June 1757 - Battle of Plassey
The Battle of Plassey established the British East India Company's dominance over the Indian subcontinent. The Company defeated the Nawab of Bengal and installed a puppet ruler, enabling British business ventures in the region and allowing the Company to control trade from the national to the local level.
Aug. 2, 1858 - British Parliament passes India Act
Because the Company controlled most of India by 1858, the India Act effectively transferred that control to the British crown. This period of British rule is often referred to as the Raj. In the two years prior to the India Act, the Indian people mounted a bloody rebellion but were ultimately defeated. Throughout the British colonization, tensions ran high between the European power and the conquered Asian nation.
Great Britain prospered greatly from their colonization of India. To keep money flowing into the British economy, the imperial power imposed regulations and taxes that stifled Indian industrial and commercial growth.
Approximately two-fifths of the subcontinent remained outside British rule, though the ruling independent principalities typically cooperated with the British if offered economic incentives.
The Indian National Congress was often able to govern the subcontinent by consensus. However, in the years leading up to independence, the administrative body was split by factionalism.
Muslim League founded
The Muslim League was established in 1906 to give a voice to underrepresented Muslims, who, at the time, comprised approximately 20 percent of the population.
Muslim League proposes separate Pakistani state
In a session of the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League proposed the idea of Pakistan -- a separate state for the Muslim population -- but found little support.
March 12, 1931 - Mahatma Gandhi leads Salt March
To protest the British salt tax, Gandhi led nearly 100 followers more than 200 miles to the ocean to extract free salt from the sea. The protest drew both international press and the ire of British authorities.
Great Britain passes Government of India Act
The British Parliament passed the Government of India Act, establishing a federal system. The 11 provinces founded were given more autonomy than ever before, planting the seeds for the partition.
First elections under federal system
In 1937, the British sponsored the first federal elections across the 11 provinces. Hindus won the majority of seats, alienating the Muslim League, which was unable to unite even in provinces with Muslim majorities.