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The Oudh State or Kingdom of Oudh was a princely state in the Awadh region during the British Raj until 1856. Oudh (IPA: /ˈaʊd/),[1] the now obsolete but once official English-language name of the state, also written in British historical texts as 'Oude', derived from the name of Ayodhya.

Oudh State
Princely State of British India

Flag Coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
Location of Oudh
Oudh in 1857
 •  Established 1732
 •  British protectorate 1816
 •  Indian rebellion 1858
 •  1901 62,072 km2 (23,966 sq mi)
 •  c. 1700 3,000,000 
 •  1901 12,833,077 
Density 206.7 /km2  (535.5 /sq mi)
Today part of  India
Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
Portrait of a Bibi, Lucknow 1785

The capital of Oudh State 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.[2]

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.[3]

After the British annexation of Oudh by the Doctrine of Lapse, the North Western Provinces became the North Western Provinces and Oudh.[4]



The Kingdom of Oudh in 1760.

In 1732, under Mughal sovereignty, a senior official of the fragmenting Mughal Empire, Saadat Khan, established a hereditary polity in Oudh. As the power of the Mughals waned, with the rise of nominally autonomous polities in Bengal and the Deccan as well as with the rise of the Maratha Empire, the rulers of Oudh gradually affirmed their own sovereignty. Since the state 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 became apparent 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.[5]:25 The result would be direct British interference in the internal state matters of Oudh, useful as a buffer state. Hastings even aided Oudh militarily against the rebelling Rohilla.[5]:65

The kingdom became a British protectorate in May 1816. 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 ceded to the British.

British annexationEdit

On 7 February 1856 by order of Lord Dalhousie, Governor General of the East India Company, the king of Oudh was deposed, and its kingdom was annexed to British India under the terms of the Doctrine of lapse on the grounds of internal misrule.[6]

Between 5 July 1857 and 3 March 1858 there was a brief upheaval by the son of the deposed king joining the Indian Rebellion of 1857. At the time of the rebellion, the British temporarily 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 (Kanpur).[7][8]

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.[6]


Feudatory statesEdit

The following were feudatory estates —taluqdaris[9] or parganas— of Oudh:


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.[14]

All rulers used the title of 'Nawab'.[15]

Subadar NawabsEdit

  • 1732 – 19 Mar 1739 Borhan al-Molk Mir Mohammad Amin (b. c.1680 – d. 1739) Musawi Sa`adat `Ali Khan I
  • 19 Mar 1739 – 28 Apr 1748 Abu´l Mansur Mohammad Moqim Khan (1st time) (b. c.1708 – d. 1754)

Nawab Wazir al-MamalikEdit

  • 28 Apr 1748 – 13 May 1753 Abu´l Mansur Mohammad Moqim Khan (s.a.) (acting to 29 Jun 1748)

Subadar NawabEdit

  • 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 Shoja` ad-Dowla (b. 1732 – d. 1775) Haydar

Nawab Wazir al-MamalikEdit

Kings (Padshah-e Awadh, Shah-e Zaman)Edit


  • 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
  • W. 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. Although it was ruled by Muslims, a majority, roughly four fifths, of Oudh's population were Hindus.[16]:155[17]



The cities of Allahabad, Varanasi, and Ayodhya were important pilgrimage sites for followers of Hinduism and other Dharmic religions. The town of Bahraich was also revered by some Muslims.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Oudh – definition of Oudh in English from the Oxford dictionary
  2. ^ Davies, Philip, Splendours of the Raj: British Architecture in India, 1660–1947. New York: Penguin Books, 1987
  3. ^ Michael Edwardes, Battles of the Indian Mutiny, Pan, 1963, ISBN 0-330-02524-4
  4. ^ Ashutosh Joshi (1 Jan 2008). Town Planning Regeneration of Cities. New India Publishing. p. 237. ISBN 8189422820. 
  5. ^ a b Ramusack, Barbara N. (2004). The Indian Princes and their States. Cambridge University Press. 
  6. ^ a b Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. V 1908, p. 72
  7. ^ Ben Cahoon. "Princely States of India – Oudh". Retrieved 2014-08-08. 
  8. ^ William Barton, The princes of India. Delhi 1983
  9. ^ The Feudatory and zemindari India, Volume 17, Issue 2. 1937. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  10. ^ Balrampur (Taluqdari)
  11. ^ Bhadri (Taluq)
  12. ^ Itaunja – Raipur Ekdaria (Taluq)
  13. ^ The Indian Year Book, Volume 29. Bennett, Coleman & Company. 1942. p. 1286. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  14. ^ Dr. B. S. Saxena (1974). "Repertoire On Wajid Ali Shah & Monuments of Avadh – Nawabs of Oudh & their Secularism". Avadh Cultural Club (Lucknow). 
  15. ^ Ben Cahoon. "List of rulers of Oudh". Retrieved 2014-08-08. 
  16. ^ Jaswant Lal, Mehta (2005). Advanced Study in the History of Modern India: 1707-1813. Sterling Publishers. ISBN 9781932705546. 
  17. ^ Defence Journal, Volume 5, Issues 2-4. p. 88. On the contrary the annexation of Oudh in 1856 was viewed by the Muslim elite and the Hindu majority population of Oudh 
  18. ^ Surya Narain Singh (2003). The Kingdom of Awadh. Mittal Publications. 

External linksEdit