Any war involves a lot of decisions, and somebody has to make them. Most of the time, there is a good reason to start a war, and when somebody decides it is the time to fight, usually they have a powerful motivation. Unfortunately, in the world’s history, there were also some wars that have been started by mistake, of for the stupidest reasons possible.
Are you curious about them? Here is a top 10 with the stupidest things that started wars:
10. The Great Guano War
The Great Guano War, also known as the war of the Pacific, was a fight between Chile, Bolivia, and Peru. It happened between 1879 and 1883. In Spanish, Guano means bird dropping, so this was can be also considered a fight for bird poo. The truth is that guano contains high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, which are really effective materials in manufacturing gun powder. Back then, the guano was worth gold. All this deposit of guano was located on the cost of the Atacama Desert. The war was won by Chile, due to its superior navy.
9. The War of Dahis and Ghabra
This war between two Arab tribes (Dhubiyan and Abs) lasted 40 years. It was more a dispute for a horse race, and both tribes accused each other of cheating. The leader of Abs challenged the leader of Dhubhiyan to a race. The Abs horse, Dahis – a very famous speed breed, run against Ghabra, the Dhubhiyans horse. During the race, Ghabra took the lead, but Dahis came back. When Dahis has almost won, Dhubyanites prepared an ambush and took the horse out from the race. This is how the 40 year war started, but nobody knows who won.
8. The Pastry War
In 1838, France started a war against Mexico. It was more a naval blockade, in which France captured Veracruz. However, it didn’t last long, because Great Britain interfered, bringing the peace. But why did this war start? Because in 1828, during the civil disturbance in France, a French pastry cook, accused some Mexican soldiers they vandalized his shop. He tried to get a payment from the Mexican government, but nobody bothered. Ten years later, King Louis Philippe of France started a war for the chef.
7. The French Invasion of Algeria
Between 1830 and 1960, Algeria was under French domination, and before that they were a part of Ottoman Regency. The relations with France were at edge on that time, and the Ottoman ruler of Algeria, Dey Hussein, wanted an answer from the French Consul regarding the outstanding debt. He didn’t like the answer, and used it as an opportunity to start a war. He blocked the Algerian ports, and bombarded a French ship that came for negotiation. French used it as a war declaration and invaded Algeria.
6. 301 Year War for Shaving a Beard
In 1137, the bearded King Louis VII of France and Eleanor Duchess of Aquitaine got married. As a present, they received two provinces in Frances. Later, the king went for the Crusaders, and when he returned, he was clean shaved. The queen didn’t like it at all, and asked him to grow his beard back. Louise refused, so they divorced. Eleanor went back to England, she got married to King Henry II, and she ordered war on France. It lasted 301 years, and France won.
5. Al Basoos War
This is another Arabic tribal war. It lasted 40 years, from 494 to 534, and it was named after an old woman. Two tribes, Thaglib and Bakr, started the war for a she-camel, who was unable to be recognized. The chief of Thaglib tribe killed it, and the Bakr tribe killed him. This is how the war started, but there wasn’t any winner.
4. The Cod War
In 1958, Iceland and Britain started a war over the fishing rights. Iceland increased by itself the fishing boundaries, from 4 to 12 miles, wanting exclusive fishing rights, as it is their only source of income. They even extended the boundaries to 50 miles, and Britain agreed, because they were still allowed to fish in certain zones. However, in 1975, the agreement expired, and the Cod War started. Iceland extended their fishing limits to 200 miles, while Britain destroyed 20 Icelandic ships. NATO and the US interfered, and Iceland won.
3. The Honey War
Iowa and Missouri started a dispute in 1830s, about their territories. There was a 9.5 mile long strip across the border, and both of the states wanted it. Three trees that contained valuable honey were cut down, so the war got the name of Honey War. The Supreme Court intervened in the dispute, and Iowa won.
2. The War of the Golden Stool
In the late 19th century, beginning of the 20th century, Britain invaded Africa. With the superiority of guns over bows, they didn’t have any problem to conquer the territory that today is Ghana. The British governor asked to sit on a golden stool, but the Africans didn’t want a foreigner to sit on the throne of their king. Wishing to protect their sacred symbol, they started a war. Unfortunately for them, British soldiers won, but the stool was lost.
1. The Pemmican War
This was a serious conflict between two fur-trading British companies, located in Canada: The North West Company and Hudson’s Bay Company. Everything started in 1811, when Thomas Douglas from HBC wanted to take the control of the fur market. The governor of the area didn’t like that so many buffaloes were killed, and issued a proclamation. The company didn’t like it, and convert the buffalo’s meat to pemmican.
The export of pemmican was banned as well, and 400 bags of NWC pemmican were blocked. NWC declared war on HBC, burning and destroying everything that belonged to the company. Everything turned into a guerilla war, but nobody won.