Uncategorized | 1800-1859 | Massacres | Pakistan

Massacre at Multan as redcoats shoot the elderly and rape the women

THE SACKING OF MULTAN – 2 JANUARY 1849 On 2 January 1849, British redcoats, under the command of Brigadier-General the Honourable Henry Dundas, raped, pillaged and murdered hundreds of civilians, after fighting their way into the city of Multan, located in what is today the province of Punjab in Pakistan. Historian Saul David comments that…

Punitive operations | 1800-1859 | Collective punishments | Oman

Large areas of Khasab destroyed by British warships

20 APRIL 1930 At 1000 hours on 20 April 1930, HMS Lupin and HMS Cyclamen, two British Arabis class warships opened fire on the town of Khasab, situated on the mountainous coast of Oman’s Musandam Peninsula which juts out into the Straits of Hormuz. The bombardment was focused on a central area of the town…

1800-1859 | Burning towns and cities | Collective punishments | Punitive operations | Sri Lanka

1,100 houses torched – unknown number burned alive at Ruwanwella

[ 13 September 1803 ] On 14 September 1803, Captain W. Pollock of the 51st Regiment of Foot, commanding a punitive military column targeting rebel held areas of Ceylon, reported to Major General Macdowal that the previous day, having found “the enemy had retreated into the interior of their territory, I ordered the Palace and…

1800-1859 | Looting and plunder | Russia

British troops ransack the Crimean port of Balaklava

26 September 1854 On 26 September 1854, the British army ransacked the small Crimean port of Balaclava.  Professor Saul David comments that when they arrived they found ‘the port was largely deserted.: most of its 1500 inhabitants had already fled… leaving their homes to be ruthlessly pillaged.’1 At the time, the British weekly, the Examiner, explained it…

1800-1859 | Burning villages | Livestock targeted | Punitive operations | Sri Lanka

British troops burn homes and destroy rice stores in Ceylonese villages

[ 7 June 1818 ] On 7 June 1818, a short newspaper article in the Windsor and Eton Gazette carried an opinion piece on the latest reports from the British colony of Ceylon. It denounced the brutality of the British authorities, including their use of extreme methods of collective punishment against areas believed sympathetic to the rebels…

1800-1859 | Slavery

Gladstone – My family’s slaves are ‘legally acquired property.’

[ 3 June 1833 ] William Gladstone was to become Liberal prime minister four times between 1868 and 1894. He is often acclaimed as the most progressive of Britain’s Victorian prime ministers, extending voting rights to the majority of working men (though rejecting calls for extending the franchise to women) and according to one of…

1800-1859 | Opium

Cabinet backs war with China after opium traders are held hostage

[ 1 October 1839 ] On 1 October 1839, the Cabinet decided on a war with China after the Emperor’s Special Commissioner at Canton, Lin Zexu, enforced an imperial decree banning the trade in opium and took several traders and British officials hostage until the 20,000 chests of the drug on the ships anchored offshore…

1800-1859 | Afghanistan | Burning towns and cities | Civilians slaughtered | Demolishing urban areas | Looting and plunder | Massacres | Punitive operations

Kabul sacked in an orgy of fire, looting and ‘wholesale butchery’

[ 10 October 1842 ] On 10 October 1842, British troops used explosives and fire to destroy much of the Afghan capital of Kabul, including the Great Bazar and an adjacent mosque. They also burned down an unknown number of domestic dwellings, slaughtering their owners. Only two neighbourhoods, deemed ‘friendly’, were left untouched and the…

1800-1859 | Famine

ROYAL DRAGOONS SHOOT DEAD TWO AS STARVING CROWD DEMANDS FOOD

28 September 1846 On 28 September 1846, during the height of the Irish potato famine, forty mounted soldiers of the First Royal Dragoons were called out to deal with a large crowd of up to twelve thousand starving peasants and labourers. They had converged on the coastal port of Dungarvan, until the town was ‘literally…

1800-1859 | Executions | Jamaica | Slavery

Slaves in Jamaica refuse to work for their British slave masters

27 December 1831 On 27 December 1831, a widespread slave strike occurred in Jamaica, then an integral part of the British Empire. A severe drought during the summer had brought increased hardship for the slave population, which was compounded by the ruthlessness of the plantation owners, who insisted on their legal right to flog both…