United Provinces, former state, N India, now almost coextensive with the modern state of Uttar Pradesh. The United Provinces embraced the plain of the Ganges, the heartland of India. This region was the scene of the ancient Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Invasions, battles, and the rise of great kingdoms occurred there. Many Hindu pilgrims flock to the holy cities along the Ganges, notably Allahabad and Varanasi. The east, as the scene of Buddha's life, remains sacred to Buddhism. Though the region was overwhelmingly Hindu in population, it was under Muslim rule from the 12th to the 18th cent. Great Britain first acquired territory there in 1764. The United Provinces of Agra and Oudh was formed in 1877 by merging the presidency of Agra and the kingdom of Oudh. The provincial area was occupied by rebels in the Indian Mutiny. After the partition of India in 1947, many Muslims migrated from the United Provinces to Pakistan. In 1950 the new state of Uttar Pradesh was formed.
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