In the aftermath of the Indian Mutiny (1857-59), the East India Company questioned the loyalty of Indians in its cavalry units. As a result, it recruited several units made up entirely of non-Indian soldiers.
One of these was the 2nd Bengal European Light Cavalry. Formed in 1858, it transferred to the British Army only three years later while still in India.
On its transfer, it was converted into a hussar regiment and took over the numeral 20, which was vacant at the time, in the cavalry order of precedence. Five unconnected light dragoon regiments with that numeral had been raised and disbanded between 1706 and 1818. In 1890, the 20th Hussars were officially recognised as their successor and adopted their battle honours.