BHOPAL, a native state of India, in the central India agency. Its area is 6902 sq. m., and its population in 1901 was 665,961, showing a decrease of 30% in the decade. This seems to be in part due to a difference in numeration, but the state suffered heavily from famine in 1896-1897 and 1899-1900. Bhopal is the principal Mussulman state in central India, ranking next to Hyderabad among the Mahommedan states of India. The surface of the country is uneven, being traversed by the Vindhya ranges, a peak of which near Raysen is upwards of 2500 ft. above sea-level. The general inclination of the country is towards the north, in which direction most of the streams of the state flow, while others, passing through the Vindhya ranges, flow to the Nerbudda.
Bhopal state was founded in 1723 by Dost Mahommed Khan, an Afghan adventurer. In 1778, when General Thomas Goddard made his bold march across India, the state of Bhopal was the only Indian power that showed itself friendly; and in 1809 when another British expedition under General Close appeared in the same parts, the nawab of Bhopal petitioned earnestly but in vain to be received under British protection. But in 1817, at the outbreak of the Pindari War, a treaty of dependence was concluded between the chief and the British government. Since then Bhopal has been steadily loyal to the British government, and during the Mutiny it rendered good services. The throne has descended in the female line since 1844, when Sikandar Begum became ruler. Succeeding begums have taken a great interest in the work of governing the state, which they carried on with marked success. The sultan Jahan Begum, succeeded on the death of her mother, Shah Jahan Begum, in June 1901, being the only female ruler in India.
The estimated revenue of the state is £250,000, and the state pays a subsidy of £13,000 for the Bhopal battalion. Besides the Bhopal battalion, a regiment of imperial service cavalry is maintained, under the name of the Victoria Lancers. There is a branch railway from Itarsi to Bhopal city, continued to Jhansi. The British currency has been introduced, and in 1897-1898, Rs. 71,00,000 of Bhopali coins were converted. The residence of the political agent and the headquarters of the Bhopal battalion are at Sehore, 20 m. west of Bhopal city. The city of Bhopal, a railway station, had a population in 1901 of 76,561. The palace, with its rock fortress, is called Fatehgarh. An excellent water-supply has been provided from two large artificial lakes. There are two hospitals. There is an export trade in opium.
Bhopal Agency, an administrative section of central India, takes its name from the state of Bhopal, which is included in it. The Bhopal agency is administered by the agent to the governor-general in central India. Its area is 11,653 sq. m., and its population in 1901 was 1,157,697. It was created in 1818. In 1900 this district suffered severely from famine owing to the complete failure of the monsoon, and the cultivated area decreased by 50 or 60%; but, on the whole, trade has improved of late years owing to the new railways, which have stimulated commerce and created fresh centres of industry.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)