The First Anglo-Sikh War 1845-1846

A.) The Situation Preceding the War

The Sikh Kingdom in the Punjab bordered on territory of the East India Company on two sides : in the east to the south of Patiala, since 1803, and to the south since the EIC conquest of Sindh in 1843. The EIC was in financial difficulties and had entered a policy of aggressive expansion, trying to fill its deficit with the riches of the conquered provinces.
EIC troops of 32,000 were trained and garrisoned close to the borders of the Sikh Kingdom of Punjab. The Sikhs felt threatened and responded on December 11th 1845 by having their army cross the Sutlej River; on December 13th EIC Governor General Lord Hardinge declared war, as well as the annexation of the Sikh territory on the left bank of the Sutlej..

B.) The Cource of Events

Still in December 1845 the battles of Mukdi and of Fereozshah (Dec.21st) were fought, which were fought with intensity and significant losses, especially on the side of the Sikhs (at Fereozshah 8,000 Sikh losses, 2400 losses on the EIC side), but brought no decision. The Sikhs blamed their commanders for what they regarded as defeats.
The Sikhs suffered further defeats at Aliwal (Jan. 28th 1846) and Sobraon (Feb. 10th). The Punjabi capital of Lahore was occupied on Feb. 20th. The PEACE OF LAHORE was signed on March 9th.

C.) Legacy

According to the Peace of Lahore, the Sikh Kingdom had to cede its territory to the south of the Sutlej, had to pay war indemnity, had to reduce its army, had to accept a Maharaja picked by the British, as well as a British resident in Lahore.
Peace lasted merely two years, until the SECOND SIKH WAR broke out.

Causes of the Anglo-Sikh Wars, from Itihaas; looks exclusively at developments within the Sikh State
The First Anglo-Sikh War 1845-1845, from Itihaas; patriotic
The First Sikh War 1845-1846, from British
Sikh Wars 1845-1849, from
Armed Conflict Events Data : Sikh, 1800-1999, from
DOCUMENTS List of Offices killed in the Sutlej Campaign (First Sikh War), from Redcoat : Officers Killed by Stephen Lewis

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on Novembr 19th 2004

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