What events caused the Sepoy to rebel? What happened during the rebellion?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During the Sepoy Rebellion, also called the Indian Mutiny, of 1857-1858, sepoys, or Indian soldiers, rebelled against the British East India Company and against British rule. The immediate cause of the rebellion was a rumor that the cartridges for the new Enfield rifles the sepoys had to use were coated with grease from cow and pig fat. This type of grease violated Hindu and Muslim dietary laws. This rumor was likely false, but it seemed to confirm the sepoys' very real belief that the British were attacking their traditional way of life and undermining Indian rule of India.

The rebellion started when a sepoy named Mangal Panday, from a Brahmin family that was devoutly Hindu, shot at British officers in Barrackpore in March of 1857; he was later executed. During the rebellion, sepoys at Meerut revolted against orders to use the new Enfield rifles, and they were jailed as a result. Other sepoys rebelled in solidarity and shot their officers and marched to Delhi. Local sepoys joined them in restoring the Mughal emperor, Bahādur Shah II (in name only, for the most part), and the rebellion spread across northern India. The rebellion was put down by British troops by 1858, and, in the aftermath of the rebellion, the British East India Company was replaced by direct rule of India by the British government.  

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