Sikh Wars

Sikh Wars

(1845–49), two conflicts preceding the British annexation of the Punjab. By a treaty with the British in 1809, the Sikh ruler of the Punjab, Ranjit SinghRanjit Singh
, 1780–1839, Indian maharaja, ruler of the Sikhs. Seizing Lahore (1799) and Amritsar (1809), he established himself as the leading Sikh chieftain. In 1809 he made a treaty with the British, by which he agreed not to expand his domain south of the Sutlej River.
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, had accepted the Sutlej River as the southern boundary of his domain. After his death (1839) the Punjab fell into a state of disorder in which a succession of rulers were rapidly overthrown by the army. In 1845 the regent, Jhindan, who was both fearful of British intentions and anxious to distract the Sikh army, sent troops across the Sutlej (Dec. 11). The British, under Sir Hugh (later Viscount) Gouge, Sir Harry Smith, and others, won several preliminary victories and then decisively defeated the Sikhs at Aliwal (Jan. 28, 1846) and Sobraon (Feb. 10). They occupied Lahore on Feb. 20. By the Treaty of Lahore (Mar., 1846), the Sikhs were forced to cede Kashmir and to pay an indemnity of 55 million rupees. The British established a protectorate, which was resented. In Apr., 1848, a riot occurred, in which two British officers were killed. There was a general uprising, followed by a second war. A costly (for the British) battle at Chilianwalla (Jan. 13, 1849) was indecisive, but the British completely routed the Sikhs at Gujrat (Feb. 21). The Sikhs surrendered on Mar. 12. Lord Dalhousie, the governor-general, annexed all the Sikh territory on Mar. 30.


See B. J. Hasrat, Anglo-Sikh Relations, 1799–1849 (1968).

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sikh Wars


(in Russian, Anglo-Sikh Wars), predatory wars of the English East India Company in 1845–46 and 1848–49 against the Sikh state in Punjab (India). After provoking a border conflict, the British forced the Sikhs to begin military activities in December 1845.

In the first Sikh War the Sikhs were sucessful in battles at Mudki (December 18) and Firozpur (December 21), but they suffered a defeat at the battle at Sobraon on Feb. 10, 1846. After the first Sikh War, the colonialists maintained something like an independent government. However, the Sikhs were forced to surrender the region of Jullundur to the East India Company and Kashmir to the company ally Gulab Singh, raja of Jammu; they also had to agree to accept an English resident at Lahore. The East India Company decreased the number of Punjab troops, placed the state’s taxation department under its control, and took other such steps. This produced an anti-English uprising in the Sikh army in April 1848. Under pretext of struggling against mutineers, the East India Company began the second Sikh War in November 1848. At the end of January 1849 it managed to seize Multan. On February 21 in the battle at Gujarat the Sikh forces were decisively smashed, after which the East India Company annexed Punjab.


Semenova, N. I. Gosudarstvo sikkhov. Moscow, 1958.
Kochnev, V. I. Gosudarstvo sikkhov i Angliia. Moscow, 1968.
Panjab on the Eve of the First Sikh War. Hoshiarpur, 1956.
Gough, C., and A. Innes. The Sikhs and the Sikh Wars. . . . London, 1897.
Singh, Ganda. The British Occupation of the Panjab. Amritsar-Patiala, 1955.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Hugh Cook, The Sikh Wars - The British Army in the Punjab 1845-1849 (London: Leo Cooper, 1975), 23.
"It was given voluntarily by Ranjit Singh to the British as compensation for help in the Sikh wars. The Koh-i-noor is not a stolen object," he told the supreme court in 2016 in the wake of Prince William and Middleton's visit to India.
On April 19, 2016, the last date of hearing of the PIL seeking a direction to the Centre to bring back Kohinoor, the Centre had said it was a gift given to the British by Ranjit Singh's successor Prince Dalip Singh as some " compensation" after the 1849 Sikh wars and cannot be brought back.
The towers were erected in 1868 by the local British Administration to honour Brigadier General John Nicholson, who was wounded in this spot while suppressing a local revolt during the Anglo Sikh Wars. Some research credits this obelisk as being one of the tallest in the world.
He said they are hundreds of manuscripts and documents in Urdu, Sanskrit and Persian also, apart from newspaper and magazine as old as are weapons belonging to the times of Khalsa Army and the Sikh Wars, besides old Sikh era coins.
In the end, however, no-one can say for certain how "Dover Beach" was composed, but even if Arnold somehow did not see the essay in Fraser's, even if he had not been thinking of the conflict in India when he wrote "Dover Beach," the connection to the Sikh wars would have been clear to many (if not most) of the readers of the poem-especially had it been published soon after it was composed (it did not appear in print till 1867).
Entering the army in 1815, he served in the first Burma War of 1824-26, the first Afghan War in 1839, and the Sikh Wars of 1843-49 ( all Boys Own stuff.
The Borderers were veterans of conflicts including the Marlborough campaigns, the American War of Independence and the Sikh wars. Their involvement in the Anglo-Zulu war, at Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift, was tragic and glorious.
Principal wars: French Revolutionary (1792-1799) and Napoleonic Wars (1800-1815); First Opium War (1839-1842); Gwalior War (1843); First (1845-1846) and Second (1848-1849) Sikh Wars. Principal battles: Talavera (Talavera de la Reina) (1809); Vitoria (1813); Maharajpur (near Gwalior) (1843); Mudki, Firozshah (both near Firozpur) (1845); Sobraon (near Ludhiana) (1846); Ramnager (near Gujrat) (1848); Chilianwala (west of Jhetem, Punjab), Gujrat (1849).
"It was given voluntarily by Ranjit Singh to the British as compensation for help in the Sikh Wars. The Koh-i-Noor is not a stolen object," India's Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar ( reportedly told the court, referring to the 19th century ruler of Punjab - now divided between India and Pakistan - who acquired the diamond from the Afghan king who had earlier sought sanctuary in India.
Singh's book is a history of the last phase of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's regime in Punjab mainly focussed on Anglo Sikh Wars. (ANI)