Salute state

British Empire in the East

A salute state was a princely state under the British Raj that had been granted a gun salute by the British Crown (as paramount ruler); i.e., the protocolary privilege for its ruler to be greeted — originally by Royal Navy ships, later also on land — with a number of cannon shots, in graduations of two salutes from three to 21, as recognition of the state's relative status. The gun-salute system of recognition was first instituted during the time of the East India Company in the late 18th century and was continued under direct Crown rule from 1858.

As with the other princely states, the salute states varied greatly in size and importance. The states of Hyderabad and Jammu and Kashmir, both with a 21-gun salute, were each over 200,000 km2 in size, or slightly larger than the whole of Great Britain; in 1941, Hyderabad had a population of over 16,000,000, comparable to the population of Romania at the time, while Jammu and Kashmir had a population of slightly over 4 million, comparable to that of Switzerland. At the other end of the scale, Janjira and Sachin (11 and 9 guns, respectively, and both ruled by branches of the same dynasty) were respectively 137 km2 and 127 km2 in size, or slightly larger than the island of Jersey; in 1941, Janjira had a population of nearly 14,000, the smallest of the salute states [1] on the subcontinent.

For varying periods of time, a number of salute states in South Asia (Afghanistan), on the Indian subcontinent (Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim) or in the Middle East (the Gulf/Trucial States and various states in the Aden Protectorate) were also under the British Raj as protectorates or protected states. As with the Indian principalities, those states received varying numbers of gun salutes and varied tremendously in terms of autonomy. Afghanistan and Nepal were both British protected states from the 19th century until 1921 and 1923, respectively, after which they were sovereign nations in direct relations with the British Foreign Office; while protected states, both enjoyed autonomy in internal affairs, though control of foreign affairs was left to the British. The states under the Persian Gulf Residency and the Aden Protectorate (part of the Bombay Presidency until 1937) ranged from Oman, a 21-gun-rated sultanate under a limited protectorate, to the 3-gun Trucial States which were near-total protectorates.

Following their independence in 1947, the new Indian and Pakistani governments maintained the gun-salute system until 1971 (in India) and 1972 (in Pakistan), when the former ruling families were officially derecognised. The Aden Protectorate was transferred to the control of the British Foreign Office in 1937 and eventually became the independent state of South Yemen in 1967, resulting in the abolition of its salute states the same year. Just prior to Indian independence in 1947, the Persian Gulf Residency was likewise transferred to Foreign Office control, remaining in existence until the Trucial States became fully independent in December 1971, forming the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in early 1972.

Salute states and equivalentsEdit

When the ruler of a princely state arrived at the Indian capital (originally at Calcutta (Kolkata), then at Delhi), he was greeted with a number of gun-firings. The number of these consecutive "gun salutes" changed from time to time, be increased or reduced depending on the degree of honour which the British chose to accord to a given ruler. The number of gun salutes accorded to a ruler was usually a reflection of the state of his relations with the British and/or his perceived degree of political power; a 21-gun salute was considered the highest. The King (or Queen) of the United Kingdom (who until 1948 was also the Emperor of India) was accorded a 101-gun salute, and 31 guns were used to salute the Viceroy of India.

The number of guns in a salute assumed particular importance at the time of holding of the Coronation Durbar in Delhi in the month of December 1911. The Durbar was held to commemorate the Coronation of King George V with guns firing almost all day. At that time there were three Princely States that were given 21 gun salutes. These were:

In 1917, the Maharaja Scindia of Gwalior was upgraded to a permanent and hereditary 21-gun salute, and the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir was granted the same in 1921. Both were granted the increased ranks as a result of the meritorious services of their soldiers in the First World War.

Apart from these, no other Princely State received a 21-gun salute. Three of the most prominent princes, however, enjoyed a local salute of 21 guns within the limits of their own state and 19 guns in the rest of India. They were the Nawab (Begum) of Bhopal, the Maharaja Holkar of Indore and the Maharana of Udaipur.

The Nizam, Maharajas, Princes, etc. were all deeply keen on protocol and ensured that it was practised as a matter of faith. Any departure from it was not taken kindly by them. Salute of guns was one such protocol that was strictly adhered to.

Classifications and sub-classifications of salute statesEdit

At the time of Indian independence and partition in 1947, 118 (113 in India, 4 in Pakistan, plus Sikkim) of the roughly 565 princely states were classified as "salute states."

  • The rulers of the five premier states - Hyderabad State, Mysore, Baroda, Jammu & Kashmir and Gwalior - received 21-gun salutes.[2]
  • The rulers of six others - Bhopal, Indore, Udaipur, Kolhapur, Travancore, and Kalat - received 19-gun salutes, with Bhopal, Indore and Udaipur entitled to a local 21-gun salute.[citation needed]
  • 88 were entitled to gun salutes ranging from 17 to 11 guns, with additional gun-salutes granted on a local or personal basis.
  • The remaining 23 received a salute of nine guns.
  • Rulers with gun salutes of 11 guns or above, whether the salute was hereditary or local only, were entitled to the style of Highness.
  • In 1918, the Nizam of Hyderabad was granted the unique style of Exalted Highness, in recognition of the state's contributions to the Allied war effort during the First World War.[citation needed]
  • In 1948, all rulers of nine-gun salute states were also granted the style of Highness.

The salute states were broadly divided into two categories: the five premier states with a permanent 21-gun salute and with an individual resident, or envoy, stationed in each, and the remaining 113 states incorporated within political agencies (groups of states) under a political agent. The salutes were themselves organised in a strict hierarchy. Each ruling house of a salute state was entitled to a permanent hereditary salute. In some instances, one of three sub-categories consisting of an increase of 2 gun salutes could be awarded as follows:

  • Personal and local: Hereditary to an individual state's ruler only within its borders, and personally to the ruler outside his state, but honouring his person and not the state when he was outside it. An award of a personal salute was only for the lifetime of the ruler, and was typically made for distinguished wartime or civic service.
  • Personal: Only for the ruler personally, and not to distinguish his state as a whole.
  • Local: Hereditary to an individual state's ruler only within its borders.

As a religious head, the Agha Khan received a personal 11-gun salute. In certain cases, a ruler of a non-salute state or a junior member of a princely family could merit a personal salute or the personal style of Highness.

Salutes within the Indian Empire (royals, administrators, and officers, as of 1947)Edit

Number of guns Recipients
(Imperial Salute)
(Royal Salute)[note 2]
  • The Queen-Empress and the Members of the Royal Family[note 3]
  • The Viceroy and Governor-General of India[note 3]
  • Heads of state.
  • Foreign sovereigns and members of their families.[note 3]
  • Heads of government.
  • Governors-General[note 3]
  • Governor-General of Portuguese India
  • Ambassadors[note 3]
  • Commander-in-Chief, India (holding the rank of Field Marshal)[note 4]
  • Admirals of the Fleet, Field Marshals and Marshals of the Royal Air Force[note 4]
17[note 4]
  • Governors of the Bombay, Madras and Bengal Presidencies[note 3]
  • Governors of Indian Provinces[note 3]
  • Governors of Colonies[note 3]
  • Governor of French India
  • Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary[note 3]
  • Commander-in-Chief, India (holding the rank of General)[note 4]
  • Admirals, Generals and Air Chief Marshals[note 4]
  • Lieutenant-Governors of Indian Provinces[note 3]
  • Lieutenant-Governors of Colonies[note 3]
  • Plenipotentiaries and Envoys[note 3]
  • Ministers Resident[note 3]
  • Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet[note 5]
  • Flag Officer Commanding Royal Indian Navy (rank of Vice-Admiral)[note 6]
  • Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Air Forces in India (rank of Air Marshal)[note 7]
  • Army Commanders with the rank of Lieutenant-General[note 8]
  • Vice-Admirals, Lieutenant-Generals and Air Marshals
  • Chief Commissioners of Indian Provinces
  • Residents (1st Class)[note 3]
  • Residents (2nd Class)
  • Flag Officer Commanding Royal Indian Navy (rank of Rear-Admiral)[note 6]
  • Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Air Forces in India (rank of Air Vice-Marshal)[note 7]
  • Major Generals commanding Districts[note 8]
  • Rear-Admirals, Major-Generals and Air Vice-Marshals
  • Political Agents
  • Consuls-General
  • Charges d'Affaires
  • Resident Advisor at Makallah (local only)
  • Brigade Commanders (including Major-Generals if commanding a Brigade)[note 8]
  • Commodores, Brigadiers and Air Commodores
  • Governor of Daman; Governor of Diu (Portuguese India)


Salute states that acceded to IndiaEdit

At independence in 1947, the gun salutes enjoyed by the 113 states that acceded to the Union of India were as follows:

Serial No. Hereditary salute No. of guns Personal or local salute No. of guns Title of Ruler Name of state Final ruler (as of 15 August 1947) Final ruler - date of birth Final ruler - succession to title Clan of Ruler Present Location
1. 21 The Maharaja Gaekwar of Baroda Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad[4] 29 June 1908 6 February 1939 Maratha, Gaekwad Gujarat
2. 21 The Maharaja of Mysore Jayachamaraja Wadiyar[4] 14 July 1919 3 August 1940 Wadiyar Karnataka
3. 21 The Maharaja Scindia of Gwalior George Jayajirao Scindia[4] 26 June 1916 5 June 1925 Maratha, Scindia Madhya Pradesh
4. 21 The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir Hari Singh[4] 30 September 1895 23 September 1925 Rajput, Dogra Jammu and Kashmir
5. 21 The Nizam of Hyderabad Osman Ali Khan[4] 6 April 1886 29 August 1911 Asaf Jahi Telangana, Karnataka, and Maharashtra
6. 19 21 (local) The Nawab of Bhopal Bhopal Muhammad Hamidullah Khan[4] 9 September 1894 17 May 1926 Mirasi Khel Afghan Madhya Pradesh
7. 19 21 (local) The Maharaja Holkar of Indore Yashwantrao Holkar[4] 6 September 1908 26 February 1926 Maratha, Holkar Madhya Pradesh
8. 19 21 (local) The Maharana of Udaipur (Mewar) Bhupal Singh[4] 22 February 1884 24 May 1930 Rajput Sisodia Rajasthan
9. 19 The Maharaja Chhatrapati of Kolhapur Shahaji Bhonsle II 4 April 1910 31 March 1947 Maratha, Bhonsle Maharashtra
10. 19 The Maharaja of Travancore Rama Varma[4] 7 November 1912 1 September 1924 Kshatriya, Nair, [5] Kerala
11. 17 The Maharao of Kota Bhim Singh[4] 14 September 1909 27 December 1940 Rajput, Chauhan, Hada Rajasthan
12. 17 19 (local) The Maharaja of Bharatpur Brijendra Singh[4] 1 December 1918 27 March 1929 Hindu Jat (Sinsinwar) Rajasthan
13. 17 19 (local) The Maharaja of Bikaner Sadul Singh[4] 7 September 1902 2 February 1943 Rajput, Rathore Rajasthan
14. 17 19 (local) The Maharao of Cutch Vijayrajji[4] 2 September 1885 15 January 1942 Rajput, Jadeja Gujarat
15. 17 19 (local) The Maharaja of Jaipur Man Singh[4] 21 August 1911 7 September 1922 Rajput, Kachwaha Rajasthan
16. 17 19 (local) The Maharaja of Jodhpur Hanuwant Singh 16 June 1923 9 June 1947 Rajput, Rathore Rajasthan
17. 17 19 (local) The Maharaja of Patiala Yadavindra Singh[4] 7 January 1913 25 March 1938 Jat Sikh, Sidhu, Phulkian Misl Punjab
18. 17 The Maharao Raja of Bundi Bahadur Singh[4] 1921 1945 Rajput, Chauhan, Hada Rajasthan
19. 17 The Maharaja of Cochin Kerala Varma 1870 1946 Kshatriya Kerala
20. 17 The Maharaja of Karauli Ganeshpal Deo 3 June 1947 Rajput Jadon Rajasthan
21. 17 The Maharaja of Rewa Martand Singh 15 March 1923 1 April 1946 Rajput, Baghela Madhya Pradesh
22. 17 The Nawab of Tonk Muhammad Faruq Ali Khan 8 August 1885 31 May 1947 Pathan Rajasthan
23. 15 17 (personal) The Maharaj Rana of Dholpur Udaibhan Singh[4] 25 February 1893 29 March 1911 Hindu Jat Rajasthan
24. 15 17 (local) The Maharaja of Alwar Tej Singh[4] 19 March 1911 22 July 1937 Rajput, Kachwaha Rajasthan
25. 15 The Maharawal of Banswara Chandravir Singh[4] 26 November 1909 28 July 1944 Rajput, Sisodia Rajasthan
26. 15 The Maharaja of Datia Govind Singh[4] 21 June 1886 5 August 1907 Rajput, Bundela Madhya Pradesh
27. 15 The Maharaja of Dewas Senior Krishnajirao Puar 12 May 1932 23 March 1947 Maratha, Puar Madhya Pradesh
28. 15 The Maharaja of Dewas Junior Yashwantrao Puar[4] 3 March 1905 2 October 1943 Maratha, Puar Madhya Pradesh
29. 15 The Maharaja of Dhar Anandrao Puar[4] 24 November 1920 31 July 1926 Maratha, Puar Madhya Pradesh
30. 15 The Maharawal of Dungarpur Lakshman Singh[4] 7 March 1908 15 November 1918 Rajput Guhilot Rajasthan
31 15 The Maharaja of Idar Himmat Singh[4] 22 September 1899 14 April 1931 Rajput Rathore Gujarat
32 15 The Maharawal of Jaisalmer Jawahir Singh[4] 18 November 1882 26 June 1914 Rajput, Bhati Rajasthan
33 15 The Maharaja of Kishangarh Sumer Singh[4] 27 January 1929 15 February 1939 Rajput, Rathore Rajasthan
34 15 The Maharaja of Orchha Vir Singh[4] 14 April 1899 3 March 1930 Rajput, Bundela Madhya Pradesh
35 15 The Maharawat of Pratapgarh Ram Singh[4] 12 April 1908 18 January 1929 Rajput, Sisodia Rajasthan
36 15 The Nawab of Rampur Reza Ali Khan[4] 17 November 1908 20 June 1930 Pathan Uttar Pradesh
37 15 The Maharaol of Sirohi Shri Tej Ram Singhji 03 october 1943 01 july 1946 Rajput, Chauhan, Devda Rajasthan
38 13 15 (local) The Maharaja of Benares Narain Singh[4] 5 November 1927 5 April 1939 Brahmin Goutam Uttar Pradesh
39 13 15 (local) The Maharaja of Bhavnagar Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavsinhji[4] 19 May 1912 17 July 1919 Rajput, Gohil Gujarat
40 13 15 (personal and local) The Maharaja of Jind Ranbir Singh[4] 11 October 1879 7 March 1887 Sikh Jat, Sidhu, Phulkian Misl Punjab
41 13 15 (personal and local) The Nawab of Junagadh Mahabat Khanji Rasulkhanji[4] 2 August 1900 22 January 1911 Babi Gujarat
42 13 15 (personal and local) The Maharaja of Kapurthala Jagatjit Singh[4] 24 November 1872 5 September 1877 Ahluwalia (a Sikh misl) Punjab
43 13 15 (local) The Raja of Nabha Pratap Singh[4] 21 September 1919 19 February 1928 Jat Sikh, Sidhu, Phulkian Misl Punjab
44 13 15 (local) The Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji[4] 18 September 1895 2 April 1933 Rajput, Jadeja Gujarat
45 13 15 (local) The Maharaja of Ratlam Lokendra Singh 9 November 1927 3 February 1947 Rajput, Rathore Madhya Pradesh
46 13 The Maharaja of Cooch Behar Jagaddipendra Narayan[4] 15 December 1915 20 December 1922 Rajput, Rajvanshi West Bengal
47 13 The Maharaja Raj Sahib of Dhrangadhra Mayurdhwajsinhji[4] 3 March 1923 3 February 1942 Rajput, Jhala Gujarat
48 13 The Nawab of Jaora Muhammad Iftiqar Ali Khan[4] 17 January 1883 6 March 1895 Pathan Madhya Pradesh
49 13 The Maharaj Rana of Jhalawar Harishchandra[4] 27 September 1921 2 September 1943 Rajput, Jhala Rajasthan
50 13 The Nawab of Palanpur Taley Muhammad Khan[4] 7 July 1883 28 September 1918 Afghan Gujarat
51 13 The Maharaja Rana Sahib of Porbandar Natwarsinhji Bhavsinhji[4] 30 June 1901 10 December 1908 Rajput, Jethwa Gujarat
52 13 The Maharana of Rajpipla Vijaysinhji Chhatrasinhji[4] 30 January 1890 26 September 1915 Rajput, Gohil Gujarat
53 13 The Maharaja of Tripura Kirit Bikram Kishore Deb Barman 12 December 1933 17 May 1947 Manikya Tripura
54 11 13 (local) The Nawab of Janjira Siddi Maharashtra
55 11 The Maharaja of Ajaigarh Rajput, Bundela Madhya Pradesh
56 11 The Maharana Raja of Alirajpur Rajput, Sisodia Madhya Pradesh
57 11 The Nawab of Baoni Pathan Madhya Pradesh
58 11 The Rana of Barwani Rajput, Sisodia Madhya Pradesh
59 11 The Sawai Maharaja of Bijawar Rajput, Bundela Madhya Pradesh
60 11 The Nawab of Cambay Pathan Gujarat
61 11 The Raja of Chamba Rajput Himachal Pradesh
62 11 The Maharaja of Charkhari Rajput, Bundela Madhya Pradesh
63 11 The Maharaja of Chhatarpur Rajput, Parmar Madhya Pradesh
64 11 The Raja of Faridkot Sikh Jat, Brar Punjab
65 11 The Maharaja of Gondal Rajput, Jadeja Gujarat
66 11 The Raja of Bilaspur Rajput Himachal Pradesh
67 11 The Raja of Jhabua Rajput Rathore Madhya Pradesh
68 11 Maharaja of Kangra-Lambagraon Rajput Katoch Himachal Pradesh
69 11 The Nawab of Maler Kotla Afghan Punjab
70 11 The Raja of Mandi Rajput Chandravanshi Himachal Pradesh
71 11 The Maharaja of Manipur Meitei people Manipur
72 11 The Maharaja of Morvi Rajput Jadeja Gujarat
73 11 The Raja of Narsinghgarh Rajput Umat Madhya Pradesh
74 11 The Maharaja of Panna Rajput Bundela Madhya Pradesh
75 11 - The Maharaja of Pudukkottai Thondaiman Tamil Nadu
76 11 The Nawab of Radhanpur Irani Gujarat
77 11 The Raja of Rajgarh Hindu, Rajput Madhya Pradesh
78 11 The Raja of Rajgarh Rajput Raghuvanshi Himachal Pradesh
79 11 - The Raja of Sailana Rajput Rathore Madhya Pradesh
80 11 The Raja of Samthar Rajput Bargurjar Madhya Pradesh
81 11 The Maharaja of Sirmur Rajput, Bhati Himachal Pradesh
82 11 The Raja of Sitamau Rajput Rathore Madhya Pradesh
83 11 The Raja of Suket Rajput Chandravanshi Himachal Pradesh
84 11 The Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal Rajput, Parmar Uttarakhand
85 11 The Maharana Raj Sahib of Wankaner Rajput, Jhala Gujarat
86 9 11 (personal) The Raja of Baria Rajput, Chauhan Gujarat
87 9 11 (personal) The Raja of Dharampur Rajput, Sisodia Gujarat
88 9 11 (personal) The Raja of Sangli Maratha, Brahmin administrators (Patwardhan) Maharashtra
89 9 11 (local) The Raja of Sawantwadi Maratha, Bhonsle Maharashtra
90 9 The Thakur Sahib of Wadhwan Rajput Jhala Gujarat
91 9 The Nawab Babi of Balasinor Irani (Muslim) Gujarat
92 9 The Nawab of Banganapalle (Muslim Shia) Andhra Pradesh
93 9 The Maharawal of Bansda Rajput Solanki Gujarat
94 9 The Raja of Baraundha Rajput Bargurjar Madhya Pradesh
95 9 The Raja of Bhor Maratha, Brahmin Maharashtra
96 9 The Raja of Chhota Udaipur Rajput, Chauhan Gujarat
97 9 The Maharana of Danta Rajput, Parmar Gujarat
98 9 The Thakore Sahib of Dhrol Rajput, Jadeja Gujarat
99 9 The Maharaja of Jawhar Maratha, (Mukne) Maharashtra
100 9 The Maharaja of Kalahandi (Karond) Rajput, (Gangavanshi) Odisha
101 9 The Rao of Khilchipur Rajput, Chauhan,(Khinchi) Madhya Pradesh
102 9 The Thakore Sahib of Limbdi Rajput, Jhala Gujarat
103 9 The Nawab of Loharu (Muslim) Haryana
104 9 The Maharana of Lunavada Rajput, Solanki Gujarat
105 9 The Raja of Maihar Rajput, Kachwaha Madhya Pradesh
106 9 The Maharaja of Mayurbhanj Rajput, (Bhanjdeo) Odisha
107 9 The Raja of Mudhol Maratha, Ghorpade Karnataka
108 9 The Raja of Nagod Rajput, Parihar Madhya Pradesh
109 9 The Thakore Sahib of Palitana Rajput, Gohil Gujarat
110 9 The Maharaja of Patna Rajput, Chauhan Odisha
111 9 The Thakore Sahib of Rajkot Rajput, Jadeja Gujarat
112 9 The Nawab of Sachin Siddi Gujarat
113 9 11 (local) The Maharana of Sant Rajput, Parmar Gujarat
114 9 The Rajadhiraj of Shahpura Rajput, Sisodia Rajasthan
115 9 The Maharaja of Sonepur Rajput Odisha

In 1948 The Hindu Rajput Maharana of Udaipur was raised to first place in the Order of Precedence, displacing the Muslim Nizam of Hyderabad and Berar due to his stubborn stance of not acceding to the union.[citation needed] The system of gun salutes continued in the Republic of India until 1971.

Although salutes with many more guns have been used for Western Monarchs (and dynastic and other associated occasions), the 21-gun salute has in modern times become customary for Sovereign Monarchs (hence also known as 'royal salute') and republic.

Some of the rulers not listed above were granted increased gun salutes after the independence, e.g. the Maharana of Mewar (at Udaipur, Maharajpramukh in Rajasthan) was raised to first place in the Order of Precedence, displacing the Nizam of Hyderabad and Berar, and all 9-gun states were permitted the use of the style of Highness. However, it has not been possible to obtain complete details for all the rulers.

This system continued till 1971 when privileges and Privy Purses of ex-rulers were abolished by the Government of India.

Salute states that acceded to PakistanEdit

Between August 1947 and March 1948, thirteen Muslim princely states in western India acceded to the new Dominion of Pakistan, created from British India by the Indian Independence Act 1947, thus becoming the Princely states of Pakistan. Between 1955 and 1974, they were all amalgamated into larger federations and provinces. All of the princely states were in the western part of the country, so all were merged into the eventual West Pakistan, which constitutes (since the breakaway of Bangla Desh) the present-day Republic of Pakistan.

The states retained internal autonomy so long as they existed, but all had lost this by 1974. The styles and titles enjoyed by the former ruling families ceased to be officially recognised by the Government of Pakistan, mostly in January 1972, with the exception of the small states of Hunza and Nagar, which were shortly after incorporated into the Northern Areas of Pakistan in October 1974.

Four salute states acceded to Pakistan between 3 October 1947 and 27 March 1948. In order of precedence, they were as follows:

Serial No. Hereditary salute No. of guns Personal or local salute No. of guns Title of Ruler Name of state Clan of Ruler Present Location
1. 19 The Khan of Kalat Muslim Balochi Balochistan
2. 17 The Nawab of Bahawalpur Muslim Abbasi Punjab
3. 15 17 (local) The Mir of Khairpur Muslim Balochi Sindh
4. 11 The Mehtar of Chitral Muslim Katoor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

After several promotions and two further post-colonial awarding under the republic – which India didn't do – the gun salutes enjoyed by the states in Pakistan were as follows in 1966:

  • Hereditary salute of 19-guns (promoted): the Amir of Bahawalpur
  • Hereditary salute of 19-guns: the Khan of Kalat
  • Hereditary salute of 17-guns (promoted): the Mir of Khairpur
  • Hereditary salute of 15-guns: the Mir of Hunza (granted by President Ayub Khan in 1966, previously non-salute)
  • Hereditary salute of 15-guns: the Wali of Swat (granted by President Ayub Khan in 1966, previously non-salute)
  • Hereditary salute of 11-guns: the Mehtar of Chitral

Salute states in BurmaEdit

Protectorates and protected states under the Indian EmpireEdit

The following list of gun salutes is as they stood in 1947.

South AsiaEdit

British protected state; subsequently a sovereign monarchy (Afghanistan and Nepal)Edit

Hereditary salute No. of guns Personal or local salute No. of guns Title of Ruler Name of state Clan of Ruler Present Location
21 The King of[note 9] Afghanistan Barakzai Afghanistan

In 1890, Abdur Rahman Khan, the Emir of Afghanistan, accepted for his kingdom the status of a British protected state under the British Raj, retaining internal autonomy while placing the state's foreign affairs under British control. In 1905, his son and successor, Habibullah Khan, negotiated the Anglo-Afghan Treaty with the British, by which Afghanistan was de jure styled as a sovereign monarchy and the ruler recognised as King of Afghanistan (Shah-e-Afghanistan) with the style of His Majesty, while remaining a protected state of Britain. In May 1919, King Habibullah's successor, King Amanullah, declared the country a wholly sovereign kingdom, which resulted in the Third Anglo-Afghan War. Despite a British victory, the British recognised the total sovereignty of Afghanistan in the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of Kabul in 1921; thereafter, Afghanistan continued to exist as a sovereign monarchy until the fall of the monarchy in 1973.

Hereditary salute No. of guns Personal or local salute No. of guns Title of Ruler Name of state Clan of Ruler Present Location
21 The King of[note 10] Nepal Shah dynasty Nepal
19[3][8][note 11] The Maharaja of[note 12] Lamjang and Kaski Rana dynasty Nepal

The Anglo-Nepalese War of 1816, which led to the defeat of the Gorkha Shah monarchy of Nepal, resulted in the kingdom becoming a de jure protectorate, but a de facto protected state of the East India Company. Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and the dissolution of the East India Company in 1858, the protectorate was transferred to the British crown through the British Raj, which recognised the monarch as "King of Nepal" with the style of His Majesty in 1919, due to the country's contributions to the Allied cause in the First World War. In 1923, the British government ended its protectorate and recognised Nepal as a wholly sovereign monarchy.[3] While the semi-sovereign Rana oligarchy held power as hereditary Prime Ministers of Nepal until its deposition in 1951, the Nepalese monarchy continued until its abolition in 2008.

De jure sovereign, but de facto British protected state; retained status in relation to India (Bhutan)Edit

Hereditary salute No. of guns Personal or local salute No. of guns Title of Ruler Name of state Clan of Ruler Present Location
15[9][note 13] The Maharaja Druk Gyalpo of[note 14] Bhutan Wangchuck Bhutan

A brief war between Bhutan and the British Raj in 1864 resulted in the Treaty of Sinchula, which forced Bhutan to relinquish territory and defined its relationship with the British. A loose agglomeration of semi-independent districts until 1907, Bhutan was unified in that year as a hereditary monarchy represented by Ugyen Wangchuck, the penlop (or governor) of the district of Tongsa, who was proclaimed the Maharaja and Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) of Bhutan. In 1910, Bhutan signed the Treaty of Punakha, under which the British Raj guaranteed Bhutan's internal sovereignty, but, as with Sikkim, maintained control over its foreign relations. A British residency was officially installed in Bhutan, with a resident deputed from the Indian Political Service and answerable to the British government in India. The treaty, which established Bhutanese sovereignty, albeit as a protected state, remained in force until Indian independence in 1947; at this time, Bhutan was offered the options of remaining independent or acceding to the new Indian Union. Choosing to maintain its independence, Bhutan formally established relations with India in 1949, signing the India-Bhutan Treaty of Friendship on 8 August 1949; while reaffirming Bhutanese sovereignty, the new treaty gave India control over Bhutan's foreign policy. In 1963, however, Bhutan promulgated a new constitution which replaced the title of His Highness the Maharaja with His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo, formally promoting the country to the status of an independent, sovereign monarchy. In 1971, Bhutan joined the United Nations as a full member, and renegotiated the 1949 treaty with India in 2007, legally ending Bhutan's status as a protected state of India.

British protectorate; subsequently an Indian protectorate and state (Sikkim)Edit

Hereditary salute No. of guns Personal or local salute No. of guns Title of Ruler Name of state Clan of Ruler Present Location
15[note 15] The Maharaja (Chogyal) of[note 15] Sikkim Tipihar Sikkim

Though officially considered a princely state under its ruler, the Maharaja Chogyal, Sikkim was given the separate status of a British protectorate in 1861 under the Treaty of Tumlong, by which the British government could intervene in the state's internal affairs and oversee all external matters; despite this, Sikkim maintained a high degree of autonomy in practice. In 1947, the Maharaja Chogyal and his people decided against accession to India and chose to maintain Sikkim's internal sovereignty. The state formally became a protectorate of India in 1950. Following the death of the Maharaja Chogyal in 1963 and his succession by his unpopular son, Palden Thondup Namgyal, popular demands for increased individual rights grew more frequent. After Sikkim's first free general elections in 1974, the Indian Army placed the Chogyal under house arrest. Under military supervision, a controversial referendum was held in 1975, which approved the state's merger with India and the abolition of the monarchy. Sikkim was formally merged into India as its 22nd state on 26 April 1975.

Middle East and Persian GulfEdit

Middle East Protectorates - Aden Protectorate (until 1917)Edit

The following were constituent states of the Aden Protectorate from the late 19th century until their independence and merger with South Yemen in 1967 when the states were abolished. The protectorate was under the British Raj and governed as part of the Bombay Presidency until 1917 when the protectorate was transferred to the control of the British Foreign Office.

Hereditary salute No. of guns Personal or local salute No. of guns Title of Ruler Name of state Clan of Ruler Present Location
9 11 (local)[8] The Sultan of[note 16] Lahej Al-Abdali Yemen
9 11 (local)[8] The Sultan of[note 17] Shihir and Makalla Al-Qu'aiti Yemen
9[8] - The Sultan of[note 17] Qishn and Soqotra Al-Mahri Yemen
9[8] - The Sultan of[note 16] Fadhli Al-Fadhli Yemen
- 9 (local)[8] The Emir of[note 16] Dhala Al-Amiri Yemen
- 9 (local)[8] The Sultan of[note 16] Lower Yafa Al-Afifi Yemen

Middle East Protectorates - Persian Gulf ResidencyEdit

The Persian Gulf Residency was established in 1822 during the time of the East India Company, though the company had established a residency at Bushehr in 1763. It was made subordinate to the Governor of Bombay until 1873. As with the rest of British India, it came under the control of the British Crown in 1858. In 1873, the residency came under the direct control of the British Raj and the India Office. In 1892, it officially assumed a protectorate status over the states of Muscat and Oman, Bahrain and the Trucial States, followed by Kuwait in 1914 and Qatar in 1916. In 1920, the Treaty of Seeb recognised the de jure independence of Oman. The residency was transferred to the charge of the British Foreign Office from the India Office in 1947, shortly before Indian independence. In 1961, Kuwait became the first of the Gulf States to terminate its protectorate and become fully independent, with Muscat and Oman being recognised by Britain as an independent, protected state the following year. With the increasing costs of maintaining an overseas presence, Britain announced in January 1968 that it would end its protectorate over the remaining Gulf states in 1971. The protectorates were finally terminated in December 1971; Muscat and Oman became the modern sultanate of Oman that year, and the erstwhile Trucial States became the United Arab Emirates in 1972.

Hereditary salute No. of guns Personal or local salute No. of guns Title of Ruler Name of state Clan of Ruler Present Location
21[8][3][note 18] - The Sultan of[note 19] Mascat and Oman Al-Said Oman
- 7 (local, 11 personal)[8][10][11][note 20] The Sheikh (Ruler) of[note 21] Kuwait Al-Sabah Kuwait
- 7 (local, 11 personal)[8][10][11][note 22] The Sheikh (Ruler) of[11][note 23] Bahrain Al-Khalifa Bahrain
- 7 (local)[8][11][10][note 24] The Sheikh (Ruler) of[note 25] Qatar Al-Thani Qatar
- 3 (local, 5 personal)[8][11] The Sheikh (Ruler) of[note 26] Abu Dhabi Al-Nahyan UAE
- 3 (local, 5 personal)[8][12] The Sheikh (Ruler) of[note 27] Sharjah Al-Qasimi UAE
- 5 (local)[8][10][note 28] The Sheikh (Ruler) of[note 27] Dubai Al-Maktoum UAE
- 3 (local)[8] The Sheikh (Ruler) of[note 27] Ajman Al-Nuaimi UAE
- 3 (local)[8] The Sheikh (Ruler) of[note 27] Ras al-Khaimah Al-Qasimi UAE
- 3 (local)[8] The Sheikh (Ruler) of Kalba[note 29] Al-Qasimi UAE
- 3 (local)[8] The Sheikh (Ruler) of[note 27] Umm al-Qaiwain Al-Mu'alla UAE

Personal salute dynasties on the Indian subcontinentEdit

Rulers of princely states (in 1947)Edit

Religious leadersEdit

  • 11 guns: the Aga Khan (religious leader of the Nizari Ismaili branch of Islam); only salute not attached to any territorial principality).

Political pensioners under the British RajEdit

Zamindars in French IndiaEdit

States within the British sphere of influence (as of 1947)Edit

Sovereign foreign rulersEdit

  • 19 guns: The Dalai lama of Tibet, a de facto sovereign theocratic Buddhist nation before annexation by the People's Republic of China[8]
  • 21 guns: The King of Mosquito Coast (a Native South American kingdom in present Nicaragua; styled His Majesty, most unusual as HM is normally reserved for the Paramount Ruler and his or her independent peers; under British protectorate since 1688, formalised in 1749 with appointment of a resident Superintendent; Britain relinquished control in 1783–87; Nicaraguan sovereignty was recognised in 1860 under the Treaty of Managua, hence the king was effectively demoted to the rank of a mere "chief", in 1894 militarily driven into exile to Jamaica)
  • 9 guns: The Kabaka of Buganda (a Ganda kingdom in Western Uganda, status granted after 1912, subsequently made permanent in 1939)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Only if present in person (in 1911, at that year's Coronation Durbar in Delhi).
  2. ^ Also on the occasions of the Sovereign's Birthday, the Accession and Coronation Anniversaries, when an Imperial Proclamation was delivered and for the Birthday of a Queen-Empress (as Royal Consort). There were two periods when two Queen-Empresses of India were living: from 1910 to 1925 (Queen-Empress Mary of Teck and Queen-Empress Dowager Alexandra of Denmark, who died in 1925), and from 1936 until Indian independence in 1947 (former Queen-Empress Dowager Mary of Teck died in 1953).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n On arriving or departing from a military station, or when attending a state ceremony.
  4. ^ a b c d e On assuming or relinquishing office, or on a public arrival or departure from a military station and on formal ceremonial occasions. Also for a private arrival or departure from a military station (optional, if desired).
  5. ^ As a vice-admiral, with two guns added.
  6. ^ a b From the shore battery, on public arrival for the first time at an Indian port.
  7. ^ a b On assuming or relinquishing office. Provided the AOC-in-C is the most senior military officer in the area, on a public arrival or departure from a military station and on formal ceremonial occasions; also for a private arrival or departure from a military station (optional, if desired), if seniority condition fulfilled.
  8. ^ a b c On assuming or relinquishing office, or on a public arrival or departure from a military station and on formal ceremonial occasions. Also for a private arrival or departure from a military station (optional, if desired). Only if the senior officer present and in actual command.
  9. ^ Styled as His Highness The Emir of Afghanistan until 1905, when the emirate was recognised as a kingdom, with full sovereignty in 1921. The monarchy was deposed in 1973.
  10. ^ Styled as His Highness the Maharajadhiraja of Nepal until 1919, when Nepal was recognised as a sovereign kingdom. The monarchy was abolished in 2008.
  11. ^ Permanent, but only in the Maharaja's capacity as Prime Minister of Nepal, when representing the Nepalese monarch outside the country.
  12. ^ Semi-sovereign status; until 1951, when the dynasty was deposed and the monarchy abolished.
  13. ^ 15 guns (personal) by the British government in December 1903; made permanent in June 1911. Promoted to a permanent salute of 19 guns in June 1955 by the Government of India; raised to 21 guns in 1963.
  14. ^ Until 1963, when Bhutan declared itself a sovereign kingdom and converted the style to H.M. the Druk Gyalpo
  15. ^ a b Until 1975, when the monarchy was abolished.
  16. ^ a b c d Joined the Federation of South Arabia in 1962. Maintained its status until 1967, when the protectorate and state were abolished and merged with South Yemen.
  17. ^ a b Joined the Protectorate of South Arabia in 1963. Maintained its status until 1967, when the protectorate and state were abolished and merged with South Yemen.
  18. ^ Considered a de jure foreign monarch.
  19. ^ With the style of Highness until 1971, when the country attained full independence from Britain and the style of the monarch was raised to Majesty.
  20. ^ 5 guns (local, 11 personal) from 1914, raised to 7 guns (local) in 1923.
  21. ^ Granted the style of Excellency by the British government in 1914, raised to Highness from 1933. Assumed the title of Emir in 1961 upon attaining full independence from Britain.
  22. ^ 5 guns (local) and 11 guns (personal) from 1914, raised to 7 guns (local) in 1923.
  23. ^ Granted the personal style of Excellency by the British government from 1914; raised to Highness from 1933. Assumed the title of Emir in 1971 upon full independence from Britain; maintained style until 2002, when the nation was declared a kingdom and the style of the monarch was raised to Majesty with the title of King of Bahrain.
  24. ^ Awarded in 1923.
  25. ^ With the style of Excellency until 1971, when the country attained full independence from Britain and the style of the monarch was raised to His Highness the Emir from the same time.
  26. ^ With the style of Excellency until 1971, when the country attained full independence from Britain and the style of the monarch was raised to His Highness the Emir from the same time.
  27. ^ a b c d e Until 1971, when the country attained full independence from Britain and the style of the monarch was raised to His Highness the Emir from the same time.
  28. ^ Awarded in 1929.
  29. ^ Ruled by a branch of the Sharjah royal family as a Trucial State from 1936 until 1952, when it was reincorporated into Sharjah.


  1. ^ The India Office and Burma Office List: 1945. Harrison & Sons, Ltd. 1945. pp. 33–37.
  2. ^ "King of all rewinds".
  3. ^ a b c d The India Office and Burma Office List: 1947. Harrison & Sons, Ltd. 1947. pp. 44–45.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq The India Office and Burma Office List: 1947. Harrison & Sons. 1947.
  5. ^ Dr Robin Jaffery, The Decline of Nair Dominance
  6. ^ a b c d The India Office and Burma Office List: 1945. Harrison & Sons, Ltd. 1945. p. 53.
  7. ^ Yawnghwe (Shan State) (9 Gun Salute)
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Alqabnamah: List Showing the Names, Titles and Modes of Address of the More Important Sovereigns, Ruling Princes, Chiefs, Nobles etc., Having Relations with the Indian Government. Government of India Press. 1935.
  9. ^ "The Gazette of India" (PDF). Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d pg 73. "Qatar: A Modern History." Fromherz, Allen James. Georgetown University Press, Washington, 2012
  11. ^ a b c d e The Indian Year Book 1924. Bennett, Coleman & Co., Ltd. 1924. p. 479.
  12. ^ The Half-yearly List Of The Indian Political Service. Government of India. 1942. p. 142.
  13. ^ VIZIANAGRAM (Zamindari) Archived 30 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine