Royal Titles Act
(1876)
   An act of Parliament making the sovereign of England the Empress (or Emperor) of India. British control of the subcontinent, although briefly contested during the Mutiny of 1857, had by that point long been an effective fact. But the abolition of East India Company rule and the imposition of formal British sovereignty by the India Act of 1858, along with the abolition of the Mogul Emperor, left a formal if not a real void at the top of the polyglot Indian political system. The creation of a British empress raised some liberal hackles in England, but was thought by many to appeal to an oriental taste for rank and splendor. The British had been reminded by the Indian Mutiny that a massive empire could not be controlled by force alone. The Imperial Durbar of January 1, 1877, formally made Queen Victoria Empress, or Victoria Regina et Imperatrix, and was in fact a successful imperial spectacle.
   See also <>; <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    James, Lawrence. Rāj: The Making and Unmaking of British India. New York: St. Martin’s, 1997.
   MARK F. PROUDMAN

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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