Difference Between Governor-General and Viceroy

Governors-General and Viceroys were the main administrative cogs of British India who saw to it that the “Jewel in the Crown” of the British Empire. Usually, the two terms are used interchangeably despite being subtly different in nature and function.

Difference Between Governor-General and Viceroy

This article will provide the details to dispel that notion about the Governor-General for the IAS Exam. The PDF note can be downloaded through the link at the end of the article given below.

In the table below we have given in detail the differences between the Governor-General and Viceroy

Differences Between Governor-General and Viceroy



The post of Governor-General of India was created by the passing of the Charter Act of 1833 with William Bentinck  becoming the first Governor-General After the Revolt of 1857, the Government of India Act, 1858 was passed which changed the name Governor-General of India from to Viceroy
The post of Governor-General of India was mainly for administrative purposes and reported to the Court of Directors of the East India Company After 1858, the role of Viceroy and Governor-General of India became one with the Viceroy having diplomatic powers and reported directly to the British Crown
The Governor-General of India was selected by the Court of Directors who were in charge The Viceroy was appointed by the sovereign of the British government under the advice of the Parliament
Time Periods: 1833 – 1858 Time Periods: 1858 – 1948
William Bentinck was the first Governor-General Lord Canning was the first Viceroy
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was the last Governor-General Lord Louis Mountbatten was the last Viceroy
The Dominions and colonies that were held in the name of the parliament of Great Britain were administered by a Governo-General The Colonies that were held in the name of the British Crown were governed by the Viceroy

You can find the list of Governors-General and Viceroys of India through the links given below

You can find out more about the legislation passed in British India, and the role they played in the political scenario of India by visiting the linked article. The following links below will also give you some additional information about the topic.

Lord CanningNCERT Ancient Indian History NotesNCERT Medieval Indian History Notes

NCERT Modern Indian History Notes  Warren Hastings Indian Education System During British Rule

You can find more Difference Between Articles, by visiting the linked page

You can get a general idea of the exam by visiting the UPSC Syllabus page. For more preparation materials refer to the links given below

Governor-General and Viceroy – Download PDF Here

Frequently Asked Questions about Governor-General


When did the title of Viceroy first come into use?

In August 1858, the British parliament passed an act that set an end to the rule of the company. The British Governor-General of India was now also given the title of viceroy which meant the representative of the monarch.

Who is India’s first governor general?

Warren Hastings, (born December 6, 1732, Churchill, near Daylesford, Oxfordshire, England—died August 22, 1818, Daylesford), the first and most famous of the British governors-general of India, who dominated Indian affairs from 1772 to 1785 and was impeached (though acquitted) on his return to England.

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