< Full Calendar

20-02-1947

Mountbatten named last viceroy of India

Lord Louis Mountbatten, cousin of King George VI and a hero of World War II, is named the last British colonial administrator of India. As Britain had promised independence to India at the end of World War II, his appointment enraged many Indians. However, Mountbatten accelerated independence negotiations, and in pushing for the partition of the former Mogul Empire into India and Pakistan, he may have saved the Indian subcontinent from full-scale civil war. On August 15, 1947, India and Pakistan were granted independence, but what Mahatma Gandhi called the noblest act of the British nation was soon marred by large-scale religious massacres. Mountbatten later served as Britain's military chief of staff and as the governor of England's Isle of Wight. In 1979, an Irish Republican Army terrorist bomb off the coast of Ireland blew up his fishing yacht; Mountbatten, his grandson, and two other royal relatives were killed in the explosion.