WHG+Sepoy+Rebellion+PLP.docx - Long-Term Causes of the...

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Long-Term Causes of the Sepoy Rebellion Expansion of British Power in India British Indian Army soldiers, 1895. Source Westernization Photograph of Indian physicist, Satyendra Nath Bose, 1925. Source: Sepoys Outnumbered British Troops The British East India Company took control of a large amount of India through force and through treaties that Indian princes who had no choice but to sign. Whenever possible the British replaced India rulers with British officials. Westernization, the process of changing a culture to be more “western” or European/American, was promoted by the British in India. They proposed changes to laws regarding Hinduism and the caste system, introduced a British education system, and British fashions became popular. The British held all of the positions of power in the British East India Company, but they were not the majority of the Company’s soldiers. Two out of three soldiers working for the Company were Indian. Short-Term Causes of the Sepoy Rebellion: The Spark The immediate cause for the revolt was the introduction of the new Enfield rifle to the British Indian Army. To load it, the sepoys had to bite off the ends of lubricated cartridges that held the gunpowder for the rifle. A rumor spread among the sepoys that the grease used to lubricate the cartridges was a mixture of pigs’ and cows’ lard. This was a problem because it was a violation of Hindu and Muslim religious practices to have contact with pig (Muslims) and cow (Hindu) products. There is no conclusive evidence that either of these materials was actually used on any of the cartridges in question. However, the perception that the cartridges were tainted added to the larger suspicion that the British were

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