The history of war is a long and bloody one. From the battles of ancient times to the modern day conflicts, there have been many wars that have shaped the world. But what is the longest war in history?
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The definition of a war
There is no definitive answer to this question as historians have varying opinions on what qualifies as a “war.” Some say that the longest war was between the UK and France, which lasted for 1,156 years from 843 to 1999. Others believe that the longest war was between the Netherlands and Spain, which lasted for 80 years from 1568 to 1648.
Some historians argue that the definition of a war should include only conflicts with armed fighting, while others believe that any prolonged dispute between two parties should be considered a war. This debate is further complicated by the fact that many wars are ongoing and have no end in sight.
The longest war in history is likely whichever one you consider to be the longest.
The Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War is a war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Despite periods of Athenian success, the conflict generally ended in Spartan victory. The Peloponnesian War greatly weakened both Athens and Sparta, although neither side was destroyed.
The Hundred Years’ War
The Hundred Years’ War was a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Plantagenet, rulers of the Kingdom of England, against the House of Valois, over the succession to the French throne. The war degenerated into a series of smaller conflicts, chiefly fought in France and Spain. The conflict lasted 115 years and is widely considered the longest continuous war in history.
The Mongol Conquests
The Mongol Conquests (1206–1359) were a series of military campaigns waged by Mongols–who later created the Mongol Empire–against various countries. These campaigns occurred in Asia and Eastern Europe and succeeded in the subjugation of much of Eurasia including China, Iraq, Rus’, Bulgaria, Hungary, Vietnam and Korea. The Mongols also invaded Southeastern Europe where they defeated the European armies and destroyed many cities, including Krakow, Moscow (twice), Kiev (three times), Lviv, Tbilisi and Budapest.
The campaigns began in 1206 when the steppe nomads known as the Mongols under the command of Genghis Khan launched an invasion into Khwarezm (modern day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan). The campaign was retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of one of Genghis Khan’s ambassadors. This began a series of massive invasions that would continue for the next 67 years as the Mongols sought to expand their empire.
In 1211, Genghis Khan led his army across the Danube River and into Central Europe where he defeated an alliance of forces from Hungary and Bulgaria. The following year he invaded southern Russia where he sacked Ryazan and besieged Kiev. After defeating the Russian armies, Genghis Khan turned his attention to Eastern Europe where he destroyed Polotsk and ravaged Livonia.
In 1241, with much of Eastern Europe under Mongol control, a force led by Subutai invaded Poland and defeated an army of knights at the Battle of Legnica. The Mongols then swept through Hungary before invading Austria. In 1242 they decisively defeated a German allied army at the Battle of Wahlstatt thereby ending any significant European resistance to their westward expansion.
The Mongols continued their invasions into Asia where they conquered China (between 1234-1279), occupied Baghdad (1258) and destroyed Samarqand (1220). By 1279 they had also conquered all of Korea and Vietnam. The death of Genghis Khan in 1227 temporarily halted Mongol expansion but it soon resumed under his successors who continued to expand the empire until it became the largest contiguous empire in world history.
The Thirty Years’ War
The Thirty Years’ War was a conflict fought between 1618 and 1648 in Central Europe. It is generally regarded as one of the most destructive wars in human history. The war began as a dispute between the Protestant princes of Germany and the Catholic king of Bohemia. But it quickly became a wider conflict involving most of the major European powers.
By the war’s end, hundreds of thousands of people had been killed and much of Central Europe had been devastated. The war also had a profound impact on the development of modern Europe. It helped to create a new balance of power in Europe and confirmed the dominance of the nation-state as the primary unit of political organization.
The American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War lasted for eight years, from April 1775 to September 1783. It was fought by the 13 original colonies in what is now the United States against Great Britain. The war ended with the Treaty of Paris, which recognized the independence of the United States.
The Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars fought between Napoleon’s French Empire and opposing coalitions. It produced very little in the way of lasting results, but it did have some significant short-term effects. For one thing, it broken up the mega-states that dominated Europe. That made it easier for smaller states to survive and prosper, and it set the stage for the growth of democracy and nationalism in the 19th century.
The Crimean War
The Crimean War is considered by many historians to be the first “modern” war. It lasted from 1853 to 1856 and was fought by an alliance of British, French, Sardinian and Turkish forces against Russia. Over half a million soldiers and sailors died during the conflict, making it one of the deadliest in history.
The World Wars
There have been two world wars in history, with the second one being the deadliest and most destructive. In total, there were over 100 million people killed in World War II, which was more than any other war in history.
The Korean War
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when North Korea invaded South Korea. The United Nations, with the United States as the principal force, came to South Korea’s aid. China entered the war on behalf of North Korea in October 1950. After more than three years of fighting that involved both Koreas, China, the Soviet Union, and the United States, an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. The war resulted in the death of more than 3 million people, most of whom were civilians.