1The Anglo-Zanzibar War: the shortest war in history, only 40 minutes long
Fought between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar on 27 August 1896, the conflict lasted approximately 40 minutes, making it the shortest war in history. The immediate cause of the war was the death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini and the subsequent succession of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash. The British authorities preferred Hamud bin Muhammed as Sultan. In accordance with a treaty signed in 1886, a condition for accession to the sultancy was that the candidate obtain the permission of the British Consul, and Khalid had not fulfilled this requirement. The British considered this a casus belli and sent an ultimatum to Khalid demanding that he order his forces to stand down and leave the palace. In response, Khalid called up his palace guard and barricaded himself inside the palace.
The ultimatum expired at 09:00 on 27 August, by which time the British had gathered three cruisers, two gunships, 150 marines and sailors and 900 Zanzibaris in the harbour area. A bombardment which was opened at 09:02 set the palace on fire and disabled the defending artillery. The flag at the palace was shot down and fire ceased at 09:40.The Sultan’s forces sustained roughly 500 casualties, while only one British sailor was injured.
2The Pig War: triggered by the shooting of a pig
The Pig War was a confrontation in 1859 between American and British authorities over the boundary between the United States and British North America. The specific area in dispute was the San Juan Islands, which lie between Vancouver Island and the North American mainland. The Pig War, so called because it was triggered by the shooting of a pig, is also called the Pig Episode, the Pig and Potato War, the San Juan Boundary Dispute or the Northwestern Boundary Dispute. The pig was the only “casualty” of the war, making the conflict essentially bloodless.
3Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War: lasted over 335 years with no casualties
The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War (1651–1986) was a war between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly (located off the southwest coast of the United Kingdom). It is said to have been extended by the lack of a peace treaty for 335 years without a single shot being fired, which would make it one of the world’s longest wars and the war with the fewest casualties. Despite the uncertain validity of the declaration of war, peace was finally declared in 1986.
4Moldovan-Transdniestrian War: where both sides’ officers would drink together during the nights and fight during the days
After the Soviet Union collapsed, two-thirds of Moldova wanted closer ties with Romania and neighbors to the west. But the area of the country to the east of the Dniestr river wanted to stay close to Ukraine and Russia. War broke out, and the east split to form Transdniestria, which remains unrecognized by the world.
When Moldova and Transdniestria started fighting, it was a weird war. The local military called it the Drunken War, as officers of the combatants met every night to have a drink together. They went away in the morning and opened fire on each other. At night, they got together again to drink for those they had met with the previous night and who they had killed.
5Emu War: how Australia lost a war against birds
The Emu War, also known as The Great Emu War, was a week-long military operation undertaken in Australia in November 1932 to address public concern over the number of emus said to be running amuck in the Campion district of Western Australia. The emus were responding to a long, hot summer, which caused shortages of food and water. The “war” was conducted under the command of Major Meredith of the Royal Australian Artillery, commanding a force of soldiers armed with two Lewis machine guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition. But shooting blindly into a group of birds which can run up to 50 km/h (30 mph) did not brought the expected results. The birds simply ran away even after being hit by a machine gun round.
Over the course of a week or so, only a handful of the estimated 20,000 birds were actually killed. Major Meredith – the Australian commander in the “Emu war” – was astonished and famously compared the emus to Zulus. After a few days the Defence Minister ordered a withdrawal. And thus the “Emu War” ended in a military defeat for Australia.
6The Football War: started with a football game
The Football War (La guerra del fútbol, in Spanish), also known as the 100-hours War, was a five-day war fought by El Salvador and Honduras in 1969. It was caused by political conflicts between Hondurans and Salvadorans, namely issues concerning immigration from El Salvador to Honduras. These existing tensions between the two countries coincided with the inflamed rioting during the second North American qualifying round for the 1970 FIFA World Cup; on 14 July 1969, the Salvadoran army launched an attack against Honduras. The Organization of American States negotiated a cease-fire which took effect on 20 July, with the Salvadoran troops withdrawn in early August.El Salvador ended up going to the 1970 FIFA World Cup1970 FIFA World Cup, where they failed to advance from the Group Stage.
7War of 1812: caused by faulty telegraphic communications
Also called Mr. Madison’s War, the War of 1812 was in many ways the strangest war in United States history. It could well be named the War of Faulty Communication. Two days before war was declared, the British government stated that it would repeal the laws which were the chief reason for fighting. If there had been telegraphic communication with Europe, the war might well have been avoided.
The chief United States complaint against the British was interference with shipping. But New England, the great shipping section of the United States, bitterly opposed the idea of going to war. The demand for war came chiefly from the West and South.
It is strange also that the war, fought for freedom of the seas, began with the invasion of Canada. In addition, the treaty of peace that ended the war settled none of the issues over which it had supposedly been fought. Finally, both sides claimed victory in the War of 1812, and it becomes clear that the whole struggle was a confused mass of contradictions.
Want to tell your strange story? Tell us about it and it could be featured on Oddee. You can remain fully anonymous.