Thursday, 25 September 2014

Throwback Thursday - The Longest, Shortest And Weirdest Wars

As a matter of fact ...

Wars are a big part of history. It's a sad truth, I know. They make heroes and villains, create and destroy nations and are remembered long after they end; for better or worse.

As Throwback Thursday is all about history, it seems fitting to mention this darker side of the human condition by looking at 3 examples of some pretty unconventional wars. Here for you today is the longest, shortest and weirdest wars of all times.

Keith Rocco civil war painting

Longest War 

It's called 'Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years War' and there's no prizes for guessing how long it lasted. It took place between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly. Orginally, it was part of the first Anglo-Dutch war that lasted just three years between 1651 and 1654. 

The Isles of Scilly: They might look nice but they love war
So how did this happen? Well, it all goes back to the English civil war. The Dutch had allied themselves with the Oliver Cromwell's forces who look set to take control of the whole of England from the Royalists. The Dutch fleet had taken heavy losses at one of the last Royalist strongholds: The Isles of Scilly. In response, the Dutch declared war on the isles until the losses and stolen goods they took had been repaid.

Three years later, peace arrived with the signing of the Treaty of Westminster. The treaty failed to include peace between the Dutch and the Isles of Scilly; a mistake that was not noticed until 1986, over 300 years later, making it technically the longest war ever and one with the least bloodshed! 

Shortest War

The Anglo-Zanzibar War took place in 1896 between the British and the Zanzibar Sultanate and lasted just 40 minutes!

Two days before the war took place, the sultan of Zanzibar died and a new one succeeded him. The British, who had vested interests in the area, didn't like this as they had their own guy who they wanted to become sultan. Their response? An ultimatum: stand down and leave the palace or we take it by force. 

The palace after the war
The ultimatum expired two days later at 9 AM. The British bombarded the palace and crippled its defenses. The 2,800 defenders took 500 casualties very quickly and by 9:40 they had surrendered. The British lost just one man.

Weirdest War

Personally, I think this has to be one of the strangest wars of all time. It had just one casualty: a pig. The poor porky was the victim of a British soldier shooting it on American soil in 1859. Nearby American militia took offense to this unwarranted act of animal cruelty and gathered at the border in a state of war.  

The main men in the pig war/ From left to right: Capt. George E. Pickett, USA; Brig. Gen. William Selby Harney, USA; Vancouver Island Gov. James Douglas and; Capt. Geoffrey Phipps Hornby
Thankfully, the British apologised for the swinicide (sorry) after four months of high tension and the militia backed down. I challenge you to find another war that produced more food than human deaths.

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