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Anglo-Nepal War: 1814–1816

A conflict between the British East India Company and the Gurkhas, also spelled Gorkha, the ruling ethnic group of Nepal. It is sometimes referred to as the Gurkha War.

In the last decade of the eighteenth century, the Gorkha Kingdom, after establishing its sway over Nepal, began to expand in Terai and Uttaranchal regions. This brought it in conflict with East India Company, the paramount power of the subcontinent. The war started in November 1814, when the Company launched four columns into Nepal. Major-General David Ochterlony’s column from Ludhiana and Major-General Robert Rollo Gillespie’s contingent from Saharanpur attempted to encircle the Gurkha Army. Meanwhile Marley and John Wood’s columns from Patna and Gorakhpur advanced toward the Gurkha capital Kathmandu. Marley and Wood’s column were unsuccessful and had to turn back. Between November 1814 and January 1815, Wood’s contingent was held up at Gorakhpur because of the lack of transport, supplies, and fear of the Gurkhas. Gillespie was ordered to occupy Dehra Dun and besiege Jaithak. On October 31, 1814, Gillespie died during the assault on the fort of Nalapani, situated five miles from Dehra and garrisoned by 600 soldiers under Balabhadra Singh. The company’s infantry, operating in line formation and practicing volley firing, did not prove to be suitable in hilly terrain covered with forest. Also, the sepoys of the Bengal Army had no training in mountain warfare.

The Gurkha defense system was based on a series of hill forts and stockades. From the stockades constructed of wood and stones amidst the slopes of hills, the Gurkhas, under Amar Singh Thapa and Ranjor Singh Thapa, obstructed the passage of company soldiers. Most of the forts were constructed on the spurs of the hills, which could be reached only through narrow, winding, steep rocky paths. Artillery support for blasting the stockades and the hill forts was not easily available. In the roadless Himalayan terrain, the British found it almost impossible to bring the heavy guns drawn by bullocks and elephants into action. Streams, jungles, and mountains obstructed the deployment of even gallopers’ guns drawn by horses. Because of the lack of fl at plains, there was no room for the company’s cavalry to deploy and maneuver. So the company recruited 4,000 irregular Rohilla infantry armed with matchlocks from Rohilkhand. The British used the Rohilla light infantry as skirmishers and sharpshooters. They were encouraged to use their initiative to take aimed shots at the enemy soldiers.

The mobilization of enormous military and financial assets by the company enabled it to gain some success. By February 1815, the company had deployed 19,000 British troops and 30,000 sepoys. For supplying the troops in the hill, 75,000 porters were employed for seven months. Between October 1814 and April 30, 1815, the commissariat paid 392,410 rupees as wages to the coolies. Ochterlony’s occupation of the Malaun hill fort in May 1815, and his victory at Makwanpur in February 1816, forced the Kathmandu government to sue for peace. The company’s battle casualties were 3,000 and another 2,000 were lost as a result of sickness and desertion. At the conclusion of the war the company and the Gurkha Kingdom signed the Treaty of Saguli. Under the terms of the treaty, the Gurkha Kingdom retained its autonomy in internal administration; however, the Company acquired the right to conduct Nepal’s foreign policy. Moreover, the company annexed Kumaun, Garhwal, Terai, and Dooars regions from the Gurkha Kingdom. In the course of the war, the British offi cers were impressed by the Gurkha soldiers’ ability to take advantage of the terrain to ambush the company’s infantry marching in rigid formation. Hence, after 1816 the Company raised several Gurkha infantry battalions from the Magars and Gurung tribes of central Nepal.

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User Comments
  1. Deepak Gurung (HK)

    On August 22, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Thank you for your pretty accurate accounts of Anglo-Nepal War.

  2. Mohan

    On November 4, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    hey where is rai and limbu tribes man

  3. adolf hitler from nepal

    On January 13, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    ,,,,,, u know british skin is very cunny and very selffish, guy’
    b careful,

  4. nepalese

    On February 19, 2009 at 3:44 am

    not to say rai and limbu say we all are nepalese… no word to say about out forefather

  5. Amit Agrawal

    On April 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    thank you for this information

  6. gum

    On May 15, 2009 at 5:50 am

    at that time rais and limbus were not fighting against the british india forces


    On June 20, 2009 at 12:57 am


    THANK U.


    On July 21, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    NIRVANA SHRESTHA is a very stupid and crazy man who tells us to fight again

  9. kanchan Thapa

    On August 16, 2009 at 1:45 am

    I would like to thank to this website for giving information about anglo nepal war. I was eally keen to know about that. My hope is fulfilled now. Thanks.

  10. Ganesh

    On August 22, 2009 at 1:42 am

    We are the actual victims of the war and the Sugauli Treaty as we are sealed by politically and economically . So, if we do not want this to happen to our generations then we must strive to get back our motherland. The article is useful.

  11. sagar

    On September 16, 2009 at 1:57 am

    india should return the places which we lost due to sugauli treaty .

  12. Bibek Maharjan

    On October 30, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    what is this? the name is also mistake of our nepalese warriors. in this it is said balbhadra singh it is not the correct name the correct name is balbhadra kunwar. he is great person of nepal even british people described about his brave. i hope that the name mistake will be corrected.

  13. sagar

    On December 23, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    thanks for ur informations!!!!!!!!

  14. Firoj Maharjan

    On January 3, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Nirvana Shrestha is right. We have to fight them to protect our land from India. We are not cowards. We are still BRAVE Gorkhalies. The blood of our warrior ancestors still run in in our blood vessels.

  15. don of nepal

    On March 22, 2010 at 9:41 am

    ya man lets start war again with dat bhela party

  16. aashish

    On October 11, 2010 at 1:23 am

    we have to get our land which is taken by india any how,we are ready to face any kind of war.

  17. suprava

    On October 12, 2010 at 4:34 am

    we cannot just say n sit, lets carry out it in action. i think we are being late. india hasnt just taken darjeeling, kumaon but it is also taking many parts of jhapa,illam and other places of nepal and we n our government is not doing anything. One of the great pride of nepal lumbini is also in danger.common lets do something.but to save our motherland we need to be together.and the greatest strength of our country like political leaders, police , army
    are not aware about lets try to awake their patriotism along with other nepali.

  18. Bhumiraj Tamang

    On January 28, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Now Nepal should stop to recruit in the British and Indian army as a mercenary.All the Nepalese in the British and India army are all mercenary except in the Singapore police because mercenary soldiers only fight with the friendship country like now in Afghanistan and Iraq because those countries and people are not ours enemy.We fought with many nation in pass but were not right.This is 21st century and we must understand the meaning of mercenary and the bahuns in the Nepal have selling the indigenous people to British and India for theirs benefits and making enemy with ours friendly nation and the nationalities.We must be disposed British and Indian recruiting centres of Pokhara.Indigenous people must learn to survive in own country like those bahuns and we must seek ours entitlement in the country rather than dumb.Singapore police have no any problems to recruit continue because they are doing a home guard jobs.

  19. Ruchir Dahal

    On February 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Our land has gone,that was long time ago.Now our country is small
    and is being weaker day by day.Our economy is crashing and most of the people are unhappy and the youths dont want to stay in our country.LETS ALL RISE UP AND ONCE AGAIN BECOME POWERFULL ,STRONG AND BRAVE AS WE WERE BEFORE!!!!!!!!!!LETS ALL BECOME UNITED!!!!!

  20. Bhumiraj Tamang

    On February 17, 2011 at 10:29 am

    British is our main enemy because of British ours most useful lands are now in the India.British made fact sugauli treaty because the treaty signers were not Nepali citizen,they both were bloody Indians.We must one day will become again to ready for return ours lands from India,the days will coming because the generation of Nepali people will not with India.


    On February 24, 2011 at 1:04 am

    NEPAL was much richer than INDIA 2 centuries ago.Modern NEPAL was established by “The Great King of Nepal, Prithvi Narayan Shah” with the help of GORKHALIS (NEPALESE) Soldiers.Before his unification campaign, all Areas or Districts of present Nepal & some parts of present North Eastern India like Sikkim,Darjeeling,Siligudi,upto Tista River n Western Part of Present Indian regions like Uttarakhanda,Dehradun,Kumaon,Gadhwal and much parts of region of Uttar Pradesh (U.P) and Bihar were independent n soverein countries.They were not under British East India Company.These regions were attacked and won by King (After King,His Sons,Daughter-in Laws n Ministers help to run this campaign) and his Gorkhali Soldiers and he made all these regions a New,Large,Great,Soveriegn,Independent Country “THE GREAT NEPAL”.NEPAL’s Area was exactly double than the Present Area.Now we should protect remaining 147,181 (56,826 sq.mile) areas which is not exactly this much now.It must be around 147,000 (56,757 sq.mile) bcoz British gave Half Area of Nepal to India in 1816 n partitioned in 1947 n remaining area is taken by present India.

  22. Ram kaji Gurung

    On March 5, 2011 at 10:12 am

    We must be ready to return the lands from India,for this,we must fight with British first,for this reason the hand was of course the selfish British.The Gurkhas joining in British also be considered very much than dumbing in Pokhara camp like the sheep.Actually the recruiting centre must be shut down by British if they do not want to negotiate about returning the lands of Nepal they captured in 1814-1816 Anglo-Nepal wars and even British should be compensate to Nepal.The Sugauli treaty was signed under the administration of the British,therefore,the main responsibility must be taken by the British.India has benefiting from the land of the Nepal.


    On October 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    our corrupted political leaders has already sold many parts of nepal like kalapani and so on to india india is still recuiting armies from nepal and i am sure that one day they will send our own citizen, ie to whom we call gorkha battalian of india to fight with our nepal army. so government and all the neplese should think about this fact and stop recuiting army in india and even in britain. i havent seen any country in this world who called themselves as an independent and sovereign country by recuiting young and strong manpowers to the others country.

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