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Indien - Referat

Today I wanna tell ya something about tha former british crown colony India.

In 1498 Vasco da Gama discovered a seaway to India. During the next 100 years the Portuguese had a monopoly for the Indian sea-trade. Then in 1600 Queen Elisabeth I gave a chart to a British trade organisation, the so called first british east-indian company. Two years later the Dutch as well founded a trade organisation. In 1612 the first british trade-station in india was founded at the gulf of Khambhat. In the same year some british ships, which were in the gulf of Khambhat were attacked by the portuguese fleet, but the british won the following sea-battle. In the next 10 years the portuguese lost important battles, so that the portuguese were not really an opponent for the british. in the following years the dutch tried to drive away the british from india but were not lucky as well. At the end of the 17. century the british east-indian company had no real opponents and could enlarge its territory. In the first half of the 18. century the french which were trading in india already since 1675 endangered the dominating role of the british in india. From 1746-1748 the french fleet blockaded Madras, an english town. In 1748 France gave Madras back, but the conflict between Britain and France was not yet solved. In the war of seven years (Siebenjähriger Krieg) Britain won some important battles against France. For example Robert Clive, an employee of the british east-indian company won the battle at Plassey and so Britain got control over most of Bengal (eastern and most important part of india). In 1773 the east-indian company was declared a semi-official british governmental institution. Even if the british acted all the whole time very cruel to reach their targets, there was no general resistance in india. In 1845 the Sikhs (religion in the north-west of india) attacked british positions in Punjab (northern part of india), but they had to surrender soon. Punjab was then annexed by the east-indian company. In the following years the governor James Andrew Broun Ramsay, the 10. Earl of Dalhousie, annexed five other indian kingdoms, everytime when the king died. In this time the indian infrastructure was improved, for example, there were railraods, streets or bridges built. Dalhousie forbid as well some cruel traditions like Sati (meaning Witwenverbrennung) and slave trade. In 1856 Dalhousie annexed Oudh, another indian kingdom. It was Dalhousie's contempt for the indian culture, that made the people angry. In 1857 the so-called Sepoy-rebellion startet (sepoys were indian soldiers, which worked for the east-indian company). Some of those Sepoy rebelled against the way they were treated. They soon occupied Dehli and other important positions. They also sieged the british residence in Lucknow, but with some still loyal Sepoys and british reinforcements the British could regain their territories till 1859. After this rebellion followed a period brutal suppression by the british troups. The british parliament signed the "Act for better gouvernment in India". The main point of this act was that the administration of the east-indian company was now under control of the british crown. They now tried to continue the infrastructural improvements of Dalhousie and startet educational and social reforms. In 1876 Queen Victoria was crowned empress of India by the prime minister Benjamin Disraeli.
At the end of the 19. century and the beginning of the 20. century the indian nationalism grew fast. In 1885 the INC (indian National congress) was founded. The main target of the INC was national unity without Britain. At the same time there were very many acts of terrorism, so as assassination attacks or bomb explosions. As a reaction to the demand for autonomy the british government declared the "India Councils Act" in 1909, which gave india a bit of autonomy, but this was not enough for the indian nationalists.
In the first world war many indian soldiers fought at the side of Britain but after the war the political arguments again
increased. As a reaction to that, the british government declared the “Rowlatt Acts”, by which the civil rights were restricted. This caused trouble and violence in many parts of india. In this time the religious reformer Mohandas Gandhi told the people to face the british repressions with passive resistance. At the 13th of april 1919 a group a men, women and children were demonstrating peacefully in Amritsar, a small town in the north of india. These people were killed cruelly by british troups. Gandhi called this the "national day of mourning". This massacre made the anti-british movement in india grew still stronger. In 1922 Gandhi was arrested the first time because he had caused an insurrection. In 1930, when he was out prison again, Gandhi had the idea to break the british salt monopoly. He organised a march to the gulf of Khambhat, where he won the salt illegally (Salzmarsch). This action of winning salt had an enormous symbolic importance, so Gandhi was arrested again one month later. After that there were demonstrations all over the country and many indian nationalists were arrested. In 1931 Gandhi and the government agreed upon an armistice. In 1935 the british parliament declared the "Government of India Act", which should give india partial autonomy, an own parliament, but not the status as dominion. Many members of the INC still wanted complete autonomy.
At the beginning of the second world war Victor Alexander John Hope, viceroy of india, declared war to germany in the name of india. Gandhi and most of the INC did not agree and wanted India’s autonomy as the price for taking part in the war. In the end some provinces supported Britain in the war.
After the end of the war, anarchy ruled in india. The danger of a civil war between Muslims and hindus was increasing. The british prime minster Atlee declared that britain would give up the government over india till the end of July 1948. After consultation with the indian leaders the viceroy Wavell recommended the british government to part india immediately. In august 1947 the Indian Independence Act was declared, and india was parted into two states, appropriate to the religion. india and pakistan were founded as two separate states with dominion status in the commonwealth of nations.

In 1947 the Maharajahs of Kashmir declared to join the indian union. Pakistan didn’t accept this solution because the people of Kashmir was mostly muslim. In 1949 a line demarcation was set. 1965 India and Pakistan had a battle because of the Kashmir-question. This conflict was stopped by the diplomatic intervention of the USSR. India and Pakistan had several other partial heavy skirmishes in the 80’s and 90’s, the last one in 1999. Today both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons and the question of what should happen with Kashmir is still not answered.

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