The Oudh State (//, also Kingdom of Oudh, or Awadh State) was a princely state in the Awadh region of North India until annexation by the British in 1856. Oudh, the now obsolete but once official English-language name of the state, also written historically as Oude, derived from the name of Ayodhya, its first capital.
British State of Oudh (1801–1858)
Mughal Subah of Oudh (1732–1801)
Coat of arms
The Kingdom of Oudh in 1760 (Sapphire blue)
Vassal of the East India Company (1801–1858)
|Government||Mughal State (1732–1816) |
Princely State (1816–1858)
|Saadat Ali Khan I (first)|
|Wajid Ali Shah (last)|
|5 – 25 June 1858|
|3 Mar 1859|
|62,072 km2 (23,966 sq mi)|
As the Mughal Empire declined and decentralized, local governors in Oudh began asserting greater autonomy, and eventually Oudh matured into an independent polity governing the fertile lands of the Central and Lower Doab. With the British East India Company entering Bengal and decisively defeating Oudh at the Battle of Buxar in 1764, Oudh fell into the British orbit.
The capital of Oudh was in Faizabad, but the British Agents, officially known as "residents", had their seat in Lucknow. The Nawab of Oudh, one of the richest princes, paid for and erected a Residency in Lucknow as a part of a wider programme of civic improvements.
Oudh joined other Indian states in an upheaval against British rule in 1858 during one of the last series of actions in the Indian rebellion of 1857. In the course of this uprising detachments of the British Indian Army from the Bombay Presidency overcame the disunited collection of Indian states in a single rapid campaign. Determined rebels continued to wage sporadic guerrilla clashes until the spring of 1859. This rebellion is also historically known as the Oudh campaign.
Saadat Ali Khan I was appointed Nawab of Oudh on 9 September 1722, succeeding Girdhar Bahadur. He immediately subdued the autonomous Shaikhzadas of Lucknow and Raja Mohan Singh of Tiloi, consolidating Oudh as a state. In 1728, Oudh further acquired Varanasi, Jaunpur and surrounding lands from the Mughal noble Rustam Ali Khan and established stable revenue collection in that province after quelling the chief of Azamgarh, Mahabat Khan.:44 In 1739 Saadat Khan mobilized Oudh to defend against Nader Shah's invasion of India, ultimately being captured in the battle of Karnal. He attempted to cooperate with Nader Shah, but died at Delhi.
In 1740, his successor Safdar Jang moved the capital of the state from Ayodhya to Faizabad. Safdar Jang gained recognition from Persia after paying tribute. He continued Saadat Khan's expansionist policy, promising military protection to Bengal in exchange for the forts at Rohtasgarh and Chunar, and annexing portions of Farrukhabad with Mughal military aid which was ruled by Muhammad Khan Bangash.
As regional officials asserted their autonomy in Bengal and the Deccan as well as with the rise of the Maratha Empire, the rulers of Oudh gradually affirmed their own sovereignty. Safdar Jang went as far as to control the ruler of Delhi, putting Ahmad Shah Bahadur on the Mughal throne with the cooperation of other Mughal nobility. In 1748 he gained the subah of Allahabad with Ahmad Shah's official support. This was arguably the zenith of Oudh's territorial span.:132 :193
The next nawab, Shuja-ud-Daula, further extended Oudh's control of the Mughal emperor. He was appointed vazir to Shah Alam II in 1762 and offered him asylum after his failed campaigns against the British in the Bengal War.
Since Oudh was located in a prosperous region, the British East India Company soon took notice of the affluence in which the Nawabs of Oudh lived. British dominance was established at the Battle of Buxar of 1764, when the East India Company defeated the alliance between the nawab of Oudh Shuja-ud-Daula and the deposed nawab of Bengal Mir Kasim.:25 The battle was a turning point for the once rising star of Oudh. The immediate effect was British occupation of the fort at Chunar and the cession of the provinces of Kora and Allahabad to Mughal ruler Shah Alam II under the Treaty of Benares (1765). Shaja-ud-Daula further had to pay 5 million rupees as an indemnity, which was paid off in one year.:158:252 The long-term result would be direct British interference in the internal state matters of Oudh, useful as a buffer state against the Marathas. The treaty also granted British traders special privileges and exemptions from many customs duties, which led to tensions as British monopolies were established.
Under the leadership of Warren Hastings, the Treaty of Benares (1773) sold the Mughal provinces of Kora and Allahabad, over which the British held de facto control, back to Oudh for 5 million rupees, increased the cost of Company mercenaries, and aided Oudh militarily in the First Rohilla War to expand it as a buffer state against Maratha interests.:65:75 This move was unpopular among the rest of Company leadership.
In 1801, Saadat Ali Khan II ceded further land in Rohilkhand and the Lower Doab under the pressure of Lord Wellesley to the British in lieu of the annual tribute. The cession halved the size of the polity.
The kingdom became a British protectorate in May 1816 (However, the state was an unofficial British protectorate since 1764). Three years later, in 1819, the ruler of Oudh took the style of padshah (king), signaling formal independence under the advice of the Marquis of Hastings.
Throughout the early 1800s until annexation, several areas were gradually ceded to the British.
On 7 February 1856 by order of Lord Dalhousie, General of the East India Company, the king of Oudh (Wajid Ali Shah) was deposed, and its kingdom was annexed to British India under the terms of the Doctrine of lapse on the grounds of alleged internal misrule.
Between 5 July 1857 and 3 March 1858 there was an upheaval by the son of the deposed king joining the Indian Rebellion of 1857. At the time of the rebellion, the British lost control of the territory; they reestablished their rule over the next eighteen months, during which time there were massacres such as those that had occurred in the course of the Siege of Cawnpore.
After Oudh's territory was merged with the North Western Provinces, it formed the larger province of North Western Provinces and Oudh. In 1902, the latter province was renamed the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, and in 1904 the region within the new United Provinces, corresponding to the former North Western Provinces and Oudh, was renamed the Agra Province.
The first ruler of Oudh State belonged to the Shia Muslim Sayyid Family and descended of Musa al-Kadhim originated from Nishapur. But the dynasty also belonged from the paternal line to the Kara Koyunlu through Qara Yusuf. They were renowned for their secularism and broad outlook.
All rulers used the title of 'Nawab'.
- 1732 – 19 Mar 1739 Borhan al-Molk Mir Mohammad Amin (b. c.1680 – d. 1739) Musawi Saʾadat ʾAli Khan I
- 19 Mar 1739 – 28 Apr 1748 Abu'l Mansur Mohammad Moqim Khan (1st time) (b. c.1708 – d. 1754)
Nawab Wazir al-Mamalik
- 28 Apr 1748 – 13 May 1753 Abu'l Mansur Mohammad Moqim Khan (s.a.) (acting to 29 Jun 1748)
- 5 Nov 1753 – 5 Oct 1754 Abu'l Mansur Mohammad Moqim Khan (s.a.) (2nd time)
- 5 Oct 1754 – 15 Feb 1762 Jalal ad-Din Shojaʾ ad-Dowla (b. 1732 – d. 1775) Haydar
Nawab Wazir al-Mamalik
- 15 Feb 1762 – 26 Jan 1775 Jalal ad-Din Shojaʾ ad-Dowla (s.a.) Haydar
- 26 Jan 1775 – 21 Sep 1797 Asaf ad-Dowla Amani (b. 1748 – d. 1797)
- 21 Sep 1797 – 21 Jan 1798 Mirza Wazir ʾAli Khan (b. 1780 – d. 1817)
- 21 Jan 1798 – 11 Jul 1814 Yamin ad-Dowla Nazem al-Molk (b. bf.1752 – d. 1814) Saʾadat ʾAli Khan II Bahadur
- 11 Jul 1814 – 19 Oct 1818 Ghazi ad-Din Rafaʾat ad-Dowla (b. 1769 – d. 1827) Abul-Mozaffar Haydar Khan
King (Padshah-e Awadh, Shah-e Zaman)
- 19 Oct 1818 – 19 Oct 1827 Ghazi ad-Din Moʾizz ad-Din (s.a.) Abu'l-Mozaffar Haydar Shah
- 19 Oct 1827 – 7 Jul 1837 Naser ad-Din Haydar Solayman (b. 1803 – d. 1837) Jah Shah
- 7 Jul 1837 – 17 May 1842 Moʾin ad-Din Abu'l-Fath Mohammad (b. 1777 – d. 1842) ʾAli Shah
- 17 May 1842 – 13 Feb 1847 Naser ad-Dowla Amjad ʾAli Thorayya (b. 1801 – d. 1847) Jah Shah
- 13 Feb 1847 – 7 Feb 1856 Naser ad-Din ʾAbd al-Mansur (b. 1822 – d. 1887) Mohammad Wajed ʾAli Shah
- 5 Jul 1857 – 3 Mar 1858 Berjis Qadr (in rebellion) (b. 1845? – d. 1893)
- Nathaniel Middleton 1773–1774
- John Bristow 1774–1776
- Nathaniel Middleton 1776–1779 (second time)
- Purling 1779–1780
- John Bristow 1780–1781 (second time)
- Nathaniel Middleton 1781–1782 (third time)
- John Bristow 1782–1783 (third time)
- Edward Otto Ives 1784–1793
- George Frederick Cherry 1793–1796
- James Lumsden 1796–1799
- William Scott 1799–1804
- John Ulrich Collins 1804–1807
- John Baillie 1807–1815
- Richard Charles Strachey 1815–1817
- J.R. Monckton 1818–1820
- Felix Vincent Raper 1820–1823
- Mordaunt Ricketts 1823–1827
- Thomas Herbert Maddock 1829–1831
- John Low 1831–1842
- James Caulfield (interí) 1839–1841
- William Nott 1841–1843
- George Pollock 1843–1844
- Archibald Richmond 1844–1849?
- Sir William Henry Sleeman 1849–1854
- Sir James Outram 1854–1856
In the early eighteenth century, the population of Oudh was estimated to be 3 million. Oudh underwent a demographic shift in which Lucknow and Varanasi expanded to become metropolises of over 200,000 people over the course of the 18th century at the expense of Agra and Delhi. During this period the land on the banks of the Yamuna suffered frequent dry spells, while the Baiswara did not.:38
Although it was ruled by Muslims, a majority, roughly four fifths, of Oudh's population were Hindus.:155
- Oudh – definition of Oudh in English from the Oxford dictionary
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- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. V 1908, p. 72
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On the contrary the annexation of Oudh in 1856 was viewed by the Muslim elite and the Hindu majority population of Oudh
- Surya Narain Singh (2003). The Kingdom of Awadh. Mittal Publications.