Lesson #272: The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War

A note before we get started…the new WordPress post page weirds me out. It’s talking at me like it’s that overly supportive girl who lived on your floor freshman year. “This is your 290th post. Rock!” WTF, WordPress? I’m not in need of a writing cheerleader.

The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ war is one of the longest wars in history. It’s also the war with the fewest casualties. “Fought” between 1651 and 1986,  the war ended without a single casualty.

The war began in March of 1651 as a result of the Royalist Navy being forced to retreat to the Isles of Scilly after the Second English Civil War. Because the Dutch were looking to maintain an alliance with England — Elizabeth I had offered support in their fight for independence from Spain — they essentially chose to support the side they felt were going to win and, having suffered some casualties at the hands of the Royalist Navy during the Civil War, Admiral Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp showed up in Scilly to demand reparations be made. When the Royalists (presumably) refused, war was declared, but since the Parliamentarians controlled the English government, the declaration applied only to the Isles of Scilly. By June of 1651, the Royalist Navy had surrendered and the whole thing was abandoned.

Then some time passed. And then some more. And still more. Then, suddenly, it was 1985 and it was discovered that the Netherlands had never declared peace; for 335 years, they had been at war with the Isles of Scilly. Finally, on 17 April, 1986, the Dutch Ambassador to the UK,  Jonkheer Rein Huydecoper, signed a peace treaty and joked, “It must have been awful to know we could have attacked at any moment.”

More can be read here and here.

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