Indian Mutiny

Indian Mutiny
   A serious attempt by rebellious Indian elements in the army of the British East India Company, supported in some areas by civilians, intended to expel the British from the subcontinent. There were a number of underlying causes, but the mutiny was sparked off by the issuing to sepoy troops the Minié rifle cartridge, greased with pork and beef fat, and offensive to Muslims and Hindus, respectively. The mutiny began at Meerut in May 1857 and quickly spread across northern and central India, leading to the general massacre of British troops and civilians. After the initial shock, the British marched to besiege Delhi, taken by the rebels, and to relieve Lucknow, which contained a small British military and civilian garrison. Sir Henry Havelock, with 2,500 troops, reached Lucknow on September 25, but was unable to relieve the city until Sir Colin Campbell arrived with reinforcements in November. The small British force before Delhi, despite constant rebel sorties and intense heat, managed to maintain a loose siege of the capital before successfully storming it in mid- September. All but sporadic fighting ended with General Rose’s victory at Gwalior in central India in June 1858. Harsh British repression and reprisal Followed.
   See also <>; <>; <>.
    David, Saul. Th e Indian Mutiny, 1857. London, Viking, 2002;
    Harris, John. The Indian Mutiny. London: Wordsworth Editions, 2000;
    Ward, Andrew. Our Bones Are Scattered: The Cawnpore Massacre and the Indian Mutiny of 1857. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1996;
    Watson, Bruce. The Great Indian Mutiny. New York: Praeger, 1991.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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