The answer given by dipasuresh, about how many years britain rules india is wrong. It was actually 339 years, he/she wrote 347. 1947 - 1608 = 339 years. History is important sorry but even the smallest mistake can cause big misunderstanding. But thank you dipasuresh you have helped me by giving me the answer text.
The British Rule in India lasted for a very long time. It all started with the settlement of the East India Company in the year 1612. East India Company was the key force behind colonization of countries around the world.
The East India Company established its trading posts and eventually started keeping its own military. However, the Mughal Empire declined in 1707 and the East India Company started taking over the affairs of the empire after Battle of Plassey in 1757.
The Britishers ruled the country then onwards till 14 August 1947, when Pakistan and India finally claimed Independence.
The British left India in 1947 as part of a deal that was struck between the UK and the USA for the Americans support in WW2. The Americans were extremely reluctant to enter into the war in its early stages as they thought the Germans would be the likely victors. Franklin Roosevelt, the US President at the time contacted the Canadian PM, Mackenzie King and suggested that the US and Canada actually side with the Germans over Britain! The Canadians were so outraged at the suggestion that relations between the two great countries suffered as a direct result. After the Japanese attacks on the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbour the US declared itself at war with Japan, but still not with Germany. It was actually Germany and Italy who declared war on the USA on 11th December 1941. Well, when I say Italy, it was actually Mussolini who declared war on the USA. Many Italians had family and friends living in the US and saw the country as a home from homes. In fact Sicilian resistance members actually fought against fascist elements in Italy and supported US ground troops when they landed on the island of Sicily.
So, Winston Churchill asked, begged and pleaded with Roosevelt for US military support, but little came. Some US naval and air force pilots, many of them Jewish, did voluntary join the RAF under the US flag and fought the Germans over the skies of Britain and Europe. It was not until President Harry Truman came into power that the Americans really stepped up their game in Europe. Truman was a man of vision, a man that saw the potential in the US and where this countries could stand in world affairs. He offered the UK full support in the war, but with certain stipulations. Firstly the British had to give up their acquired empire. That meant, good bye to Indian, all of Africa and the far East such as Burma, Malaya, and Singapore as well as many Chinese territories and islands. Also the US knew that if they were to be number one then they would need superiority of the seas, so that meant that the Royal Navy had to go! The US ordered the British to deplete it once proud and fearsome naval fleet down to the bare minimum, post 1945 Britannia no longer ruled the waves. The Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto quote after the attacks on Pearl really summed up the new order of things to come, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."
Without the military clout and with mounting pressure from the new post depression America, the sun finally started to set on the British Empire. After 300 years of influence in the India sub-continent the British packed their bags and bid a fond fair well to the people of India.
Up to now nobody has ever written down in black and white on what date the british started ruling, it was certainly a gradual process therefore, it can only be said only as over 300 years.
Dan Superdude does not have a clue to what he is talking about.
Roosevelt fired Joe Kennedy (the father of JFK, the future and 1st Catholic President of the US) for saying the US should leave England to its fate. America shouldered the burden of the war in the Pacific while entering into a treaty with the UK called "The Lend / Lease Pact". And, England was the ONLY Allied nation who actually paid the bills incurred from the war.
After the war ended, Mahatma Gandhi led the Indians in the march for independence, breaking India into 3 distinct parts, East and West Pakistan (primarily Muslim dominated) and India (primarily Hindu.) The US NEVER told England to downsize it's fleet, or give up the Empire.
But, after the war, England found it impossible to maintain everything like it was before the war due to the costs of rebuilding, paying back loans it had incurred from other Allied nations, and so gradually let their former colonies seek independence.
And, it could be said that Britain did rule most of India for about 200 years, but they fought the Sikhs in the 1840's, fought the entire country EXCEPT the Sikhs in the 1850's, and still won, even though they were heavily outnumbered in every battle they fought.
Check your facts, Superdude...
@ rohini137: That is in no way true. Of all the people in the world discriminated against, Africans and African-Americans have suffered the worse and the longest. Not only did they suffer almost 500 years of brutal slavery in America and Europe, many countries in Africa itself were under British rule until the early 60s. India was liberated in 1947. You also can't forget the discrimination against African-Americans in the United States as well. Indians DEFINITELY had it easier.
My age is 29 but today (03-Sep-2010) only came to know that the British Ruled India for around 349 years..
Very shame to me at the same time thinking about our peoples who struggled for these 349 years.. Oh god..