The region of Nathula was annexed by the British in 1815 and it helped the trade to flourish between the neighboring countries. Later in 1873, the actual significance of the place was recognized when the Deputy Commissioner of Darjeeling took out a survey and put huge stress on the strategic position of the mountain passes lying between Tibet and Sikkim. After it, the Nathula Pass got re-opened for the trade purpose in the year 1894.
In 1903, the British began their expedition to Tibet in order to prevent the Russian Empire from making their settlements in Tibet and Nathula pass played an important role in this process. Major Francis Younghusband who was a British Commissioner to Tibet, entered Tibet in 1904 through the pass and captured Lhasa. This mission enabled the British to take hold of the entire Chumbi Valley and a trade between Sikkim and Tibet got started. In 1962, during the Indo-Chinese War, heavy fights were occurred between the soldiers of the two countries and in 1967, the pass again witnessed border skirmishes for whole six days. The pass then got closed for about four decades and then reopened in the year 2006.