini Naidu represented the Indian women. The conference was held to discuss reforms in Indian governance. It was considered a failure as other political parties like the Muslim league felt left out.
The patriots Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru were hanged at the young age of 23.

1932 - Poona Pact

The Poona pact was an agreement between Dr. Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi to reserve electoral seats for the oppressed class. Gandhi has worked intensively for the betterment of the oppressed class.


1934 - The Civil disobedience movement is called off. To suppress the ongoing unrest Lord Irwin made a pact with Gandhi Ji. The movement was called off and the political prisoners were released.

1937 - Provincial Election

Through this event of the provisional election, India saw the first glimpses of Democracy. Elections were held in eight provinces. Congress emerged as the single largest party under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru. Though all the representatives resigned in 1939 as a protest against Viceroy Linlithgow.

1938 - Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is selected as the new president of the Indian National Congress.

1939 - World War Two began

World war two started with Hitler leading the Axis, an alliance of Italy, Germany, and Japan. The viceroy of India, Linlithgow declared India a part of Britain’s alliance without the consent of the Indian public and leaders. Later, India was declared a neutral and a third-world country.

1940 - Muslim League passed the resolution for a separate country for the Muslim minorities.

1941 - Subhash Chandra Bose escapes India and forms Indian National Army in Burma (Myanmar) with Japanese captured Indian soldiers of the East India Company.

1942 - Quit India Movement

Amidst the world war, the Indian National Congress saw the perfect opportunity to give a final push and overthrow British governance. Under the leadership of Gandhi, Congress started the movement and named it the quit India movement. Gandhi gave the slogan of ‘do or die’. People started taking over government offices and buildings.

1943 - Japan attacks Kolkata

Working closely with Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army, Japanese forces attacked Kolkata port which was a pivot base for Britain. Even the mighty Taj Mahal was put under covers fearing the bombings from the Japanese.

1945 - World War two ends

When world war two ended the labor party came into power in Britain. The Labour party was sympathetic to Indian independence. World War two acted as a catalyst for Indian independence. The loss of manpower and instability in the world economy made it clear that Britain will not be able to keep its hold on India for long. Thus began a long process of shifting power.

1947 - India gains Independence

On the midnight of 15 August 1947, India officially gained independence from Britain. Lord Mountbatten was summoned as the last viceroy of India who would see the transfer of power between the two nations. He decided to create separate countries as a solution to stop communal violence. On one side was Pakistan, a Muslim majority country, and on the other side was India. He gave the princely states free will to choose from either of them. A lot of communal violence happened as families tried to cross the borders. Tens of thousands of lives were lost in the process.  

1948 - Gandhi Ji is assassinated by Nathuram Godse.

1949 - Indian constitution is passed by the elected council members.
1950 - On 26th January 1950, India becomes a republic nation.