Anglo-Burmese Wars

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Anglo-Burmese Wars


1824–26, 1852, and 1885, predatory wars instigated by England and aimed at the colonial enslavement of Burma.

The British East India Company started the first Anglo-Burmese War (1824–26) on Mar. 5, 1824. English forces met stubborn resistance. The Burmese army, led by Maha Bandula, inflicted serious damage to the English forces. After Maha Bandula’s death in April 1825 the English army was able, at the expense of huge losses, to advance almost to the Burmese capital of Ava. England bound Burma to a treaty, signed in Yandabo on Feb. 24, 1826. Burma lost Arakan, Tenasserim, and the Indian principalities of Assam and Manipur, which it had conquered at the beginning of the 19th century. Burma was obligated to pay an indemnity of <£ 1 million, to accept an English resident, and to conclude a trade agreement with England. The resistance of the Burmese people forced the East India Company to end military actions without completing the conquest of all of Burma.

The East India Company initiated the second Anglo-Burmese War (1852) on Apr. 5, 1852, with the occupation of the area of Pegu. Burma suffered defeat in this war owing in part to the uprisings, provoked by England, of the Mons, Shans, and Karens. On Dec. 20, 1852, the East India Company proclaimed the annexation of Pegu.

The third Anglo-Burmese War (1885) completed the subjugation of Burma. Exploiting an incident between an English trading company and the Burmese government, England presented an ultimatum to the Burmese king Thibau in October 1885 demanding control over Burma’s foreign relations. At the same time, English troops were sent to Burma. Military actions began on Nov. 14, 1885. The regular Burmese army was unable to resist the English army, which had numerical superiority, and it capitulated. On Jan. 1, 1886, a manifesto announcing the annexation of Burma to the possessions of the English throne was published. Burma became a separate province of India. The partisan movement which unfolded in Burma was not broken by the English colonialists until 1890.


Marx, K. “Voina v Birme.” In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 9.
Marx, K. “Polozhenie del na kontinente i v Anglii.” Ibid.
Banerjee, A. C. Annexation of Burma. Calcutta, 1944.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
They have been absent from England fourteen years, having been embarked the year after Waterloo, in which glorious conflict they took an active part, and having subsequently distinguished themselves in the Burmese war. The veteran colonel, Sir Michael O'Dowd, K.C.B., with his lady and sister, landed here yesterday, with Captains Posky, Stubble, Macraw, Malony; Lieutenants Smith, Jones, Thompson, F.
1852 - Second Burmese War breaks out after British ultimatum to King of Burma (now Myanmar).
Granville Gower Loch captained HMS Winchester and fell in action during the Second Burmese War in 1835.
The first Anglo Burmese war March 1824- Feb 1826 ???
Pertinently, it was only in 1826 that Assam ceded to the British Dominion under the aegis of the Treaty of Yandabu which was a logical corollary of the Anglo Burmese War. This annexation of Assam has always been seen as the cause behind the enormously fierce and independent minded swathes of Assam's populace.
Dennis, himself a veteran of the Burmese War, tracked Henry down to a small flat on the south coast but had the door slammed in his face many times as Henry wanted nothing to do with the war.
"Small victories in recorded in Burmese war on drugs." New York Times, July 7, 2002.
Accordingly, in order to understand the sufferings and struggles of the forcibly displaced Karens in the Burmese war zones or inside and outside "temporary shelter areas" on the Thai side, it is imperative to understand how essential it is for the Karens to reenact themselves as Karens.
BURMESE war veteran Alf Murch will be given a guard of honour by Coventry standard bearers at his funeral on Friday.
Nor do we hear him mentioning the Burmese war against the Karen people nor many other examples of the use of terror for political purposes by powerful military cliques or colonizing governments.
A plaque in a Burmese war cemetery marks the short life of Bill Timms, who was only 21 when killed fighting the Japanese.
Principal wars: Second Afghan War (1878-1880); First Anglo-Boer War (1881); Mahdist War (1883-1898); Third Burmese War (1885-1886); Tirah Campaign (1897-1898); Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902); World War I (1914-1918).