Fighting in some places continued well into 1858, but the British were ultimately able to establish control. As mutineers were captured, they were often killed on the spot. And many were executed in dramatic fashion.
Outraged by events such as the massacre of women and children at Cawnpore, some British officers believed that hanging mutineers was too humane.
In some cases they used an execution method of lashing a mutineer to the mouth of a cannon, and then firing the cannon and literally blasting the man to pieces. Sepoys were forced to watch such displays as it was believed it set an example of the horrific death that awaited mutineers.
The Mutiny Brought the End of the East India Company
The East India Company had been active in India for nearly 250 years, but the violence of the 1857 uprising led to the British government dissolving the company and taking direct control of India.
Following the fighting of 1857-58, India was legally considered a colony of Britain, ruled by a viceroy. The uprising was officially declared over on July 8, 1859.
Legacy of the Uprising of 1857
There is no question that atrocities were committed by both sides, and stories of events of 1857-58 lived on in both Britain and India. Books and articles about the bloody fighting and heroic deeds by British officers and men were published for decades in London. Illustrations of events tended to reinforce Victorian notions of honor and bravery.
Any British plans to reform Indian society, which had been one of the underlying causes of the revolt, were essentially set aside. And religious conversion of the Indian population was no longer viewed as a practical goal.
In the 1870s the British government formalized its role as an imperial power. Queen Victoria, at the prompting of Benjamin Disraeli, announced to Parliament that her Indian subjects were "happy under My rule and loyal to My throne."
Victoria added the title "Empress of India" to her royal title. And in 1877, outside Delhi, essentially in the spot where bloody fighting had taken place 20 years earlier, an event called the Imperial Assemblage was held.
In an elaborate ceremony, Lord Lytton, the serving viceroy of India, honored a number of Indian princes. And Queen Victoria was officially proclaimed as Empress of India.
Britain, of course, would rule India well into the 20th century. And when the Indian independence movement gained momentum in the 20th century, events of the Revolt of 1857 were viewed as having been an early battle for independence. And individuals such as Mangal Pandey were hailed as early national heroes.