List of Governors-General of India

British territories were broadly divided into administrative units called Presidencies. There were three Presidencies: Bengal, Madras and Bombay. Each was ruled by a Governor. The supreme head of the administration was the Governor-General. Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General, introduced several administrative reforms, notably in the sphere of justice.

List of Governors-General of India
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This article will inform you about all the relevant information about the first Governor-General of Bengal, various Governors-General of India, their achievements, and the major reforms that took place during their tenure as the Governors-General or viceroys of India. This topic is covered in the general awareness section of most of the competitive exams including the IAS Exam.

General awareness often ignored by the candidates is an important part of any entrance exam. Around 25% of the exam paper features questions based on general awareness and current affairs. Like Governor-General of India, there are more such topics from Indian history that is covered in the UPSC exam and also hold relevance in major competitive examinations.

Know the UPSC Syllabus in detail on the linked page. 

Governor-General of India & Important Events

The first Governor-General of Bengal was Warren Hastings with tenure of office from 1772-1785. Warren Hastings was an English statesman, the head of the Supreme Council of Bengal. He brought an end to the Dual Government system by enforcing the Regulating Act of 1773. He founded the Calcutta Madrasa for the promotion of Islamic studies, and the Asiatic Society of Bengal with William Jones in the year 1781 and 1784 respectively. Hastings was also elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1801.

Charter Act of 1833 made Governor-General of Bengal as Governor-General of British India. And, William Bentick was the first Governor-General of British India. 

More such information on different Viceroys and Governor-General Of India along with the major reforms brought by them are given below in the form of a list. 

Other related links:

UPSC Admit Card  Time Table for UPSC Preparation
UPSC Books UPSC 2023
Documents Required for UPSC Exam Government Exams

List of Governors-General of Bengal

Year Governor-General of Bengal Major Reforms & Events
1772-1785 Warren Hastings First Governor-General of Bengal

End to the dual system of administration

Regulating Act of 1773

Supreme Court at Calcutta

Asiatic Society of Bengal

First Anglo-Maratha War and Treaty of Salbai

First English translation of Bhagavad Gita

Pitt’s India Act-1784

1786-1793 Lord Cornwallis Establishment of Appellate courts and lower grade courts

Establishment of Sanskrit college

Third Anglo-Mysore War and Treaty of Seringapatam

Introduction of Permanent Settlement and civil services

1793-1798 Sir John Shore  Charter act of 1793

Policy of Non-intervention

Battle of Kharda

1798-1805 Lord Wellesley  Introduction of Subsidiary Alliance System

Fourth Anglo- Mysore war and the Treaty of Bassein

Second Anglo – Maratha war

Establishment of Madras presidency

Establishing Fort William College at Calcutta

1805-1807 Sir George Barlow The Acting Governor-General of India until the arrival of Lord Minto,

Diminished the area of British territory because of his passion for economy and retrenchment,

The Mutiny of Vellore took place in 1806

1807-1813 Lord Minto I Concluded the treaty of Amritsar with Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1809,

Introduced the Charter Act of 1813

1813-1823 Lord Hastings  The policy of Non-intervention came to an end

third Anglo-Maratha war

Abolition of Peshwaship

Establishment of the Ryotwari System in Madras (By Thomas Munroe) and Bombay

Mahalwari system in north-western Provinces and Bombay

1823-1828  Lord Amherst  The annexation of Assam leading to the first Burmese war of 1824,

The mutiny of Barrackpore in 1824

To complement your preparation for the upcoming exam, check the following links:

Governors-General of India

Year Governors-General of India Major Reforms
1828-1835 Lord William Bentinck First Governor-General of India (Charter Act of 1833 made Governor-General of Bengal as Governor-General of India.)

Abolition of Sati

Suppression of Thugee, infanticide and child sacrifices.

English Education Act of 1835

Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata 

1835-1836 Lord Charles Metcalfe ‘Liberator of the Indian press

detached all restraints on an open press

1836-1842 Lord Auckland Dedicated himself to the improvement of native schools and the expansion of the commercial industry of India

The first Anglo-Afghan war 

1842-1844 Lord Ellenborough Sindh was annexed
1844-1848 Lord Hardinge I First Anglo Sikh War (1845-46)
Lord Dalhousie (Governors-General of India) introduced ‘Doctrine of Lapse

Doctrine of Good

Charles Wood Dispatch

Post Office Act, 1854

1st Railway line connecting Bombay and Thane

Established engineering college in Roorkee

Second Anglo-Sikh War 

First telegraph line

 Establishment of the Public Works Department 

Abolition of titles and pensions.

Started Competitive  examination for Indian Civil Services 

Widow Remarriage Act

1856-1857 Lord Canning Three universities at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay in 1857 were established

Revolt of 1857 took place

Note – Post-1857 Revolt, Governor-General of India was made Viceroy of British India and Canning became the first Viceroy of India/British India.

Note: Aspirants should know about the only Indian Governor-General of India who was CR Gopalachari. India was made a republic in 1950. He was the last governor-general of India, following which the post was abolished.

List of Governors-General of India
Download PDF Here

The information provided on the Viceroys of India, Governors-General of India and first governor General of Bengal is helpful to tackle the tricky general awareness section questions in any competitive exam. 

Government Exam 2024

Frequently Asked Questions on Governor-General of India


Q 1. Who was the first Governor-General of Bengal?

Ans. The first Governor-General of Bengal was Warren Hastings with tenure of office from 1772-1785.

Q 2. Who was the first Governor-General of British India?

Ans. William Bentick was the first Governor-General of British India. It was after the Charter Act of 1833 was passed that the Governor-General of Bengal was made the Governor-General of British India.

Aspirants can also read articles linked below related to modern Indian history:

Simon Commission Indian National Congress Sessions
UPSC FAQ on IAS Exam Rowlatt Act & Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
Quit India Movement Charter Act 1813
Non-Cooperation Movement Government of India Act 1919
Morley Minto Reforms Regulating Act 1773


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  1. Sir I need all pdf notes modern, ancient ,med hist notes which are needed to upsc preparation

  2. Dear sir, I need all the static GK pdf which are needed to prepare for the SSC JE exam.

  3. Who was lord Cornwallis????

    Lord warren hastings – 1st governor of Bengal
    Lord William bentick – 1st gov gen of india
    Lord canning – 1st viceroy of india

    Who was 1st giv gen of india under authority of BOC & COD ???

  4. Lord Canning as the first viceroy is not mentioned? The topic is Governor General and viceroys but no vice Roys are mentioned here? is there a difference between the two posts that is governor general and vice roy