Anglo-Burmese Wars

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There have been three Burmese Wars or Anglo-Burmese Wars:

War with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the fall of Burma[edit]

The expansion of Burma had consequences along its frontiers; as those frontiers moved ever closer to the British East India Company and later the British India, there were problems both with refugees and military operations spilling over ill-defined borders.[1]

First Anglo-Burmese War[edit]

The First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826) ended in a British East India Company victory, and by the Treaty of Yandabo, Burma lost territory previously conquered in Assam, Manipur, and Arakan;[2] the British also took possession of Tenasserim with the intention to use it as a bargaining chip in future negotiations with either Burma or Siam.[3] As the century wore on, the British East India Company began to covet the resources and main part of Burma during an era of great territorial expansion.[4]

Second Anglo-Burmese War[edit]

In 1852, Commodore Lambert was dispatched to Burma by Lord Dalhousie over a number of minor issues related to the previous treaty;[2] the Burmese immediately made concessions including the removal of a governor whom the British had made their casus belli. Lambert eventually provoked a naval confrontation in extremely questionable circumstances and thus started the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852, which ended in the British annexation of Pegu province,[1] renamed Lower Burma; the war resulted in a palace revolution in Burma, with King Pagan Min (1846–1852) being replaced by his half brother, Mindon Min (1853–1878).[2]

Third Anglo-Burmese War[edit]

King Mindon tried to modernise the Burmese state and economy to resist British encroachments, and he established a new capital at Mandalay, which he proceeded to fortify;[1][5] this was not enough to stop the British, however, who claimed that Mindon's son Thibaw Min (ruled 1878–1885) was a tyrant intending to side with the French,[6] that he had lost control of the country, thus allowing for disorder at the frontiers, and that he was reneging on a treaty signed by his father.[1] The British declared war once again in 1885, conquering the remainder of the country in the Third Anglo-Burmese War resulting in total annexation of Burma.[1][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f San Beck Org.
  2. ^ a b c Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur P. Phayre (1967). History of Burma (2 ed.). London: Susil Gupta. pp. 236–247.
  3. ^ D.G.E. Hall (1960). Burma (PDF). Hutchinson University Library. pp. 109–113. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-05-19.
  4. ^ Thant Myint-U (2008). The River of Lost Footsteps (1 paperback ed.). USA: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. pp. 113–127.
  5. ^ German Language Institute Archived 2015-01-03 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^
  7. ^ Thant Myint-U (2008). The River of Lost Footsteps (1 paperback ed.). USA: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. pp. 161–162 + photo.

Further reading[edit]

  • Aung, Htin. The Stricken Peacock: Anglo-Burmese Relations 1752–1948 (Springer Science & Business Media, 2013).
  • Bruce, George. The Burma Wars, 1824–1886 (1973).
  • Gupta, AshwAni. Military Lessons of Burma (2015).
  • Messenger, Charles, ed. Reader's Guide to Military History (2001) pp 73–74.
  • Pollak, Oliver B. Empires in Collision: Anglo-Burmese Relations in the Mid-Nineteenth Century (1980)
  • Stewart, A.T.Q. Pagoda War: Lord Dufferin and the Fall of the Kingdom of Ava, 1885-186O (1972)
  • Tarling, Nicholas, ed. The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, Vol. 2, Part 1: From c.1800 to the 1930s (2000) excerpt