Lucknows medieval history begins with its elevation to a capital city under the Nawabs of Awadh. The architectural contributions of the Awadh rulers include numerous mosques and palaces; many paintings of these are now maintained at the Art Gallery. Of the monuments standing today, the Bara Imambara, the Chhota Imambara, and the Roomi Darwaza are notable examples, although neglect by the authorities has put them in danger of turning into ruins.
The province of Awadh (anglicized to Oudh) was annexed by the British rulers of India in 1856. In the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (also known as First War of Indian Independence), the garrison based at the Residency in Lucknow was besieged by rebel forces. The famous Siege of Lucknow was relieved first by forces under the command of Sir Henry Havelock and Sir James Outram, followed by a stronger force under Sir Colin Campbell. Today the ruins of the Residency, and the picturesque Shaheed Smarak offer reminiscences of Lucknow's role in the events.
During the siege of the Residency in 1857, it was the students of La Martiniere College that went ahead to defend the Residency. For the valour that they displayed, La Martiniere College at Lucknow was awarded the battle honours of the British Empire. Thus making it the first college to receive such honors.