The Regiment's initial date of formation was in the service of the Nawab of Arcot (Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India) prior to 1780. It joined the East India Company's service in 1784 as the 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry and became the 1st Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry the same year. Later it became the 4th Regiment in 1786, the 2nd Regiment in 1788 and subsequently the 2nd Regiment of Madras Light Infantry in
1819. The regiment then became known as the 2nd Regiment of Madras Lancers in 1886, then the 2nd Madras Lancers in 1901 and the 27th Light Cavalry 1903. The Regiment became the 16th Light Cavalry in 1922.