Early History of Burma – 4

  • Expansion of British rule in BURMA:


British control over Burma was fully established after Anglo-Burmese wars, which ultimately resulted in the fall of Burma and the victory of the Britishers. The third and last of these wars was fought in 1886, when finally Burma was annexed to British and Empire.

Entry of the British in Burma:

It was at the beginning of 19th century that they began to trade with Burma, though in a limited way. This trade was mainly being carried out through Rangoon. It was after this that gradually the Britishers began to expand in Burma. This expansion came in three stages:

It was in the middle of 18th century that Alaungpaya, with the aid of Britishers could become the master of the land and was in a position to defeat his rivals who were aided by the French.It was during these wars that he could take under his possession, the French canons and artilleryman. With their use and assistance he could repel the Chinese invasion in 1769. It then had AVA AS ITS CAPITAL.

After Alaungpaya’s death, his son Bodawpaya took to the throne and ruled from 1781-1819. It was under his rule that the territories expanded uptil Assam. He created destruction of population. It is said that he considered himself all powerful and treated the English with contempt.

When the monarch was adopting this attitude, East India Company was engaged in the expansion of its territories and as such the war was bound to take place.

First Anglo-Burmese War:

The first war took place in 1824, in which the Burmese were defeated. A treaty was concluded in 1826, according to which the Burmese agreed to enter into treaty of commerce with Britain. She also accepted to have a British resident at AVA. Some disputed territories were given to India. Burma ceded the coastal territories of Arakan and Tennaserim to England.

Second Anglo-Burmese War:

The second war broke out in 1852. The Burmese were defeated again and they agreed to surrender the Province of Pegu to the English. Burma was practically reduced to the status of semi-independent state.

Annexation of Burma by Britain:

The whole process of British annexation of Burma started when they realized that the French had some designs in Burma. France was trying to bring Upper Burma under its influence. Britishers were keen to forestall this French move. As a result of this underlying idea the third Anglo-Burmese War broke out.


Third Anglo-Burmese War:

Burma lost the war and Mandlay, the capital of Burma was captured. The king was captured and exiled to India and Burma was finally annexed by the English. In other words of Latourette,

“the shadowy Chinese suzerainty represented by decennial missions to Peking bearing what the Chinese regarded as tribute were professedly to be continued, but in 1896 were abandoned by the British officials. Anglo-French rivalry did not die, but was now on the borders of Burma. All Burma had been incorporated into the British Empire.”