Strange Little Wars
June 7, 2007 3:23 AM   Subscribe

Strange, small wars throughout history. Some were border clashes named after the item that sparked the confrontation, like the British-American Pig War or the Missouri-Iowa Honey War. Some were bloodless, such as the Maine-New Brunswick Pork and Beans War and the Texas-Oklahoma Red River Bridge War. North Carolina's War of Regulation resulted in eighteen deaths and six later executions. [mi]
posted by marxchivist (30 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
See also: The Walton War, The Ohio-Michigan War, and The Cod Wars. I cannot leave out the War of Jenkin's Ear.

While researching this post, I found this interesting site: Riots, Rebellion, Gun Boats and Peace Keepers.
posted by marxchivist at 3:23 AM on June 7, 2007

The Ohio-Michigan War link isn't working right now, so here's the Wikipedia one.
posted by pax digita at 3:33 AM on June 7, 2007

Isn't this a bit of an illustration of the gradual slipping of the English language, whereby everybody who wears a uniform is a hero these days, and there aren't models, there are only supermodels, and there aren't nasty domestic arguments, there are wars? I mean, if no one dies, and particularly when there aren't any nation states involved, it's all a bit grand or even pretentious calling it a war isn't it?

Metafilter: starting wars over a plate of beans.
posted by wilful at 3:40 AM on June 7, 2007

The 'Battle of Brisbane' is worthy of a look, is this how members of the Coalition 'o the willing should be behaving?
posted by mattoxic at 3:53 AM on June 7, 2007

Pastry War.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:57 AM on June 7, 2007

The Soccer War
The War of Jenkin's Ear wasn't really little as it expanded into the War of the Austrian Succession wiki
posted by adamvasco at 3:59 AM on June 7, 2007

From the Aroostook ("Pork and Beans") War link:

In the winter of 1838-39, the Aroostook or Pork and Beans war, “erupted” between the state of Maine, then part of Massachusetts ...

Maine became a state in 1820. Missouri Compromise and all that.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:07 AM on June 7, 2007

This one really wasn't all that little and certainly wasn't bloodless, but still germane to the thread: The Missouri/Kansas Border War.


I mean, if no one dies, and particularly when there aren't any nation states involved, it's all a bit grand or even pretentious calling it a war isn't it?

I'm waiting for the first real, documented CyberWar. Some folks argue we've been there already.
posted by pax digita at 4:10 AM on June 7, 2007

Another Soccer War

This is book by journalist Ryszard_Kapuscinski documents nasty little wars
posted by mattoxic at 4:34 AM on June 7, 2007

And he did spell his name with the underscore
posted by mattoxic at 4:34 AM on June 7, 2007

The War of Jenkin's Ear wasn't really little...
posted by adamvasco at 6:59 AM

Yeah, but it does have one of the best names for a war. That's why I had to include it.

Isn't this a bit of an illustration of the gradual slipping of the English language...
posted by wilful at 6:40 AM

I don't think so. Google books shows some of these have been referred to as "wars" for some time:

The Walton War (1914)
The Honey War (1897)
The Pig War (1922)

The Pork and Beans War (1953)
posted by marxchivist at 4:38 AM on June 7, 2007

erm...same war mattoxic.
posted by adamvasco at 4:45 AM on June 7, 2007

The war of dirt.
posted by Mblue at 5:36 AM on June 7, 2007

A few more:

The Black Hawk War, in which Captain Abraham Lincoln fought.
The Quasi-War.
The Brooks-Baxter War.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:10 AM on June 7, 2007

erm...same war mattoxic, yeah my bad, don't tell anyone else ok
posted by mattoxic at 6:23 AM on June 7, 2007

OK. But thanks for mentioning Ryszard_Kapuscinski. I could't remember how to spell his name. He was a good writer. Here'shis technorati page.(derail)
posted by adamvasco at 6:37 AM on June 7, 2007

In addition to the obvious, I've always been partial to the Whiskey Rebellion.
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:17 AM on June 7, 2007

Red River Bridge War also mentioned (in passing) previously.
posted by dw at 7:18 AM on June 7, 2007

Good stuff here! I'm trying to recall a confrontation that I read about years ago. It took place in Africa and the British Navy dragged a ship through Africa to a lake in order to confront some land-locked nations Navy. Took place in the late 19th or early 20th century.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:53 AM on June 7, 2007

At 38 minutes, the Anglo-Zanzibar War was the shortest in recorded history. It merits a mention because "Zanzibar" is a fun word to say.
posted by milquetoast at 8:10 AM on June 7, 2007

DieHipsterDie, you're thinking of an incident from WWI in which the British carried a pair of steam launches overland to Lake Tanganyika to fight some armed German ships that had sunk a Belgian warship and were controlling traffic on the lake, making joint British/Belgian operations to sortie into German East Africa problematic. This is covered in the book Mimi and Toutou's Big Adventure: The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika, featuring your mandatory cast of British eccentrics.

My vague recollection is that at one point, guns from the scuttled German cruiser Konigsberg (near Zanzibar) got involved somehow.
posted by Midnight Creeper at 8:37 AM on June 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Not really a 'small' war (none of them are, if you're involved), but one you probably haven't heard of: King Philip's War. King Philip was actually Chief Metacom (really).
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:39 AM on June 7, 2007

Can't omit the Lincoln County War.
posted by jbelshaw at 8:48 AM on June 7, 2007

More recently, there was the war waged between the children of my neighborhood and myself. It was known as the Get the Hell Off My Lawn War.

It was brutal; weeks of fighting, including spraying with garden-hoses, flaming bags of dog poo, toilet paper, and seized toys.

An armistice was forged, but there is still much tension on both sides. Sources indicate that much research is being done in water balloon projection technology, despite the agreements to the contrary.
posted by quin at 9:45 AM on June 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Another article on the Brooks-Baxter War, which ultimately claimed 200 lives, and started with an armed coup by the losing candidate in a disputed election for the governor of Arkansas.
posted by pandaharma at 3:39 PM on June 7, 2007

The Cod Wars' little Canadian cousin - the Turbot War. Utterly bloodless (unless you count the fish), though a few people might have been annoyed at getting wet (again, except for the fish, who probably quite enjoyed that bit).
posted by Urban Hermit at 5:54 PM on June 7, 2007

Canada has also had some rather serious "little wars," and as we are but a little country they have had a dramatic (and underappreciated) impact on our history. The Rebellions of 1937 and 1838 led to the union of the Canadas and the institution of responsible government.

Also notable were the two revolts led by Louis Riel: the Red River Rebellion, which led to the establishment of Manitoba as a province, and the North West Rebellion, which ended in the infamous hanging of Riel.
posted by Urban Hermit at 6:12 PM on June 7, 2007

To say nothing of the Danish-Candian War Unpleasantness of 2005, in which no guns were fired in anger, but multiple flags were planted in ire.
posted by bicyclefish at 7:14 PM on June 7, 2007

There are also the oft-forgotten skirmishes of the war of 1812, including the American invasion of Toronto.

Some 1,700 American troops under the command of one Brigadier General Zebulon Pike attacked the fledgeling provincial capital. The vastly outnumbered British responded by detonating their fort's powder house, killing the general and making him, to date, the only man named Zebulon to be blown up while attempting to invade Toronto.

In any event, the British retreated and left the good people of Toronto to the Americans. (It was called York in those days; the city reverted to its native name in 1834, partly, and supremely ironically, because it was wanted to distinguish itself from New York.) The occupying force generally pillaged the place, burned the parliament buildings, and packed off a couple of weeks later. The upshot - and the part you've probably heard of - was this nasty business.
posted by bicyclefish at 7:39 PM on June 7, 2007

War of the Stray Dog between Greece and Bulgaria.

The War of the Oaken Bucket between Bologna and Modena (Italian City States) Possibly Fictional Only, possibly a true story.
posted by bornjewish at 7:23 AM on June 8, 2007

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