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doctrine of lapse

in Indian history, formula devised by Lord Dalhousie, governor-general of India (1848-56), to deal with questions of succession to Hindu Indian states. It was a corollary to the doctrine of paramountcy, by which Great Britain, as the ruling power of the Indian subcontinent, claimed the superintendence of the subordinate Indian states and so also the regulation of their succession

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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