Since 1772, the British East India Company (a trading company) had hegemony over the Indian subcontinent and represented the British government. Over the years the Company had become increasingly oppressive and expansionist, alienating many Indians. Tensions finally erupted on 10 May 1857 amongst Indian sepoys who revolted against British command in Meerut. This had a domino effect. Sepoy military units travelled around their bases and towns killing British officers and civilians, even taking the fort at Delhi. The revolts were mostly concentrated in northern India and attracted prominent pro-independence Indian activists. On 25 June, after resisting the mutineers for three weeks, 800 Kanpur British soldiers and civilians were massacred, after a promise of safe-passage. This brutality hardened British attitudes. By early 1858, British forces had successfully suppressed conflict in most areas, including crushing several southern revolts. The mutiny resulted in the dissolution of the British East India Company and more sympathetic direct British rule.
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