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The Nuttall Encyclopedia
British dependency, consisting of the great peninsula in the S. of Asia, which has the Bay of Bengal on the E. and the Arabian Sea on the W., and is separated from the mainland by the Hindu-Kush and the Himalaya Mountains; politically the name includes besides the Punjab in the N. and Burma in the E.; the centre of the peninsula is a great plateau called the Deccan, between which and the snow-clad Himalaya stretch the great fertile basins of the Ganges, the Thar Desert, and the arid wastes of the Indus Valley; great varieties of climate are of course met with, but the temperature is prevailingly high, and the monsoons of the Indian Ocean determine the regularity of the rainy season, which occurs from June to October; the country generally is insalubrious; the vegetation is correspondingly varied, but largely tropical; rice, cereal crops, sugar, and tobacco are generally grown; cotton in Bombay and the Central Provinces, opium in the Ganges Valley, jute in Eastern Bengal, and indigo in Behar; coffee and tea are raised by Europeans in the hill country on virgin soil; the chief mineral deposits are extensive coal-fields between the Ganges and the Godavari, the most valuable salt deposits in the world in the Punjab, and deposits of iron, the purest found anywhere, in many parts of the country, which, however, are wrought only by native methods; native manufactures are being largely superseded by European methods, and the young cotton-weaving industry flourishes well; the country is well populated on the whole, with a relative scarcity of big towns; the people belong to many different races, and speak languages representing four distinct stocks; the vast bulk of them are Brahmanists or Hindus; there are many Mohammedans, Buddhists (in Burma), and Parsees (in Bombay); 2¼ millions are Christians, and there are other religions; India has been subject to many conquests; the Aryan, Greek, and Mussulman invasions swept from the NW.; the Portuguese obtained a footing on the SW. coast in the 15th century; the victories of Plassey 1757, and Seringapatam 1799, established British rule throughout the whole peninsula, and the principle that native princes where they retained their thrones were vassals; Sind was won in 1843 and the Punjab in 1849, and the powers of the East India Company transferred to the Queen in 1857, who was proclaimed Empress in 1877; the government is vested in a governor-general aided by an executive and a legislative council, under control, however, of a Secretary of State for India and council at home; there are governors and lieutenant-governors of the presidencies of Madras and Bombay, and of the various provinces; native States are all attached to and subject to the supervision of the government of a province; there is a native army of 146,000 men, and 74,000 European troops are maintained in the country; British rule has developed the resources of the country, advanced its civilisation, and contributed to the welfare of the people; Indian finance is not yet satisfactory; the currency is based on silver, the steady depreciation of which metal has never ceased to hamper the national funds.
Wood, James, ed. Entry for 'India'. The Nuttall Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/nut/i/india.html. Frederick Warne & Co Ltd. London. 1900.
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12