First & Second Anglo-Burmese War: Causes and Results

Like elsewhere, the British government, under its expansionist policy, expanded its territory towards the north-eastern frontier and assimilated the independent state of Burma into the British Empire with the help of three wars.

Anglo-Burmese War

The British trade relations with Burma were established in the latter half of the 16th century. But when the British resorted to expansionist policy in India, the boundaries of the two started touching each other by the 18th-19th century. Sometimes there were also border disputes between the two. By 1750 AD, Burma had established a powerful state by consolidating its political position. There was growing French influence. The British did not like to see their neighboring state strengthened at any cost. Also, French influence pricked him like a thorn. Therefore, between 1795 and 1811, the British tried to establish commercial as well as political relations with Burma. But, when he did not get success in it, then he started trying to control it.

First Anglo-Burma War (1824–26) :

By 1750 AD, a powerful dynasty had also been established in Burma and it was also expanding its empire greatly by resorting to imperialist policy. In this connection, he took control of Arakan in 1784-85 AD, Manipur in 1813 AD and looked towards Bengal. He demanded the areas falling under Arakan – Chittagong, Murshidabad and Qasim Bazar – from the British because Arakan had become his right. But Hastings turned down his demand. The government of Burma (Awa) annexed the Hindu kingdom of Assam in 1821-22, Ahom and Shahpuri Island near Chittagong in 1823. Although the British again took it under their jurisdiction, the Burmese government proposed to declare it a free area. The British rejected him. As a result, the relationship between the two became bitter.

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The second thing was that the British used to give refuge to the fugitive criminals of Arakan who kept on attacking Arakan regularly. The Burmese government demanded their handover but the British were not ready for it. Because of this also the relationship between the two deteriorated.

In this way the relations between the two became so bitter that finally on 24 February 1824, the Governor General Lord Amhart declared war on Burma. This was the first Anglo-Burma war, which ended two years later (24 February 1826) by the Treaty of Yandabu. According to this, the Burmese king promised the territories of Arakan and Tinasarim to the British. Manipur was recognized as an independent state. Burma gave up its claim over Assam, Cachar and Jaintia. He also gave one crore rupees to the British as compensation. Arrangements were made to keep each other’s residents here.

Second Anglo-Burma War (1852 AD)

Although the first war was ended by the Treaty of Yandbu in 1826 AD, the imperialist policy of the British again made war inevitable.

In 1837, Theravadi became the new king of Burma, who refused to accept the treaty of Yandabu made by his brother. He also did not behave well with the Retish Resident and he even removed him. Due to this, relations between Rennes deteriorated.

On the other hand, the British sought permission from the king there to increase their trade in the whole of Burma. But he did not allow. This also brought bitterness in the relationship between the two.

In 1850, British merchants living in Rangoon complained to the Governor-General Dalhousie in Calcutta that they were harassed by Burmese officials. They should be stopped, otherwise leaving all the property and running away from there. Dalhousie was an imperialist, so he wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. In November 1851, he sent his envoy to Burma along with many warships and demanded damages. Many Burmese ships were destroyed. The Burmese government feared to keep the British Resident and assured compensation. But Dalhousie was ready to go to war, so he increased the amount of damages to one lakh pounds and introduced a new proposal to remove the new governor of Rangoon and apologize. The Burmese king refused it to Manse. As a result, Dalhousie started the war on this pretext in April 1852. The Burmese king Pagan was not in a state of war due to internal strife. As a result, the British took possession of many places. The war was stopped by the annexation of Pegu (Lower Burma) to the British state as Dalhousie also did not want to escalate the war further. Now the border of the British Indian Empire reached the Salvin River and the eastern border was protected from external attacks.

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