THE BURMESE and the British had a shaky relationship from the start.
In the mid-18th century, after Bamar villager-turned-king Alaungpaya came out of nowhere and smashed the restored Hanthawaddy kingdom based at Pegu (Bago), he respectfully sent a message to King George of England, but it was ignored.
Alaungpaya’s Konbaung Dynasty based at Ava, near Mandalay, continued to expand through the decades. The Burmese became the terror of their neighbours, and even tried to stir up resistance among the small kingdoms to their west that were steadily being absorbed by British India.
In the early 1800s, having met heavy resistance in Siam to the southeast and the Chinese Qing to the north (which had invaded in the 1760s), the Burmese pushed west, conquering Arakan, Manipur and Assam. When the Burmese sent a force to the Jaintia and Cachar districts in Assam it was the final straw for the powerful East India Company, which was to rule from its capital at Calcutta until 1858.
Full story: Frontier Myanmar
Discussion on Burmese history and culture.
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