What has a beginning will inevitably come to an end. As tragic as they may seem, wars have a crucial role in the history of humanity. However, how did the hundred years’ war end, and why did the war in Europe last 300 years?
Armed conflicts have reshaped geographies, given life to empires, destroyed peoples, and resurrected countries since the dawn of time. Throughout history, different conflicts have been remembered: lightning, brutal, diplomatic, and undeclared. In this piece, we’ll talk about the longest military confrontations in history, which lasted over a century for different causes.
Over 300 years of war
The 335-year battle between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly was the longest in history (1651-1986). Despite lasting the longest in war history, the battle was completely bloodless: not a single shot was fired throughout the whole time. This protracted conflict was part of the so-called English Revolution (Second Civil in England).
The kingdom was engulfed in a feud between royalists and parliamentarians at the time, and the Dutch navy was on the side of the latter. The royalist’s vessels fled to the Scilly Archipelago, where the monarchists, headed by John Granville, remained to stand after the representative of the parliamentary monarchy, Oliver Cromwell, won control of the vast lands of mainland England by force.
When the Dutch backing Cromwell’s military operations resulted in losses off the enemy’s coast, Admiral Maarten Tromp approached the islands on March 30, 1651, with a demand for reparations. The Royalists flatly refused, the talks broke down, and the “damaged” side launched a war on the Isles of Scilly.
Two months later, the parliamentary military fleet compelled the enemy ships to surrender as planned and without bloodshed. They paused, however, when it came to signing the peace accord. As a consequence, it turned out that Holland and Scilly “fought” on paper until 1986, when the parties formally signed a reconciliation deal.
The Punic Wars, which lasted many years, were the longest in the Roman Republic’s history. The war has typically been split into three stages by historians. The first conflict began in 264 BC and lasted until Carthage, which Punas populated, was destroyed (hence the name of the wars). Rome retained the win, strengthening its dominance in the Mediterranean. “Carthage must be destroyed!” became a popular phrase at the time. Hostilities lasted 43 years in their purest form, while the overall struggle lasted 118 years in total.
The clashes of Ancient Rome with Carthage were cruel and bloody. And the biggest paradox is that the conflict of the bygone days between states that have not existed for a long time remained open documentarily right up to 1985. Only by that time, the mayors of Rome and modern Carthage had deliberately and ceremonially signed a peace treaty. Of course, historians did not attach much importance to such a strange move, otherwise, all textbooks would have to be rewritten, stretching the war for more than 2,000 years.
War of the Hundred Years
The war between the kingdoms of England and France lasted from 1337 to 1453 and is called centennial only for terminological convenience. The general framework of military operations included four conflicts with long armistices. One had to be interrupted by the bubonic plague as well. The first phase is called the Edwardian War (1337-1360), the second the Caroline conflict (1369-1389), and the third the Lancastrian clash (1415-1428). The final phase lasted until 1453.
The conflicts prompted the British to make obsessive claims to the French throne. After destroying the enemy’s navy, they proceeded to the mainland, where they completed the Edwardian War by capturing France. During the Caroline phase, the islanders were driven back, but now the French were mired in internecine strife. In doing so, they once again left the Lancasterian War to themselves. Defeated on its head, England relinquished its claim, ending more than a century of confrontation with the War of the Scarlet and White Rose.
Aside from the actual liberation of France, the lengthy battle had significant consequences. The French knightly cavalry displayed failure in fights with English archers, and England lost its power on the continent. The knights were removed from the army ranks as a result.
Battles between the Greeks and the Persians
The Greco-Persian Wars, which shaped the country’s growth, are still remembered as the biggest clashes in Greek history. Forces were shifted around the continent as a consequence of a half-century of military confrontations. The traditionally strong Persian state went into decline whilst Ancient Greece attained its pinnacle.
A series of conflicts between the Greeks and the Persians lasted from 500 to 449 BC. This epic is not in vain referred to be fateful, since it is marked by both military land operations and marine adventures. Historians think that a large-scale Persian advance to the west would have had major ramifications for the ancient world.
The main goal of the Persian kings was world domination. Persia planned to enslave rebellious Greece as well, opening up access to the Aegean Sea. Despite a series of setbacks, the Greeks managed to defeat the Persians at the Battle of Marathon (490 BC). According to history, one of the soldiers ran with the good news from Marathon to Athens (just over 42 km), dropping dead at the point of arrival. Since then, an athletic competition over such a distance has been called Marathon running.
But at the next Battle of Thermopylae (480 B.C.), a Persian army multiplied in strength entered Hellas. Encouraged by the victory, Persia set out for Athens, but the Greeks had nowhere to retreat. They had to win. And the last significant battle of Plataea in 479 BC put an end to the protracted battles. The Greeks had halted their unrestrained expansion and entered an era of supreme cultural achievement.
Denmark and Huescar
In 1809, a wave of unparalleled patriotism swept Spanish Huescar, prompting the municipality to declare war on Denmark, which was fighting with Napoleonic France. Because the subjects shared enormous swaths of land, direct confrontations were avoided.
The contentious fight was quickly forgotten until a historian from Spain discovered a parchment with the formal declaration of war in the archives in 1981. The next year, it was agreed to have a serious ceremony. The mayor of Huescar and the Danish ambassador formally proclaimed the conclusion of a strange conflict that lasted 172 years due to the parties’ incompetence.