For centuries, India was the crown jewel of the British Empire, full of natural resources, exotic spices and foods, and well-situated for access to the Asian ports. Great Britain maintained its hold on the subcontinent until 1947, when India was granted its independence. The battle for an independent India took place on many levels and in numerous ways, both peaceful and violent. Men like Mohandas Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah led the movement for a free India. Yet the common quest for liberation pitted these leaders against one another and caused the partitioning of the subcontinent into the nations of India and Pakistan, sparking one of the most turbulent and deadly migrations of populations in history. Read how Indian independence continues to impact the world in terms of politics, religion, and culture in The Indian Independence Act of 1947.