Hello, aspirants are you preparing for UPSC/APSC? If yes, then you must be aware of the most important history of North East India topic ANGLO-BURMESE WAR AND NORTH EAST INDIA (1824-1826) for the upcoming UPSC/APSC Prelims or Mains exam preparation. Therefore every aspirants need to know the detail information of Anglo-Burmese war and the Causes of the Anglo-Burmese War for UPSC & APSC exams.



In this regard "World_Polity" decides to provide you the most important history of North East India topic ANGLO-BURMESE WAR AND NORTH EAST INDIA as well as the Causes of the Anglo-Burmese War for UPSC & APSC Prelims & Mains exam. Infact the Indian History and Assam History will be a key topic in the history section for the upcoming exams.


The Burmese and the British, both expansionists and powerful, were always in conflict with each other. Eventually, the British were able to annex Burma following a series of wars known as Anglo-Burmese Wars.

The first Anglo-Burmese War was fought between 1824 and 1826. By the end of the first war in which the British emerged victorious in Assam, Manipur, Cachar, Jaintia, Arakan province and Tenasserim came under the control of the British.

Though the main aim of the British to get into war with Burma was to expand their territory, they had other reasons too. One reason for the British to be at war with Burma was the search for new markets for British manufactured goods.

The British did not want the French to use the Burmese harbours for trade. Increased trade with France was a threat for the British as it hindered the trade relations of the British with other countries. The British were also concerned about the French influence on the Court of Ava and feared loss of territory, control and trade. Awar with Burma and the annexation of Ava was the only way in which the French could be driven out by the British.

Causes of the Anglo-Burmese War

Burma was a strong nation and it always posed a threat to the British because of its invasion in the North Eastern states. In addition, Burma was strong economically because of its trade links with other countries. By 1822, long borders had been created between British India and the Burmese because of Burmese conquests of Assam and Manipur.

The British at that time were based in Calcutta and had different plans for the North East region. The British also actively supported rebels in Assam, Manipur and Arakan. When the British in Calcutta unilaterally declared Cachar and Jaintia British territories and sent in troops to drive away the Burmese, the Burmese were vexed and surprised with the attacks. The then Burmese Commander-in-Chief, Maha Bandula, was convinced that a war with the British was inevitable and thus, adopted an offensive policy against the British.

Maha Bandula was ready for war against the British because he believed that a decisive victory could allow Ava to consolidate its control in Arakan, Manipur, Assam, Cachar, Jaintia. Maha Bandula also wanted to take control over East Bengal and strengthen the Burm empire in India as ell.

In September 1823, Chittagong which was a part of the East India Company was invaded by Burma. Burma wanted to occupy Shalpuri Islands and this gave rise to another conflict between the British and the Burmese.

In January 1824, when rebels entered Cachar and Jaintia, the Burmese sent in their troops to drive the rebels away. On the other hand, the British sent their troops to meet the Burmese in Jaintia. This was what led to the first war clashes between the British and the Burmese. Following border clashes in Arakan, the war formally broke out on 5 March 1824.

The Conflict

The King of Ava had become increasingly aggressive and expansionist towards the British held territories. In 1776, the Burmese had seized Tenasserim from Siam. In 1784, Arakan was incorporated sa part of Ava and in 1813, the Burmese conquered Manipur. Though a war was inevitable, the British at that time involved in other areas, tried to delay it.

The final stroke came in September 1823, when the Burmese invaded and captured Shalpuri islands near Chittagong. The preparations for the war began thereafter.

Until now, all British actions against Burma were land based. The British decided to undertake amphibious actions in order to take over the town of Rangoon (now Yangon) which lay upon the banks of river Irrawaddy. Ajoint naval and infantry expedition was planned at Port Cornwallis in Andaman Islands under the control of General Archibald Campbell and Commodore Grant.

The 13th Regiment made up part of 11,000 infantry sector and was placed under the command of Major Robert Sale. The first role of the 13th Regiment in the conflict was to seize and occupy the island of Cheduba which lay on the Arakan coast.

Three companies were detailed to carry out this attack while the rest of the soldiers were asked to march to Rangoon. The attack on Rangoon was a successful one and the town was soon seized by the British and converted to a defensive stronghold.

The Burmese, however, used to fighting in the jungle terrain with their muskets, swords and spears soon surrounded Rangoon from the outskirts. In the meantime, the monsoon season arrived and converted the country into mud and also spread disease. 

The British decided against a defensive action and planned an attack. The British did not find it easy because of the terrain of the jungle. They had to carry artillery in hand and the soldiers were falling fast because of the disease that had spread.

The Burmese army was slowly pushed back up the Irrawaddy Valley. By February 1826, the Anglo-Indian army had advanced 300 miles to the town of Yandabo. From here, the Burmese capital lay just a short distance. The advance of the Anglo-Indian army on the capital began on 9 February 1826 with the 13th Regiment leading a night attack. This caused the enemy to flee.

The capital was reached just two weeks later when the King of Ava sent a peace treaty to the British and agreed to pay the expenses of the war and also surrender a considerable part of his territory. 

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