Original 1849 Battle of Gujrat Sikh Cavalry Sword
Original Item: Only One Available. This Sikh cavalry sword dates to the Sikh Empire from the 1835-1850 period. Modeled after the British swords of the day, it has a brass four bar hand guard supporting the Sikh coat of arms and features brass mounts with a brass wire bound wood grip.
The blade is curved and measures 30. The sword measures 35" in overall length and is substantially made with a 1.75 blade width. It bears an old armorer's stamp and features three blood channels down each side. If the armorer's stamp mark is in fact European the blade itself could well date back to the 1600's. Additionally there is a carved inscription along the entire length of the brass back strap on the swords hilt.
The Sikh Empire (also Sikh Khalsa Raj, Sarkar-i-Khalsa or Pañjab (Punjab) Empire), was a major power in the Indian subcontinent, formed under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who established a secular empire based in the Punjab. The empire existed from 1799, when Ranjit Singh captured Lahore, to 1849 and was forged on the foundations of the Khalsa from a collection of autonomous Sikh misls. At its peak in the 19th century, the Empire extended from the Khyber Pass in the west to western Tibet in the east, and from Mithankot in the south to Kashmir in the north. It was the last major region of the subcontinent to be conquered by the British.
The foundations of the Sikh Empire can be traced to as early as 1707, the year of Aurangzeb's death and the start of the downfall of the Mughal Empire. With the Mughals significantly weakened, the Sikh army, known as the Dal Khalsa, a rearrangement of the Khalsa inaugurated by Guru Gobind Singh, led expeditions against them and the Afghans in the west. This led to a growth of the army which split into different confederacies or semi-independent misls. Each of these component armies controlled different areas and cities. However, in the period from 1762 to 1799, Sikh commanders of the misls appeared to be coming into their own as independent warlords.
The formation of the empire began with the capture of Lahore, by Ranjit Singh, from its Afghan ruler, Zaman Shah Durrani, and the subsequent and progressive expulsion of Afghans from the Punjab, by defeating them in the Afghan-Sikh Wars, and the unification of the separate Sikh misls. Ranjit Singh was proclaimed as Maharaja of the Punjab on 12 April 1801 (to coincide with Vaisakhi), creating a unified political state. Sahib Singh Bedi, a descendant of Guru Nanak, conducted the coronation. Ranjit Singh rose to power in a very short period, from a leader of a single misl to finally becoming the Maharaja of Punjab. He began to modernise his army, using the latest training as well as weapons and artillery. After the death of Ranjit Singh, the empire was weakened by internal divisions and political mismanagement. Finally, by 1849 the state was dissolved after the defeat in the Anglo-Sikh wars at the Battle of Gujrat.
The Battle of Gujrat was a decisive battle in the Second Anglo-Sikh War, fought on 21 February 1849, between the forces of the East India Company, and a Sikh army in rebellion against the Company's control of the Sikh Empire, represented by the child Maharaja Duleep Singh who was in British custody in Lahore. The Sikh army was defeated by the British regular and Bengal Army forces of the British East India Company. After it capitulated a few days later, the Punjab was annexed to the East India Company's territories and Duleep Singh was deposed.
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