Robshaw is one of the least experienced players ever to captain England, although they have been led by uncapped players, including scrum-half Nigel Melville on his debut against Australia in 1984 at the age of 23.
The 25-year-old flanker Robshaw, whose lone cap came against Argentina in 2009, replaces Lewis Moody after the former skipper announced his retirement from international rugby following England’s World Cup flop in New Zealand.
England interim coach Stuart Lancaster said Robshaw would lead the defending champions in their Six Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday and against Italy in Rome the following weekend.
Robshaw, who has helped guide Harlequins to the top of the Premiership table, was previously captain of England’s reserve Saxons side, where he worked alongside Lancaster.
“It’s a huge honour and a very proud day – hopefully one that will live in my memory for a long time to come. Thanks to everyone who has helped me, especially Quins,” said Robshaw.
“I’m not one of these guys whose going to shout and scream at people but every now and then you have to do that,” he added at England’s training base here on Monday.
“It’s more about going out there and just leading by example.”
Robshaw has inherited the job at a difficult time for England after Moody and then-team manager Martin Johnson were criticised for failing to clamp down on the squad’s off-field excesses.
This included embarrassing drinking sprees during the World Cup in New Zealand where the side failed to reach their stated goal of a semi-final spot, losing in the last eight to France.
But Robshaw, left out of the World Cup squad, insisted he did not feel burdened by England’s off-field problems, saying: “Not at all. It’s an exciting time for English rugby. We are a very proud group at the moment. We are all about working hard for each other.”
Lancaster added: “Chris is going to be captain for the first two games and then what we are going to draw breath and review where we are at as a group.”
The interim coach said he had no qualms about making a one-cap player skipper.
“Not at all. In terms of the profile of our group as a whole, people would say we lack experience internationally but the counter-argument is we’ve got a lot of lads who’ve got an awful lot of experience playing in the Premiership and Europe,” he said.
“Chris has done that and captained his side really well in a lot of big games so I’m very confident in his ability.”
The Harlequins captain was named Premiership Player of the Year three years ago and then won his sole cap in a defeat by Argentina in 2009.