UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Feb 11

11 February 1856

The Kingdom of Awadh was annexed by the East India Company.

What happened?

The Kingdom of Awadh was annexed by the British East India Company under the Doctrine of Lapse on grounds of alleged misrule.

Annexation of Awadh was an important event in modern Indian history. It is important to know about such events for the UPSC exam. In today’s article, you can read about the annexation of Awadh by the East India Company for IAS exam.


  • The Kingdom of Awadh (Oudh) was a princely state in the Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh. It was under the Mughal Empire and in 1732, the Subahdar Nawab of Awadh, Saadat Khan asserted his sovereignty and started a hereditary polity in Awadh.
  • He was succeeded by his nephew and son-in-law Safdar Jang. Awadh was a prosperous state and the East India Company was interested in this region.
  • After the Battle of Buxar, in which the combined armies of the Nawab of Awadh (Shuja-ud-daulah), the Nawab of Bengal and the Mughal Emperor was defeated by the British, the British established themselves as the chief power throughout the region.
  • In 1765, the Treaty of Allahabad was signed in lieu of which the company was to receive Rs.50 lakh from Awadh, get possession of Allahabad district, and be allowed to trade freely in Awadh. In return, both the parties were to help each other in case of war with any other power.
  • In May 1816 the Kingdom of Awadh became a British protectorate.
  • Wajid Ali Shah was the Nawab of Awadh from 1822. He was the tenth Nawab and was to be the final one.
  • He was an accomplished poet and playwright and a patron of the fine arts. He was not a bad administrator but the British resident at Awadh gave a damning report of his administration. The British were hoping to annex the kingdom on some pretext or the other. As per Dalhousie’s Doctrine of Lapse, the British would annex a kingdom if there was misrule also.
  • Accordingly, the Kingdom of Awadh was annexed without bloodshed in February 1856. Wajid Ali Shah was exiled to Calcutta where he lived the remainder of his life.
  • Awadh played an important part in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Wajid Ali Shah’s son joined hands with the rebels. The British lost control of the kingdom for a brief while but regained in 18 months.
  • After that, the region was merged with the North Western Frontier Province and called the North Western Frontier Province and Oudh.
  • It was renamed United Provinces of Agra and Oudh in 1902. In 1904, it was renamed the Agra Province in the United Provinces.
Also on this day

1942: Death of Jamnalal Bajaj, founder of the Bajaj group.

1968: Death of Deendayal Upadhyaya, social worker and politician.

1990: Nelson Mandela was released from prison in South Africa after 27 years.


See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.