Sikh Wars

views updated May 29 2018

Sikh Wars (1845–46, 1848–49) Two conflicts between the Sikhs and the British in nw India. After the death of Ranjit Singh in 1839, disorder affected the Sikh state in the Punjab. When Sikh forces, including many non-Sikhs, crossed the frontier on the River Sutlej, the British declared war. After several battles involving heavy casualties on both sides, the British advanced to Lahore where peace was agreed (1846). The conflict renewed two years later, but superior British artillery led to a heavy Sikh defeat at Gujarat (1849). The Sikhs surrendered and the Punjab became part of British India.

Sikh wars

views updated May 18 2018

Sikh wars. The wars of 1845–6 and 1848–9 originated over the Sutlej river area of north-west India between the Sikh sect in Punjab and the British. General Sir Hugh Gough defeated the numerically superior Sikh army at Mudki (18 December 1845), Ferozeshah (21 December) and Sobraon (10 February 1846). The Sikhs renounced their claims to the territory and recognized British supremacy. However, in 1848 they launched a rebellion. After an initial set-back at Ramnagar on 22 November, Gough defeated the Sikhs at Jallianwalla (14 January 1849) but sustained heavy casualties. Reinforced, he finally broke Sikh resistance on 22 February 1849 at Gujrat. Thereafter the Sikhs remained loyal to the British.

Richard A. Smith