NCERT Notes: The First Anglo-Sikh War [Modern Indian History For UPSC]

NCERT notes on important topics for the IAS aspirants. These notes will also be useful for other competitive exams like banking PO, SSC, state civil services exams and so on. This article talks about The First Anglo-Sikh War.

The first Anglo-Sikh war was fought between the British forces and the Sikh Empire in 1845-46 in Punjab.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh (Reign: 1801 – 1839)
  • Born in 1780 to the leader of the Sukerchakia misl of the Sikh confederacies in Pakistani Punjab.
  • United 12 Sikh misls and subjugated other local kingdoms to become the ‘Maharaja of Punjab’ in 1801.
  • Successfully resisted many Afghan invasions and also captured areas under them like Lahore, Peshawar and Multan.
  • Earned the title ‘Sher-i-Punjab’ (Lion of Punjab).
  • After occupying Lahore in 1799, it became his capital.
  • His Sikh Empire included lands to the north of the Sutlej River and South of the north-western Himalayas. His Empire included major towns like Lahore, Multan, Srinagar (Kashmir), Attock, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Jammu, Sialkot, Amritsar and Kangra.
  • He maintained friendly relations with the British.
  • He had men from different races and religions in his army.
  • His maintained an army very efficient in warfare, logistics and infrastructure.
  • After his death in 1839, there was a struggle for succession among his many relatives. This marked the process of disintegration of the Empire.
  • He was succeeded by his eldest legitimate son Kharak Singh.

First Anglo-Sikh War (1845 – 1846)
  • Major Broad was placed in Amritsar as the East India Company’s agent in 1843.
  • The British were closely watching the developments in the Punjab political front and had territorial ambitions there as in other parts of the subcontinent.
  • The Sikh forces crossed the Sutlej in December 1845 and took offensive positions against the English forces.
  • Subsequently, battles were fought in different places and the English victory at Sobraon led to the signing of the Lahore Treaty in 1846 which ended the war.

Treaty of Lahore, 1846
  • Maharaja Duleep Singh, who was the ruler of Punjab was to remain its ruler with his mother Jindan Kaur as regent.
  • The Sikhs had to cede the Jalandhar Doab to the British.
  • The Sikhs were also asked to pay a very huge war indemnity to the English. But since they could not pay all of it, part of it was paid and to make up for the remaining, Kashmir, Hazarah and all territories between the Beas and the Indus Rivers were given to the English.
  • The Sikhs were to limit their army to a certain number.
  • Also, a British Resident, Sir Henry Lawrence was appointed to the Sikh court.

Also Read | NCERT Notes: The Third and Fourth Anglo Mysore Wars

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