Treaty of Yandaboo (History of Assam)

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Treaty of Yandaboo (1826) : History of Assam

The Treaty of Yandaboo treaty brought peace between East India Company and the King of Ava that ended the first Anglo-Burmese war.

The agreement was signed on February 24,1826 by General Sir Archibald Campbell on the British side and by Governor of Legaing Maha Min Hla Kyaw Htin of the Burmese side. This treaty starts the British Rule in Assam.

As per this treaty:

  • Assam, Manipur, Arakan,were ceded to British.
  • Burmese had to desist opposition in the Chachar Kingdom and Jaintia Hills.
  • Burmese agreed to pay an compensation of One Million Pounds Sterling to British.
  • Burmese decided to allow diplomatic ambassadors from British.

The Treaty of Yandabo was the peace treaty signed on 24 February 1826, that ended the First Anglo-Burmese War. The treaty was signed by General Sir Archibald Campbell on the British side, and the Governor of Legaing Maha Min Hla Kyaw Htin from the Burmese side.

With the British army at Yandabo village, only 80 km from the capital Ava, the Burmese were forced to accept the British terms without discussion.

According to the treaty, the Burmese agreed to:

  • Cede to the British Assam, Manipur, Rakhine (Arakan), and the Taninthayi (Tenasserim) coast south of the Salween River.
  • Cease all interference in Cachar and the Jaintia Hills district.
  • Pay an indemnity of one million pounds sterling in four installments.
  • Allow an exchange of diplomatic representatives between Ava and Calcutta.
  • Sign a commercial treaty in due course.

The treaty ended the longest and most expensive war in British Indian history. Fifteen thousand European and Indian soldiers died, together with an unknown number of Burmese. The campaign cost was very huge which led to a severe economic crisis in British India in 1833, which was ultimate recoverd from Burma as war indemnity.

 

Negotiations

The Court of Ava had not expected, and were unwilling to accept, the full dismemberment of their western empire and the crushing penalty demanded. But with the army severely depleted, the Burmese envoy, the lord of Kawlin, replied that his government:

  • Would give up any claim to Assam and Manipur
  • Objected to the British choice for the future Manipuri raja
  • Would cede the Taninthayi coast but not Rakhine.

By the beginning of 1826, the British were making steady advances towards Ava, captured the ancient city of Pagan and the village of Yandabo, less than 50 miles from Ava. Left with little choice, the Burmese sued for peace. The Burmese king Bagyidaw sent a delegation, consisting of one American, one English and two Burmese ministers, to meet the commander of British forces, General Sir Archibald Campbell. The Burmese had to agree to all British demands.

The first installment of indemnity of 250,000 pounds sterling in gold and silver bullion was paid immediately and also released British prisoners of war. The second installment within the first 100 days from signing of the treaty, and the rest within two years. Until the second installment was paid, the British would not leave Yangon.

 

Aftermath

Some 40,000 British and Indians troops had been involved of whom 15,000 had been killed. The cost to British India’s finances had been almost ruinous, amounting to approximately 13 million pounds sterling. The cost of war contributed to a severe economic crisis in India, which by 1833 had bankrupted the Bengal agency houses and cost the British East India Company its remaining privileges, including the monopoly of trade to China.

For the Burmese, the treaty was a total humiliation and a long lasting financial burden. The burden of indemnity would leave the royal treasury bankrupt for years. The indemnity of one million pounds sterling would have been considered a colossal sum even in Europe of that time, and it became frightening when translated to Burmese kyat equivalent of 10 million.

A whole generation of men had been wiped out in battle. The world the Burmese knew, of conquest and martial pride, built on the back of impressive military success of the previous 75 years, had come crashing down. The Court of Ava could not come to terms with the loss of the territories, and made unsuccessful attempts to get them back.

 

ASSAM FOREST TEST SERIES 2018 GK paper