Submit your own Neatorama post and vote for others' posts to earn NeatoPoints that you can redeem for T-shirts, hoodies and more over at the NeatoShop!

The World's Shortest and Longest Wars

The Harem and Palace of Zanzibar were destroyed in the Anglo-Zanzibar war of 1896. The Palace was never rebuilt, but the Harem (of course) was later rebuilt.

The World's Shortest War

The Anglo-Zanzibar war, also known as the world's shortest war, was over in under 45 minutes. The exact length of time is actually debatable - some had put it as short as 38 minutes - anyways, it was a very, very short war.

The whole thing started when the Sultan of Zanzibar, who had willingly cooperated with the British, died on August 25, 1896, and his nephew Khalid bin Bargash seized power in a coup. Thinking that another candidate would be easier to deal with, the British delivered an ultimatum to force the Bargash to abdicate.

Bargash refused the ultimatum and assembled a navy in form of the ex-Sultan's yacht, the HHS Glasgow and fortified the palace. The British, on the other hand, assembled 5 modern warships in the harbor in front of the palace and landed two battalions of army. Bargash tried a last-ditch negotiation effort through the US Embassy, but time soon ran out.

At 9:02 AM on August 27, 1896, when the ultimatum ran out, the British navy sank the Sultan's fleet (yes, that one yacht), shelled and destroyed the palace completely. About 500 people, mostly Bargash's soliders, died. Bargash ran and hid at the German Embassy, where he was later granted asylum. Depending on who you ask, the world's shortest war was over at 9:40 AM or so.

The World's Longest War

The world's longest war, on the other hand, spanned 355 335 years without a single shot fired. That war, between the United Provinces of Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly, got started in 1651 and the story goes as follows:

During the English Civil War (1642 - 1651), the Parliamentarians beat the Royalists further and further away from London, until it was forced to retreat to the Isles of Scilly off the Cornish coast. The Netherlands, which sided with the Parliamentarians, sent the Dutch Navy to fight the Royalist fleet.

The Dutch Navy was so badly beaten that the Netherlands decided to declare war. However, they couldn't blame England, since it was the Royalists in Scilly that caused them so much problem - so they declared war on the Isles in 1651 instead. Later that year, the Isles of Scilly fell to the Parliamentarians and the Dutch forgot all about the war (that is, until they fought the Brits again and again in the Anglo-Dutch War, the first of which started just 1 year later!)

In 1985, a local historian and Chairman of the Isles of Scilly Council Roy Duncan decided to look into the rumor that the Isles were still at war with the Netherlands. When the Dutch Embassy in London confirmed that there was an actual declaration of war and everything, Duncan invited the Dutch ambassador Jonkheer Huydecoper to Scilly to sign a peace treaty.

The peace treaty was signed on April 17, 1986, thus officially ending the war between the Netherlands and Isles of Scilly 335 years after it was declared!

The Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896 at BBC h2g2, Wikipedia
Zanzibar Courage at Global Frontiers
335 Year War at Scilly News, Wikipedia
Dutch Proclaim End of War Against Britain's Scilly Isles at NY Times

Supposedly, an even longer war between Rome and Carthage, which started in 264 BC with the outbreak of the Punic Wars, "ended" with a peace treaty signed in 1985. That would've made it a 2,248-year war, except Carthage was completely destroyed by the Romans and its territory completely annexed. In 146 BC, Carthage's existence as a independent state was over.

Give us time. The war between freedom-loving people and the elite-class-owned USA federal government is a little over 200 years old but we, the people, will hopefully win some day; despite the concentrated wealth and power of the elite class, BIG corporations and the special interest groups in collusion with the enemies of freedom.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
How about the dumbest war? Did you know that Honduras and El Salvador went to war after a World Cup Soccer Game? Its true! In 1969 playoff there was a penalty kick on an iffy call that led to victory...and then riots in the streets...there were already tensions but this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
In 1982, the government of Key West seceeded from the United States. The Conch War ended 1 minute later when they surrendered and demanded $1 billion in foreign aid.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Hi all, I am from Canada eh.

Ever since we kicked the Americans hoops and burnt down their place of government in the War of 1812, EVERYBODY has loved Canada.

Nobody wants to decalre war with us because we have strong beer, good weed from the west coast and hot strippers.

Plus, between the sharp teeth of the Great Canadian Beaver, the massive antlers of the Great Canadian Moose, and our excellence in the use of the Great Canadian Hockey Stick, nobody wants to even try to take us on.

Which we prefer, because we are a peaceful country, except when we get the helmets on our head and the hockey sticks in our hands. then we can get a little loopy.

Besides, igloos are impervious to conventional weapons.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)

Don't be a dumbass.

You're embracing a terrible stereotype of our people.

Besides: the British invaded Washington from Bermuda with veteran troops of the Napoleonic War. Canadians were not involved with that.

Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)

you're a jackass. everyone hates canada. the beer sucks, you dont know whose speaking french and whose speaking english, you say things like "eh", and your chief export is stupid people like keanu reeves and jim carrey. also, i believe canada also gave us barenaked ladies. i think thats a big fat "nuff said". canada sucks...along with it's citizens. stupid canucks.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Just because someone says 'I'm at war with you' that doesn't mean an actual war took place if no shots are fired.

This is to distract from the fact that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan are eclipsing all other wars in terms of 'time wasted, while engaged'.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
"...the Parliamentarians beat the Royalists further and further away from London, until [it was] forced to retreat..."

I think you meant [they were], unless you were trying to say that London itself retreated to Scilly, in which case I think this incident might have gotten a little more coverage in the history books than is traditionally accorded it. ;-)
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Hi all. The Cristian Kingdoms Reconquering of the Iberic Peninsula took from 711 when muslims invaded it, up to 1492 when the Kingdom of Granada fell in catholic hands again. Maybe there wasn't an open war in the begining because the kings and nobles just give up covardly ^^. So it's said that the Reconquering started in 718 that gives about 770 years of open war operations and some parentheses of repoblation of the reconquered territories.

Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Calling the Anglo-Zanzibar skirmish a war, is pointless. if you want to talk about a REAL short war, i don't think there ever was anything resembling the israel-arab war of 1967, aka the six days war.
in just 6 days, israel has managed to triple it's size, and have killed 21000 enemy soldiers (while incurring only 779 casualties). also, israel stood alone against the combined armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan (who were also aided by iraq, sudan, algeria and more).

now that's warfare!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Canada;Eat me, i mean seriously who likes Canada anyone (besides Canadian smart asses)your beer really does suck, nobody likes your culture, you guys have a reputation for what, so what about free health care i mean its nice but is that it that's good about Canada, your military frankly sucks dick, i feel America should hurry up and connect Alaska to the rest of the US (it wouldn't be that hard to do), your weed Duane really why even bring it up, your an idiot, in the war of 1812 America came back and kicked Britain's ass which has almost nothing to do with Canada besides the fact that Britain occupied Canada at the time, basically what I'm saying is Canada sucks,oh and fuck you Canada for ruining KFC by bringing it home and calling it PFK.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.
Click here to access all of this post's 29 comments

Email This Post to a Friend
"The World's Shortest and Longest Wars"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More