Second Anglo-Burmese War - General Knowledge Today

Second Anglo-Burmese War

Second Anglo-Burmese War 1852-53

After the First Anglo-Burmese war, the Treaty of Yandabu was signed between Burma and East India Company on February 24, 1826. For next 20 years the relations were normal, but the Burma Kings were chaffed of the English merchants who started flocking in the country and got settled over there.

In 1851, these merchants complained their overlords sitting in Calcutta about the oppression of the Burmese officials at Rangoon. The issue was taken seriously by the East India Company and the Lord Dalhousie asked Burma for compensation. No reply was sent from the other end. The idea was to made it a reason for an imposed war on Burma.

Apart from that there were minor bilateral issues regarding the Treaty of Yandabu. However, exactly under which circumstances, this war was fought was not made public. The war started in April 5, 1852 and as soon as the war started the port of Martaban was taken on the same day. On 12th April Rangoon was annexed and in June Pegu was taken. In January 1853, a proclamation of annexation was read out and thus this war ended without any treaty signed. The outcome of this war was that Pegu was annexed to the British Empire and it was renamed Lower Burma. British dominion now was from Chittagong to Singapore in the East.

Lord Dalhousie was able to change the map of British India considerably. It was he, who waged a war against Burma (Second Anglo-Burmese War) without any considerable reasons other than his desire to exclude all other European powers from Burma and expand the territory of the British Empire. The second Anglo Sikh war ended in the annexation of Punjab.

Both of these annexations were made by Proclamations and not by any treaty. Lord Dalhousie reduced the Punjab and planted British standard at Peshawar, and then he became involved with the government of Burma which had always been obstinate and foolhardy in dealings with the foreigners such as Chinese and British.

The Burmese could not guess in the war of 1826 (First Anglo Burmese War) that they were practically at the mercy of a very strong maritime power in the Bay of Bengal, which could occupy the whole of their seaboard and penetrate up to the Irawadi River. The over intelligent rulers of Burma could understand the military supremacy of Britain only after the second Anglo Burmese War, which ended with the official proclamation of annexation of Lower Burma (Pegu) on December 20, 1852. This conquest made the British Possessions continuous along the Eastern Shores of the Bay of Bengal, from Chittagong to as far as Singapore.

The British settlement in Calcutta led to the conquest of Burma and the first step was to set up Rangoon as capital of British Possessions at the bank of River Irawadi.

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Last Updated: November 22, 2013