The Anglo- Burmese war 1824-26 has been regarded by some as a revolution as it had effects of far reaching importance in the imperial history of the British and upon the history of modern North-EastIndia.In its origin the war was primarily defensive being cause by Burmese actof agression. The war was the result of the policy of expansion pursued by the king of Ava in the later part of the 18th Century and the early 19th Century.
The main cause of the first Anglo- Burmese war can be attributed to the weakness of the native monarchies of the North-East India,the imperial policy of the Burmese commercial rivalry. The decay of the two traditional monarchies of North-East India and the war of sucession attracted the Burmese to interfere in their internal affairs and establish their mastery over these region which inturn brought them into conflict with the British who had trade interest in these areas.
In 1784, the Burmese under King Bodowpaya conqured the independent kingdom of Arakan. The conquest of Arakan increased increased the political conditions and ambitions of the Burmese and led to continious misunderstanding with the British who posses the district of Chittagong contiguous was here that the British had their first experience of what a neighbour the Burmese might be.Arakan furgatives took shelter in the British territory and used it as a based for making retaliation raid upon the Burmese territory. The armed Burmese forces pursued the furitives and violated the Burmese borders.The Governor-General Lord Wellesly did not pay much attention to the happening on these frontiers but did arrange for settling the furgitives in large industrial commmunities instead of handling them ones to the Burmese. This was bitterly resented by the Burmese.
Another factor embittering relation appear in 1881. Khyenba, the son of a District officer in Arakan who had turn traitor and betray his Country to the Burmese,now joint the furgitives in the British territory,organised them into a fighting force and invaded Arakan. The Governor of Arakan blame the British for these but the Culcutta authorities perfer thier innocentcy and sent Captain Canning to Burma to removethe misunderstanding . The mission failed and these was the last British approach in communication with the king of Ava.
Inorder to established Burmese influence over the state lying between Burma and British India, Bowdopaya in 1813 sent Marjit Singh ,son of Jai Singh on the throne of Manipur after dispossesing his elder brother Chaurajit Singh.Marjit acknowledge his independent on the Burmese king and secede the Kabow Valley to his protector. On the death of Bowdopaya in May 1813 , his grandson Bagyidaw succeded him . Marjit Singh had failed to attend the cornoration of the new King,who then device to diposed him. In 1819, Mangi Mahabandula led an army into Manipur;Marjit fled to Cachar and Bandula return to Burma after placing a Burmese nominature to the thorne and leaving a garrision ot the Capital Imphal.The Burmese next turn their attention to Assam , the deplorable internal situation in the Ahom Kingdom made her a prey to the imperial design of the Burmese as well as the British . After the death of King Gaurinath in 1794, his successors Kamaleswar and Chandrakanta were puppets in the hand of Purananda Burhagohain. Purananda main objectives was top overcome the crisis of the Monarchy by adopting the policy of concessions and compromises as well as by thread of Arms if conciliatory failed, to achieve results. He entered into peaceful relations with the neighbouring rulers and organised a standing army to quell internal disturbance and restore comperative peace. But Purananda's dictatorial regime was resented by a section of the nobility including the king Chandrakanta and a plot was hatch to destroy him. Badachandra Barphukan decided to seek British help to oust Purananda and to place the legitimate king Chandrakanta on the Ahom Throne. The British refuse him any help. Badanchandra ,then appeal, to the Burmese king Bodopaya for help and the later gladly responded to his appeal because he saw in it an oppourtunity to push onto Assam which was contiguous to British territory.
In March 1817,Burmese army was sent to Jorhat ,Purananda found none to assist him ;he was defestedand died soon after. Chandrakanta was placed on the throne and Vadanchandra was appointed as Prime Minister with a new designation- Mantri Phukan. A conference on nobles and officers resolved to sent to the Burmese king a sum of Rs:-100,000 and a priincess and the Burmese troops return to Burma in April 1817. Henceforth, the Burmese king looked upon the Ahom kingdom as a subservient protected state. The British had commercial interest in the Ahom kingdom and so here the clash between the British and the Burmese originated.
Soon after ,Badanchandra was assasinated at the instigation of some nobles who did not approve of his action in calling a foreign army into Assam and reducing the kingdom to Burmese vassalages. Chandrakanta was depose and Purandas Singha was proclaim king in 1818.
The Developments were reported to Bagyidaw and he decided to restore Burmese influence in the Ahom Court. Accordingly, the second Burmese inviasion 1819, resulted in the restoration of the Authority of Chandrakanta and the expulsion of Purandaf . Chandrakanta arrange to sent a princess again to the Burmese King as a fresh token of his allegiance. However, in 1821, Chandrakanta under the influence of his Barbarua Patalong tried to shake off the Burmese yoke. These led to a third Burmese invasion under Minigimaha Tiwa. Chandrakanta fled to Golpara and the Burmese occupied Assam.
The conflict between the British and the Burmese inevitable for supremacy over Assam. The Burmese empire now touch the British borders in many fronts like Golpara, Chittagong, Cachar and Jaintia. It was out of these frointier disputes that troubles arose. The Burmese, inflated with success,looked upon the British with contempt and assume a more aggressive attitude in their dealing with them. From the end of 1822 to the beginning of 1824, the action of the Burmese were marked by the intention to offer studied different front of the British hoping that in the event of hostilities victory was bound to be there's
The Burmese commander General Bandula wrote to the British government in Bengal to surrender Chittagong ,Dacca, Murshidabad and Kasim Bazar, failing which they would invade british territory.Both Chandrakanta and Purananda who fled to British territory engineered a series of raid on Burmese occupied Assam.However,Chandrakanta was finally defeated by Bandula on 21st June 1822 at Assam Choukiand these mark the extinction of the Ahom authority in Assam. The British had aided the Ahom's in their raids and they now refuse to surrender Chandrakanta and Pulandar to the Burmese.The Burmese retaliated by attacking the British frointier in Habraghat Pargana, North of Garo Hills. In August 1822, the Burmese demanded from the British an Island in Bramaputra.
David Scott was appointed aas agent to the Governor-General to study the development in North-East India. He recommended military action against the Burmese but the Board of Directors were not in favour of war. A year later,Burmese occupied a small Britsh outpost at Shahpuri Island in the Bay of Bengal. The Governor-General Lord Amherst ,tried to reach an amicable settlement with the Burmese government but his patience was exhausted when two British officers were treacherously seized by the Burmese.
In the meantime,the Government recieved information that the Burmese were collecting troops in Assam,Manipur and Arakan to attack the British and also to occupied Cachar and Jaintia kingdom.In these situation the British entered into a treaty with Gobinchandra of Cachar who does become a vassal of the British.Raja Ram Singh of Jaintia also signed a treaty with the British b;y which he became an alliance of the British. hus both, Cachar and Jaintia became partners to the "General system of defensive arrangement for the frontier" engineered by the Government of Fort William.
On 5th March 1824, the British declarre war on Burma, the war broke out in three sectors- Assam. Arakan and Rangoon. By 1825, the Burmese were expell from Assam and Manipur.In Burma itself the Burmese Army face reverses compelling the king baghidagh to end the hostility by signing the Treaty of Yandaboo on March 24th 1826. By these Treaty ,the Burmese King renounce all claims upon and promise to abstain from future interference in the principalities of Assam, Cachar, Jaintia and Manipur.He agreed to recognised Gambhir Singh as the Raja of Manipur.The political consequence of the treaty was the annexation of Assam to the British empire. Later on the adjoining hills areas followed suit thereby making the British the paramount power in the region.