Nagpur was the capital of the Bhonsle dynasty of Marathas who in the mid eighteenth century created an independent Hindu princely state that covered much of east-central India. After their defeat in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818, the Bhonsle dominions were reduced to the Nagpur division. In 1853 the last Maharaja of Nagpur died without a male heir and subsequently Nagpur division was incorporated into mainstream British India. Nagpur division became a part of the British Raj’s Central Provinces in 1861.
Amravati division, formerly known as Berar, was administered by the Nizam of Hyderabad until 1853. In that year, citing misgovernance by the Nizam, the British colonial administration took direct control over the province. Berar was added to the Central Provinces in 1903.
During India’s independence struggle Nagpur hosted the sessions of Indian National Congress several times. Sevagram was the capital of nationalistic India during the Gandhian era.
After India’s independence in 1947, Central Provinces and Berar became the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. In 1956 Vidarbha was transferred to Bombay state to unify all Marathi-speaking areas. In 1960 Bombay state was split along linguistic lines into the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Marathi-speaking Vidarbha became part of the state of Maharashtra.
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