Nineteenth Century Gunflints from the Nepalese Armory

  • John C. Whittaker
  • Anais Levin


A sample from a stockpile of gunflints discarded by the Nepalese military in the early to middle 1800s shows that although Nepal obtained most of its munitions from Britain, the situation was complex. The Nepalese rapidly learned to manufacture their own guns, imitating or varying British patterns. However, gunflints were a necessary component of flintlock firearms that were obtained by most nations from a few European centers. Although most of the flints in the Nepalese armory are clearly of British origin, and some are French, a relatively small number of anomalous form and different material are probably of native manufacture, previously undocumented. Variation in quality also suggests multiple sources, some of which may have been black market or irregular. Different damage patterns represent wear and re-sharpening, fitting to guns, and use in flint-and-steel fire-starting. The flints reveal some patterns in the interaction of the British Empire with its colonial enterprises.


Gunflints Nepal East India Company Firearms Colonial trade 



Students Linden (Lily) Galloway and Daniel Lee worked on analysis of the gunflints; Galloway in the initial design and recording, and Lee by performing the XRF under the supervision of Jeffrey Ferguson, University of Missouri Research Reactor Center, whose help in analysis and in providing this opportunity is also gratefully acknowledged.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyGrinnell CollegeGrinnellUSA

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