Anglo Sikh wars

     The death of Ranjeet Singh in 1839 was followed by political instability and rapid change of government in Punjab. Selfish and corrupt leaders came to the front.

First Anglo-Sikh war: 

     The first battle between the Sikhs and the English was fought at Muduks in 1845. The Sikhs were defeated. The English again won the battle of Ferozpur.  The Sikhs under Ranjeet Singh Majirhia defeated the English at Buddwal in 1846. But the Sikhs were again defeated at Aliwal.  The decisive battle was fought at Sabraon on February 10, 1846 and Sikhs were routed.  This battle is known as the 'Battle of guns’. The English captured Lahore.  Lord Hardinge did not annex the Sikh empire.  The war came to an end by the Treaty of Lahore in March 1846. A second treaty known as the ‘Second Treaty of Lahore’ or ‘Treaty of Bhairowal’ was signed in December 1846.  The Sikhs considered their defeat in the First Sikh War, a great humiliation.

The Second Anglo-Sikh war (1848-49):

     In a series of battles, the Sikhs were defeated by the British at several places. Lord Dalhousie on his own responsibility annexed Punjab in 1849. Sir John Lawrence was appointed as the first Commissioner of Punjab in 1853.

Annexation of Sind

     There were three important causes to annex Sind to the British empire.

  • Commercial possibilities of the Indus.
  • British fear of expansion of Russian empire to the East.
  • British desire to increase its influence in Persia and Afghanistan.

     Lord Minio sent an ambassador to the Amirs in 1809 and concluded a friendship treaty with them. Lord Bentick made a treaty with them in 1832 by which the roads and rivers of Sind were opened to English trade. Lord Auckland forced the Amirs to sign the Subsidiary Treaty in 1839. Lord Allenborough unnecessarily provoked the Amirs of Sind into a war. After defeating the Baluchis and expulsion of Sher Mohammad (Amir of Mirpur) by Napier. Sind was annexed to the British empire in 1843.  Napier was appointed as the first Governor of Sind.

Annexation of Awadh

     The enmity between Awadh and British started in 1764 from the Battle of Buxar. In this battle, the English defeated the combined forces of Shuja-ud-daulah (Awadh), Mughal emperor Shah Alam-ll and the Nawab of Bengal, Mir Qasim.   Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was accused of having misgoverned his state and of refusing to introduce reforms. His state was therefore annexed in 1856. Dalhousie justified the annexation by saying “The British government would be guilty in the sight of God and man, if it were any longer to aid in sustaining by its continuance of an administration fraught with suffering of millions”. Some conservative Directors of the Company described the annexation of Awadh as one of the worst examples of Indian spoilation in the history of British rule in India. It is one of the causes for the revolt of 1857. 


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