Anglo Marri wars

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Anglo Marri Wars
Date 1840, 1880, 1917 CE
Location North-East region of Baluchistan (in modern-day Pakistan)
Result First War: Victory of Marri tribe, Second & Third Wars: British Victory
Eastern Baluchistan
United Kingdom British Empire Independent Marri tribesmen
Commanders and leaders
Sir John Keane in 1840 CE, Brigadier-General Macgregor in 1880 CE Sardar Doda Khan Marri in 1840 CE
unknown Thousand of Marri warriors and Allies
Casualties and losses
unknown unknown

The Anglo Marri Wars were three major military conflicts between the Marri Baluch tribesmen in the independent eastern Baluch tribal belt of what is now called the North-Eastern region of Baluchistan Pakistan and the British Empire in 19th and 20th century.

In these wars, battles were fought mostly in the mountainous tribal areas of Kohistan-e-Marri and adjacent localities. These areas are now under the administrative control of Kohlu, Sibi, Bolan, Barkhan, Nasirabad and Dera Bugti districts of Baluchistan province.

First Anglo Marri war - 1840[edit]


In the 4th decade of the 19th century; Baluches had almost lost their national identity after the martyrdom of Mir Mehrab Khan (Baloch ruler) and subsequent British suzerainty over Kalat State.[1] At the same time, without the consultation and agreement from Baluches, a type of mutual understanding had been formalized between the Anglo Raj and kingdom of Iran for the distribution of Balochistan territories between them for the best of their greater interest in the region.[1] The peoples of Kalat State and Baluch tribesmen felt that the British and Iranians were becoming masters of their fate. According to Mir Khuda Bakhsh Marri, the invasions of Kalat State and the martyrdom of Mir Mehrab Khan at the hands of the British Army no doubt opened the doors of Balochistan to active British interference in political as well as military affairs and finally introduced British suzerainty. At the same time, it generated reactionary feelings of nationalism among the Baluches.[2]


The negative relations between the Marri people and the British started in 1840 CE with attacks made on the communications of Sir John Keane's army, after it had passed through the Bolan Pass.[3] In March 1840 CE, Sir John Keane had decided that there is a dire need to capture the Kahan and its fort from Marri tribesmen.[4]

Battles of Kahan[edit]

An attempt was made by the British Forces to punish the tribe, which ended in disastrous failure. Major Claiborne was repulsed in an attempt to storm the Naffusak Pass, losing 179 of his troops, with an additional 92 wounded out of his force 650. Many of his force died of heat and thirst. The fort of Kahan, which he was trying to relieve at the time, was forced to capitulate with the honors of war.[3]


The First Anglo Marri war proved to be a disastrous campaign for the Anglo forces. Although they held remain occupants in the fort of Kahan through whole of time but in efforts to establish a proper safe passage to Kahan and continuous reinforcing the Kahan Regiment in a form of fresh food and blood, they had got the taste of failure. On the other side, Marri tribesmen had faced no such difficulties in their chain of supplies in the area. They were the native of the region and they were very well aware about the terrain of their hilly areas, which they took advantage of.

After this war, in 1843 CE, Marri once again gone in uprising against the British forces and they gave much trouble.[3] This time, the cause of clashes was the occupancy of Sindh by the forces of British Empire. Being a Baluch tribe, Marri feel worries about the fate of their neighboring state and their Baluch ruler. Richard Isaac Bruce writes about the Marris:[5]

The Marris were considered absolutely incorrigible, and were proclaimed out lawed and blockaded on all sides. A proclamation was issued on the Sind Frontier offering a reward of ten rupees for the capture of any Marri.

Second Anglo Marri war - 1880[edit]

In 1880 CE, during the Second Afghan War Marri tribesmen made frequent raids on the British line of communications, ending with the plunder of a treasure convoy. A force of 3070 British troops under Brigadier-General Macgregor marched through the country, and the tribe submitted and paid r1/4 lakh (£12,500) out of a fine of 2 lakhs (£20,000); they also gave hostages for their future good behavior.[3]

Third Anglo Marri war - 1917[edit]

During the middle of World War I, British Forces were facing a shortage of recruits, and started a campaign that attempted to enlist the Marri. However, they refused to join the British ranks. Subsequently, clashes broke out in large areas of Marri land which lasted for many months under the leadership of General Mir Khuda e Dad Khan Marri, who embraced martyrdom with two of his younger brothers. Other Marri tribesmen, fought bravely until their death. Both sides suffered hundreds of casualties. At last Marri tribe agreed to support the British Forces, and were paid money for doing so. Despite this, they still refused to send their youth to join the war.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Baluchistan: Political Struggle by Justice Munir Ahmed Marri
  2. ^ Search Lights on Baluches & Baluchistan, page-243
  3. ^ a b c d Encyclopedia of Britannica, 11th Edition
  4. ^ Defense of Kahan by Charles Reynolds Williams
  5. ^ The Forward Policy and its results by Richard Isaac Bruce


  • Defence of Kahan by Charles Reynolds Williams
  • The Gazetteer of Baluchistan (Sibi), Gosha-e-Adab publication, Quetta, 1986 (First 1906)
  • Imperial Gazetteer of India Provincial Series (Baluchistan), Sheikh Mubarak Ali, Lahore, 1976 (First 1908)
  • Baluchistan Historical & Political Processes by A.B. Anwar, New Century Publications London, 1985
  • The Forward Policy by Richard Isaac Bruce, Gosha-e-Adab publication, Quetta, 1977 (First 1900)[1]
  • Marri Baloch Jange Mazzahimat (English: Marri Baloch, war of resistance) by Shah Mohammad Marri, Takhleeqat publication, Lahore, 1991
  • Balochistan Siasi Kashmakash mudhamirat w rujhanaat (English: Baluchistan: Political Struggle) by Justice Munir Ahmed Marri, Gosha-e-Adab publication, Quetta, 1989
  • Popular Poetry of the Baluches by M. Longworth Dames, The Royal Asiatic Society London, 1907
  • Inside Baluchistan by Mir Ahmad Yar Khan (Khan of Kalat), Royal Book Co. Karachi, 1975
  • Problems of Greater Baluchistan by Dr. Inayat Baluch
  • History of Baluch Race & Baluchistan by Mohammad Sardar Khan Gishkori, Gosha-e-Adab publication, Quetta, 1979 (First 1958)
  • Search Lights on Baluches & Baluchistan by Justice Mir Khuda Bakhsh Marri, Gosha-e-Adab publication, Quetta, 1977 (First 1974)