History of Myanmar

Burmese Resistance Movement
A Burmese rebel being executed at Shwebo, Upper Burma, by Royal Welch Fusiliers. ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1885 Jan 1 - 1892

Burmese Resistance Movement

Myanmar (Burma)

The Burmese resistance movement from 1885 to 1895 was a decade-long insurgency against British colonial rule in Burma, following the annexation of the kingdom by the British in 1885. The resistance was initiated right after the capture of Mandalay, the Burmese capital, and the exile of King Thibaw, the last Burmese monarch. The conflict featured both conventional warfare and guerrilla tactics, and resistance fighters were led by various ethnic and royalist factions, each operating independently against the British. The movement was characterized by notable battles such as the Siege of Minhla, as well as the defense of other strategic locations.


Despite local successes, the Burmese resistance faced significant challenges, including a lack of centralized leadership and limited resources. The British had superior firepower and military organization, which eventually wore down the disparate rebel groups. The British adopted a "pacification" strategy that involved the use of local militias to secure villages, the deployment of mobile columns to engage in punitive expeditions, and the offering of rewards for the capture or killing of resistance leaders.


By the mid-1890s, the resistance movement had largely dissipated, although sporadic revolts would continue in the following years. The defeat of the resistance led to the consolidation of British rule in Burma, which would last until the country gained independence in 1948. The legacy of the movement had a lasting impact on Burmese nationalism and laid the groundwork for future independence movements in the country.

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