Duar War 1864-1865

(Bhutanese-British War)

[ 1864 - 1865 ]

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Britain sent a peace mission to Bhutan in early 1864, in the wake of the recent conclusion of a civil war there. The dzongpon of Punakha--who had emerged victorious--had broken with the central government and set up a rival druk desi while the legitimate druk desi sought the protection of the ponlop of Paro and was later deposed. The British mission dealt alternately with the rival ponlop of Paro and the ponlop of Tongsa (the latter acted on behalf of the druk desi), but Bhutan rejected the peace and friendship treaty it offered. Britain declared war in November 1864. Bhutan had no regular army, and what forces existed were composed of dzong guards armed with matchlocks, bows and arrows, swords, knives, and catapults. Some of these dzong guards, carrying shields and wearing chainmail armor, engaged the well-equipped British forces. 

The Duar War (1864-65) lasted only five months and, despite some battlefield victories by Bhutanese forces, resulted in Bhutan's defeat, loss of part of its sovereign territory, and forced cession of formerly occupied territories. Under the terms of the Treaty of Sinchula, signed on November 11, 1865, Bhutan ceded territories in the Assam Duars and Bengal Duars, as well as the eighty-three-square-kilometer territory of Dewangiri in southeastern Bhutan, in return for an annual subsidy of 50,000 rupees.

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After the British occupied Assam and made the area part of British India (1826), a longtime frontier dispute began with the state of Bhutan to the north. In the early 1860s, the Bhutanese took strategic frontier mountain passes (duars) from the Assamese and paid no head to the British demand to surrender the lands or give tribute. In January 1865, a small British force invaded Bhutan, but the Bhutanese successfully resisted and evicted the British garrison at Dewangiri. A punitive expedition led by Sir Henry Tombs (1824-74) gradually suppressed the Bhutanese, who agreed to peace on November 11, 1865. By the Treaty of Sinchula, Bhutan ceded the southern passes and set free all captured British, and the British in return agreed to pay an annual subsidy to Bhutan for the passes.

<table class='table table-bordered col-lg-12 col-md-12 col-sm-12 col-xs-12 margin20 row-30' style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td width="16%"><font size="2" face="Arial">State</font></td><td width="16%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Entry</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Exit</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Combat Forces</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Population</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Losses</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Bhutan</font></td><td width="16%"><font size="2" face="Arial">1865</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">1865</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">50000</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">700000</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">5000</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font size="2" face="Arial">Britain</font></td><td width="16%"><font size="2" face="Arial">1865</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">1865</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">50000</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">32000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font size="2" face="Arial">2000</font></td></tr></tbody></table>

Total Casualties Killed and Wounded
Casualties Killed / Wounded
Military Casualties Killed 7000 /Wounded
Civilian Casualties Killed / Wounded
Note
Belligerents Initiation Date Termination Date
Bhutan and United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1865 1865 View

Related Conflicts

No Releted Conflicts