On This Day
1769 – Sino-Burmese War: The war ends with an uneasy truce.
The Sino-Burmese War (Chinese: 中緬戰爭 or 清緬戰爭; Burmese: တရုတ်-မြန်မာ စစ် (၁၇၆၅–၆၉)), also known as the Qing invasions of Burma or the Myanmar campaign of the Qing dynasty, was a war fought between the Qing dynasty of China and the Konbaung dynasty of Burma (Myanmar). China under the Qianlong Emperor launched four invasions of Burma between 1765 and 1769, which were considered as one of his Ten Great Campaigns. Nonetheless, the war, which claimed the lives of over 70,000 Chinese soldiers and four commanders, is sometimes described as “the most disastrous frontier war that the Qing dynasty had ever waged”, and one that “assured Burmese independence”. Burma’s successful defense laid the foundation for the present-day boundary between the two countries.
At first, the Emperor envisaged an easy war, and sent in only the Green Standard troops stationed in Yunnan. The Qing invasion came as the majority of Burmese forces were deployed in their latest invasion of Siam. Nonetheless, battle-hardened Burmese troops defeated the first two invasions of 1765–1766 and 1766–1767 at the border. The regional conflict now escalated to a major war that involved military maneuvers nationwide in both countries. The third invasion (1767–1768) led by the elite Manchu Bannermen nearly succeeded, penetrating deep into central Burma within a few days’ march from the capital, Ava (Inwa). But the bannermen of northern China could not cope with unfamiliar tropical terrains and lethal endemic diseases, and were driven back with heavy losses. After the close-call, King Hsinbyushin redeployed his armies from Siam to the Chinese front. The fourth and largest invasion got bogged down at the frontier. With the Qing forces completely encircled, a truce was reached between the field commanders of the two sides in December 1769.
The Qing kept a heavy military lineup in the border areas of Yunnan for about one decade in an attempt to wage another war while imposing a ban on inter-border trade for two decades. The Burmese, too, were preoccupied with the Chinese threat, and kept a series of garrisons along the border. Twenty years later, when Burma and China resumed a diplomatic relationship in 1790, the Qing unilaterally viewed the act as Burmese submission, and claimed victory. Ultimately the main beneficiaries of this war were the Siamese, who reclaimed most of their territories in the next three years after having lost their capital Ayutthaya to the Burmese in 1767.
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Born On This Day
1907 – Peggy Ashcroft, English actress (d. 1991)
Dame Edith Margaret Emily Ashcroft, DBE (22 December 1907 – 14 June 1991), known professionally as Peggy Ashcroft, was an English actress whose career spanned more than sixty years, and who, along with contemporaries John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson, dominated the British stage of the mid-20th century.
Born to a comfortable middle-class family, Ashcroft was determined from an early age to become an actress, despite parental opposition. She was working in smaller theatres even before graduating from drama school, and within two years thereafter she was starring in the West End. Ashcroft maintained her leading place in British theatre for the next fifty years. Always attracted by the ideals of permanent theatrical ensembles, she did much of her work for the Old Vic in the early 1930s, John Gielgud’s companies in the 1930s and 1940s, the Royal Shakespeare Company from the 1950s and the National Theatre from the 1970s.
While well regarded in Shakespeare, Ashcroft was also known for her commitment to modern drama, appearing in plays by Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter. Her career was almost wholly spent in the live theatre until the 1980s, when she turned to television and cinema with considerable success, winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and several British and European awards.
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