Historical story

Five wars you won't believe actually happened

Last updated:2022-07-25

We would say that no war has any sense, but there are some that do not make much more sense than the rest, although I am not very sure how meaningfully - perhaps also meeting - such a sentence stands.

Here are five such instances of wars, with men coming to blows for ridiculous reasons, either in recent history or in the Middle Ages:

The bucket war

There are not a few countries that have experienced civil wars over the years, on the grounds of ideology, land, the conquest of power, etc. However, there are also exceptions to the causes and occasions, which sometimes do not make any sense. For example, in 1325, the Italian city-states of Modena and Bologna they engaged in a war with each other for the sake of a bucket.

According to the story, soldiers from Modena grabbed a bucket from a well in Bologna. And this act prompted - for some reason - the people of Bologna to send their army to take him back. This move in turn led the Pope to send 30,000 foot soldiers of the Guelphs (a medieval political and military faction that supported the Pontiff) to help Bologna. On the other hand, the Holy Roman Emperor sent 5,000 Ghibellines (what the Guelphs were too, they simply supported the Emperor) to Modena's side.

Over 2,000 soldiers lost their lives in the ensuing battle. In fact, this bucket was nothing more than an occasion, as one can easily understand. There were much more important back stories, such as a Castle that Modena had taken from Bologna. Be that as it may, formally and practically, the war was fought over a bucket.

The war between England and Zanzibar

There are wars that last a while and there is the war between England and Zanzibar which lasted only 38 minutes. It happened on August 27, 1896, and the cause was Britain's attempt to impose its own puppet sultan on this East African kingdom.

Two days, then, before the war, the Sultan of Zanzibar died. His ambitious replacement named Khalid bin Bargas had not received Britain's approval, which was supposed to happen under a treaty governing Zanzibar as a British protectorate. So Britain told the new sultan that he would have to leave and he, in response, locked himself - and fortified himself - in the palace.

The Sultan was ordered to resign by 9:00 am, but he refused. As soon as the ultimatum expired, the British ships in the harbor began the bombardment. Soon the artillery of the defenders outside the palace was put out of action and the building itself caught fire. Forty minutes later the quasi-sultan's forces surrendered, ending the war with 500 casualties while only one sailor was wounded in the opposing camp.

And now officially the new sultan of the protectorate was the chosen one of Britain, Hamud bin Muhammad.

Khalid left for Taganyika, after first seeking and receiving asylum from the German consulate.

The Lobster War

If it's to enter the battle for the sake of food, then let it be for something gourmet, for something you won't find in your neighborhood fast food restaurant. Do as France and Brazil did in 1961 when they clashed over lobster.

That day, French fishermen were 100 miles off the coast of Brazil, catching lobsters. Brazilian fishermen for their part argued that the French were still inside their country's continental shelf and therefore the lobsters belonged to it.

Each side took the resulting disagreement to their government, but they didn't stop there. Brazil sent six patrol boats to help its own fishermen, and French President Charles de Gaulle probably took it a little more seriously than he should have and sent a French destroyer to help his own countrymen.

The Brazilian forces then assembled outnumbered the French and so the French were forced to retreat. But when Brazil told them that "within 48 hours you must be gone", they refused and so one of the French boats was taken hostage!

Fortunately, not a single bullet was fired that day, but this dispute continued for another three full years - the two sides even went to an international court. Shortly afterwards the Brazilian government extended its waters to 200 miles, thus preventing any such conflict from ever arising again.

The Kettle War

A war where no one dies is definitely the ideal, since you can't avoid it. And we had one like that in 1784, where only one bullet fell and it found a soup bowl.

The not-so-battle took place between the Spanish Netherlands (its territories are now divided between Belgium, Luxembourg and France) and the Republic of the Seven Netherlands (now the Netherlands).

The Seven Netherlands controlled the river Scheldt, where they had forbidden the passage of ships for trade, when in 1784, the emperor of the Spanish Netherlands decided to break this blockade and send three ships to cross it. The Dutch responded by sending only one.

When the ships met, the Dutch vessel fired only one shot, hitting only one soup kettle on the ship “Le Louis”. But his captain immediately surrendered, although his ship was much better prepared for war than the Dutch vessel. This quick delivery was somewhat unusual.

The emperor upon learning the news immediately declared war, but a series of unfortunate events, such as some floods, soon diminished the importance of this incident and the two sides came to a compromise.

The Great War Against the Goats

In Australia they have a tradition of war against animals, think that they once declared war on emus, some lovely birds, the second largest in the world after ostriches. So the war against the goats shouldn't surprise us that much, especially since it was done for a "good" cause.

In the Galapagos Islands around 120,000 wild goats lived until 2000, not a small number, especially if we consider that they were the descendants of only a few goats that were introduced to the islands in the distant 1700. But their huge proliferation was considered to be already destroying the flora and fauna of the island, with the turtles to be the great victims of their insatiable appetite. Thus, the country's government put forward the big plan.

From 1999 to 2006, more than 100,000 goats were "eradicated" from the islands, in an unprecedented methodical way, in the largest ecological restoration effort of a place ever made.

Two helicopters, 100 hunters, 500,000 rounds of ammunition and ten million dollars in UN and private funding were all the Australians needed to kill or neuter all these animals.

It sounds strange, but a local told Newsweek in 2007 that the rest of the animals, seeing what happened, whenever they heard a boat approaching for some years, ran to attack it for fear that another massacre would break out.