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Secretary of State for India
Royal Arms as used by His Majesty's Government
India Office
Member ofBritish Cabinet
Privy Council
SeatWestminster, London
AppointerThe British Monarch
on advice of the Prime Minister
Term lengthNo fixed term
Constituting instrumentGovernment of India Act
PrecursorPresident of the Board of Control
Formation2 August 1858
First holderLord Stanley
Final holderWilliam Hare, 5th Earl of Listowel
Abolished14 August 1947
DeputyUnder-Secretary of State for India
The ceremonial seat of the Chairman of the Court of Directors of the East India Company, and subsequently that of the Secretary of State for India
The 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn, Secretary of State for India from 1905 to 1910 and again briefly, as acting Secretary, in 1911

His (or Her) Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for India, known for short as the India secretary or the Indian secretary, was the British Cabinet minister and the political head of the India Office responsible for the governance of the British Indian Empire, including Aden, Burma and the Persian Gulf Residency. The post was created in 1858 when the East India Company's rule in Bengal ended and India, except for the Princely States, was brought under the direct administration of the government in Whitehall in London, beginning the official colonial period under the British Empire.

In 1937, the India Office was reorganised which separated Burma and Aden under a new Burma Office, but the same Secretary of State headed both departments and a new title was established as His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for India and Burma. The India Office and its Secretary of State were abolished in August 1947, when the United Kingdom granted independence in the Indian Independence Act, which created two new independent dominions, India and Pakistan. Burma soon achieved independence separately in early 1948.

Secretaries of state for India, 1858–1937

Before the establishment of the British Empire on 2 August 1858, Lord Stanley had served as President of the Board of Control.

Portrait Name Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Lord Stanley
MP for King's Lynn
2 August
1858
11 June
1859
Conservative Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby
Sir Charles Wood
MP for Halifax until 1865
MP for Ripon after 1865
18 June
1859
16 February
1866[1]
Liberal  
Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
 
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell
George Robinson, 3rd Earl de Grey 16 February
1866
26 June
1866
Liberal
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Viscount Cranborne
MP for Stamford
6 July
1866
8 March
1867
Conservative  
Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby
 
Sir Stafford Northcote
MP for North Devonshire
8 March
1867
1 December
1868
Conservative
 
Benjamin Disraeli
 
George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll 9 December
1868
17 February
1874
Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury 21 February
1874
2 April
1878
Conservative Benjamin Disraeli
Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy, 1st Viscount Cranbrook
2 April
1878
21 April
1880
Conservative
Spencer Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington
MP for North East Lancashire
28 April
1880
16 December
1882
[[Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley 16 December
1882
9 June
1885
Liberal
Lord Randolph Churchill
MP for Paddington South
24 June
1885
28 January
1886
Conservative Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley 6 February
1886
20 July
1886
Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
R. A. Cross, 1st Viscount Cross 3 August
1886
11 August
1892
Conservative Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley 18 August
1892
10 March
1894
Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Henry Fowler
MP for Wolverhampton East
10 March
1894
21 June
1895
Liberal Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery
Lord George Hamilton
MP for Ealing
4 July
1895
9 October
1903[2]
Conservative  
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
(Unionist Coalition)
 
 
Arthur Balfour
(Unionist Coalition)
 
William St John Brodrick
MP for Guildford
9 October
1903
4 December
1905
Irish Unionist
John Morley
MP for Montrose Burghs until 1908
Viscount Morley of Blackburn after 1908
10 December
1905
3 November
1910
Liberal Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
H. H. Asquith
Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Earl of Crewe 3 November
1910
7 March
1911
Liberal
John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn 7 March
1911
25 May
1911
Liberal
Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe 25 May
1911
25 May
1915
Liberal
Austen Chamberlain
MP for Birmingham West
25 May
1915
17 July
1917[3]
Conservative H. H. Asquith
(Coalition)

David Lloyd George
(Coalition)

Edwin Montagu
MP for Chesterton until 1918
MP for Cambridgeshire after 1918
17 July
1917
19 March
1922
Liberal
William Peel, 2nd Viscount Peel 19 March
1922
22 January
1924
Conservative Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
Sydney Olivier, 1st Baron Olivier 22 January
1924
3 November
1924
Labour Ramsay MacDonald
F. E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead 6 November
1924
18 October
1928
Conservative Stanley Baldwin
William Peel, 2nd Viscount Peel 18 October
1928
4 June
1929
Conservative
William Wedgwood Benn
MP for Aberdeen North
7 June
1929
24 August
1931
Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Sir Samuel Hoare
MP for Chelsea
25 August
1931
7 June
1935
Conservative Ramsay MacDonald
(1st & 2nd National Min.)
Lawrence Dundas, 2nd Marquess of Zetland 7 June
1935
28 May
1937
Conservative Stanley Baldwin
(3rd National Min.)

Secretaries of state for India and Burma, 1937–1947

Portrait Name Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Lawrence Dundas, 2nd Marquess of Zetland 28 May
1937
13 May
1940
Conservative Neville Chamberlain
(4th National Min.;
War Coalition)
Leo Amery
MP for Birmingham Sparkbrook
13 May
1940
26 July
1945
Conservative Winston Churchill
(War Coalition; Caretaker Min.)
Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, 1st Baron Pethick-Lawrence 3 August
1945
17 April
1947
Labour Clement Attlee
The Right Honourable
William Hare, 5th Earl of Listowel
17 April
1947
14 August
1947
Labour

Secretaries of state for Burma, 1947–1948

Portrait Name Term of office Political party Prime Minister
The Right Honourable
William Hare, 5th Earl of Listowel
14 August
1947
4 January
1948
Labour Clement Attlee

See also


History of English and British government departments with responsibility for foreign affairs and those with responsibility for the colonies, dominions and the Commonwealth
Northern Department
1660–1782
Secretaries — Undersecretaries
Southern Department
1660–1768
Secretaries — Undersecretaries
Southern Department
1768–1782
Secretaries — Undersecretaries
1782: diplomatic responsibilities transferred to new Foreign Office
Colonial Office
1768–1782
SecretariesUndersecretaries
Foreign Office
1782–1968
SecretariesMinistersUndersecretaries
Home Office
1782–1794
SecretariesUndersecretaries
War Office
1794–1801
SecretariesUndersecretaries
War and Colonial Office
1801–1854
SecretariesUndersecretaries
Colonial Office
1854–1925
SecretariesUndersecretaries
India Office
1858–1937
SecretariesUndersecretaries
Colonial Office
1925–1966
SecretariesMinistersUndersecretaries
Dominions Office
1925–1947
SecretariesUndersecretaries
India Office and Burma Office
1937–1947
SecretariesUndersecretaries
Commonwealth Relations Office
1947–1966
SecretariesMinistersUndersecretaries
Commonwealth Office
1966–1968
SecretariesMinistersUndersecretaries
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
1968–2020
SecretariesMinistersUndersecretaries
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
Since 2020
SecretariesMinistersUndersecretaries

Notes

  1. ^ Resigned after being injured in a hunting accident.
  2. ^ Resigned.
  3. ^ Resigned.