The Revolt of 1857

The Revolt of 1857


The Revolt of 1857, also known as the First War of Indian Independence or the Sepoy Mutiny, was a significant uprising against British colonial rule in India. It played a crucial role in shaping India's struggle for independence.


Causes of the Revolt:

Causes of the Revolt 1857

Immediate Triggers:

Mangal Pandey Incident: In March 1857, Mangal Pandey, a sepoy in Barrackpore, revolted against the use of the new rifle cartridges and attacked British officers. He was subsequently hanged, becoming a symbol of resistance.

Discontent among Sepoys:

The sepoys (Indian soldiers in the British East India Company's army) were discontented due to low pay, long periods of service, and concerns about religious practices.

Social and Economic Factors:

The British policies led to the economic exploitation of Indian peasants and artisans, causing widespread poverty and discontent.

Cultural and Religious Sensitivities:

The British administration's disregard for Indian customs and traditions, such as the introduction of the new Enfield rifle cartridges greased with animal fat, which offended both Hindu and Muslim soldiers.


Spread of the Revolt:

The revolt started in Meerut on May 10, 1857, when a group of sepoys refused to use the new cartridges and killed British officers. It quickly spread to other parts of northern and central India, including Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Jhansi, and Awadh.


Leaders of the Revolt:

Bahadur Shah II: The last Mughal emperor, he became a symbol of the revolt and was proclaimed the Emperor of India by the rebels. He was captured by the British and later exiled to Rangoon, where he died.


Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi: She was the queen of the princely state of Jhansi and a prominent figure in the revolt. She led her forces against the British and became a symbol of women's participation in the struggle.


Kunwar Singh: He was a notable leader from Bihar and played a crucial role in organizing resistance against the British in the region. He is known for his guerrilla warfare tactics.


Nana Sahib: A prominent figure in Kanpur, he was the adopted son of the former Peshwa Baji Rao II. He led the rebellion in Kanpur and Cawnpore (now Kanpur) and is remembered for his role in the uprising.


Tantia Tope: He was a skilled military strategist who played a key role in various battles during the revolt. He supported the leadership of Nana Sahib and Rani Lakshmibai.


Begum Hazrat Mahal: She was the wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh and a strong leader in Lucknow. She played a significant role in leading the resistance against the British in Awadh.


Mangal Pandey: He is often considered one of the initial sparks of the revolt due to his rebellion against the use of the new cartridges in Barrackpore.


Spread and Suppression:

The revolt witnessed intense battles and sieges in various places. The rebels briefly captured Delhi, and the British forces faced significant resistance in cities like Lucknow and Kanpur.

The British managed to suppress the revolt through military action and strategic alliances with local rulers who were not supportive of the uprising.


Places of Revolt

Indian Leaders

British Officials suppressed the Revolt


Bahadur Shah II

John Nicholson


Khan Bahadur Khan

Sir Colin Campbell


Begum Hazrat Mahal

Henry Lawrence


Nana Saheb

Sir Colin Campbell


Rani Lakshmi Bai

General Hugh Rose

Allahabad and Banaras

Maulvi Liyakat Ali

Colonel Oncell


Kunwar Singh

William Taylor


The failure of the revolt led to significant changes in British policies and governance in India.

The British Crown took over control from the East India Company, and India came under direct British rule (beginning the era of the British Raj).

Indians were systematically excluded from administrative and military positions of authority, leading to further resentment and calls for reform.


Impact on Indian Nationalism:

The revolt marked a turning point in India's struggle for independence. It demonstrated the need for a united effort against British rule.

The brutal suppression of the revolt and the subsequent policies of the British government fueled a growing sense of nationalism and resistance among Indians.


The Revolt of 1857 is a complex event with various social, economic, cultural, and political factors at play. It is considered a precursor to the larger and more organized movements that eventually led to India's independence in 1947.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list about the Revolt of 1857

It also known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857 or the First War of Indian Independence.


1. What was the Revolt of 1857?

The Revolt of 1857 was a widespread, armed uprising against British colonial rule in India. It was a major turning point in Indian history and had far-reaching consequences for both India and the British Empire.


2. When did the Revolt of 1857 take place?

The revolt began in May 1857 and lasted until June 1858, with the most intense phase occurring in 1857 itself.


3. What were the main causes of the Revolt of 1857?

There were several underlying causes, including discontent among Indian soldiers (sepoys) due to issues like low pay, racial discrimination, and the use of animal fat in the cartridges of the new Enfield rifles. Social, economic, and religious factors also played a role.


4. Who were the key figures in the Revolt of 1857?

Prominent leaders included Bahadur Shah II (the last Mughal emperor), Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, Kunwar Singh, Nana Sahib, and many others who led rebellions in different parts of India.


5. How did the Revolt of 1857 start?

The revolt began in Meerut when a group of sepoys refused to use the new cartridges due to religious concerns and were subsequently court-martialed. This led to a larger rebellion that quickly spread to other parts of North India.


6. What were the major centers of the revolt?

The revolt had significant uprisings in places like Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Jhansi, and Bihar. It spread to various regions of North and Central India.


7. Was the Revolt of 1857 successful?

No, the revolt was eventually suppressed by the British forces. However, it had a profound impact on British policies in India and marked the beginning of a more concerted Indian nationalist movement.


8. How did the British respond to the revolt?

The British responded with a combination of military force and political maneuvers. They managed to suppress the revolt and then undertook significant political and administrative changes in India, including the formal end of the Mughal Empire.


9. What were the consequences of the Revolt of 1857?

The immediate consequence was the strengthening of British control over India and the formal end of the Mughal dynasty. It also led to changes in the administration, including the transfer of power from the East India Company to the British Crown.


10. How did the Revolt of 1857 influence India's struggle for independence?

The revolt laid the groundwork for future Indian nationalist movements. It brought to the forefront issues of Indian identity, freedom, and resistance to colonial rule, which continued to inspire generations of Indian leaders.


11. What role did religion play in the revolt?

Religious factors were significant, as many Indians believed that their religious practices were being undermined by British policies. The use of animal fat in rifle cartridges, which offended both Hindus and Muslims, acted as a trigger for the revolt.


12. Why is the Revolt of 1857 also called the First War of Indian Independence?

This term reflects the perspective of many Indians who view the revolt as a significant step towards achieving independence from British colonial rule.


13. How is the Revolt of 1857 remembered in India today?

The revolt is remembered as a symbol of India's struggle against foreign domination. It's commemorated in various ways, including through monuments, literature, and cultural events.



Solve: MCQ on Revolt of 1857

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