A city of India and the capital of a district and a division of the same name in the southwestern part of Uttar Pradesh, in north central India.
The City. The city of Jhansi is situated in a southern extension, or corridor, of Uttar Pradesh, about 130 miles (210 km) south of Agra. It lies at the northern edge of the plateau of the Indian foreland district and is the trade and rail center between the Ganges Valley and the plateau. Its industries include railway workshops, a steel and iron roll¬ing mill, and brassware, rubber, silk, and rug factories. The city was founded by the Marathas in the 18th century and was the capital of one of their principalities, which in 1853 lapsed to the British. The fort at Jhansi, built in 1613 by the Mongol rulers, was the scene of a massacre of the European garrison during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. The town was retaken the following year by Sir Hugh Rose. In 1886 the fort was exchanged by the British government with Maharaja Scindia for Gwalior, but was later taken hack. Pop. 1971, 173,292.
The District. The district of Jhansi covers an area of 3,888 square miles (10,070 sq km) and was incorporated with the former district of Lalitpur in 1891. The country is hilly on the south, sloping toward the fertile valley of the Jumna on the north, and is intersected by a series of long, deep valleys cut by rivers. About 38 inches (970 mm) of rain fall annually, but the winter season is cool and dry. In some years the rainfall is not sufficient for agriculture, and there have been severe famines, as well as epidemics, in the region. Its principal crops are millet, wheat, gram, sesame, rape, and mustard. Pop. 1971, 1,307,058.
The Division. The division of Jhansi, comprising the districts of Jhansi, Jalaun, Hamirpur, and Banda, forms part of the region of Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh and covers 11,376 square miles (29,464 sq km). In early days the re¬gion lay within the Orchha State, whose rulers built the fort at Jhansi, but about the 14th century the Bundelas mi¬grated down info the plains, where they settled, and for several centuries the territory was ruled alternately by Mus¬lims and Bundelas. During a Muslim attack in 1732 Chatar Sal, a Bundela chieftain, called in the aid of the Marathas who, on his death in 1734, were rewarded with one third of his dominions. In 1742 the Marathas annexed the Orchha State and founded the city of Jhansi. The city remained under the rule of the peshwahs (heredi¬tary sovereigns) until 1817, when their rights passed to the British East India Company. When the dynasty ended with the death of Gangadhar Rao in 1853, the territory lapsed to the British government and a superintendency was formed. The widow of the raja carried a grievance against the British, and on the outbreak of the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857 she led her people in rebellion and fell in battle at Gwalior.