Wars and Conflicts
of England and Great Britain
Soldiers in Afghanistan
Great Britain is really only a part of
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
but it is of course, the largest part. Great Britain
itself is an island off the northwest coast of Europe and
is comprised of three countries united into one kingdom.
Those three countries are: England, Scotland, and Wales.
For many centuries, these three
nations, along with Ireland, waged war against each
other. Eventually, the English defeated the Scots and the
Welsh (and the Irish), and a series of Acts of Union were
passed that eventually resulted in what would later be
known as the United Kingdom. In 1535, England and Wales
were united as one kingdom, and in 1707,
the Act of Union brought
Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain.
This page presents a listing, with
some details, of many of the wars of Great Britain
(including separate English and Scottish wars) from early
history to the present.
Conquest of England (1066-1072)
The Hundred Years' War (1337-1453)-The Hundred
Years' War was actually a series of wars between England
and France which lasted 116 years. Most historians break
this conflict into four distinct wars.
Anglo-French War (1337-1360)
Anglo-French War (1412-1420)
Anglo-French War (1423-1453)
Wars of the Roses (1455-1485)-- A series of
civil wars in which two royal houses (families) fought
for control of England. The House of Lancaster (Tudor
family) defeated the House of York.
English Civil War (16411651)-- Actually
three related civil conflicts between the English
Parliament and its supporters against the Royalist
followers of King Charles I and King Charles II. The war
resulted in the temporary overthrow of the English
War of the Quadruple
Alliance (17181720) - Pitted Britan, the Holy
Roman Empire, France, the Dutch Republic, and Savoy
against Spain .
War of the Austrian
Succession (17421748) - Great Britain, Austria
and Holland warred against France and Prussia.
War (17441748) ---The North American portion
of this war, fought between Britain and France in
their American colonies.
Seven Years' War
(17561763) - Great Britain and Prussia fought
against Austria, France, Russia, Sweden, and Spain.
Indian War (17541763) -The North American
portion of this war, fought between Britain and France
in their American colonies. The French and Indian War
ended in a total victory for the British and their
American colonists. The British victory though, set
the stage for the American Revolution a few years
American War of Independence
War of the First Coalition (1792-1798)-Britain,
Austria, Prussia, Spain, Russia, Sardinia and Holland
combined to fight Revolutionary France. Russia left the
Coalition in 1794 to deal with troubles in Poland. French
victories forced Holland, also known then as the Batavian
Republic, to leave the Coalition in 1795. Prussia and
Spain made peace with France in 1795 and Austria signed
the Treaty of Campo-Formio in 1798, surrendering the
Austrian Netherlands (now Belgium) to France.
War of the Second Coalition
(1798-1801)-Britain, Austria, Russia, Portugal,
Naples and the Ottoman Empire combined to fight
Revolutionary France. Spain later joined France against
Portugal. This alliance against France formed to counter
French moves in Italy; formation of the Roman, Ligurian,
Cisalpine and Helvetic Republics in Switzerland and
Italy, and the deposition of Papal rule in Rome. Naples
was conquered by the French in early 1799 and declared to
be the new Parthenopean Republic. Napoleon Bonaparte
invaded Turkish Egypt and won the Battle of the Pyramids,
continuing his march into what is now Israel and Lebanon.
British Admiral Horatio Nelson wiped out the French fleet
at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. Due to French
victories on land against both Turkish and British
troops, the Ottoman Empire made peace with France at the
Convention of El-Arish in 1800.
Anglo-French War (1803-1814)--While other
European nations waged war and then sued for peace
against Napoleonic France, Britain was in a continual
state of war against France from 1803 through the first
defeat of Napoleon in 1814.
Peninsular War (1807-1814)-This war began with
the French Invasions of Portugal and Spain, and also
included Great Britain, who sent forces to help the
Portuguese and Spanish drive out the French. From the
British perspective, the Peninsular War was a part of the
long-running war between Britain and France from 1803 to
The Chesepeake Affair
(June 22, 1807)--Naval battle between USS
Chesapeake and HMS Leopard
Little Belt Affair
(May 16, 1811)--Naval battle between USS President
and HMS Little Belt
War of 1812
(1812-1814)--2nd war between the United States and
War of the Seventh Coalition (1815)-After
Napoleon's return to France from exile, Britain, Russia,
Prussia, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands and a number of
smaller German states combined to fight Napoleon and
France. The allies defeated Napoleon once and for all at
the Battle of Waterloo.
First Anglo-Afghan War (18381842)--
First Opium War (1839-1842)--British-Chinese
Crimean War (18531856)--Britain,
France, and Sardinia joined together to aid the Ottoman
Empire, which was under attack by Russia.
Second Opium War
First Boer War
The Second Boer War (1899-1902)--Britain vs.
The Boer Republics (Orange Free State and Transvaal) in
what is now South Africa.
Somali "Mad Mullah" Jihad (1899-1905)--Somali
tribesmen led by religious leader Muhammad ibn Abd Allah
Hasan waged a desert guerrilla war against Britain, Italy
and Ethiopia. Following repeated defeats by the Somalis,
the colonial powers offered him territory in Italian
Somaliland in exchange for peace. He resumed his war in
1908 and harassed the occupiers of his country until
The Boxer Rebellion (1899-1900)-- The
Chinese secret religious and nationalistic Society of the
Righteous Harmonious Fists (Boxers), initiated a
rebellion against both foreign colonizers, missionaries
and their own government in 1899. By 1900, the Chinese
government had co-opted the rebels and directed their
violent fury entirely upon the foreign presence in China.
The Boxers, aided by Chinese Imperial troops, besieged
the diplomatic legations (embassies) of the Western
powers and Japan, sparking a truly international
response. A retaliatory relief expedition composed of
troops from: the United State, Great Britain, France,
Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Russia and Japan invaded
China and captured the capital of Peking (now called
World War One (1914-1918)--The first "official"
world war was originally known as "The Great War," and
also as "The World War."
War--Britain, along with the United States, France,
and Japan, intervened unsuccessfully in the civil war in
Russia that brought the Communists to power.
(19191921)--Resulted in the formation of the
Irish Free State, and the division of Ireland, with the
six northern counties (Ulster), chosing to remain a part
of the United Kingdom.
Third Anglo-Afghan War (May-August, 1919)--
War of 1941 (April 18, 1941 to May 30,
Anglo-Iraqi War of 1941, also known as the Rashid Ali
Coup, was a relatively small, but very significant
part of the Second World War. Since the ending of the
British Mandate and the advent of full Iraqi
independence in 1932, Britain retained a great deal of
military influence in Iraq, despite lingering
opposition from many Arab nationalists. One of these
nationalists, Rashid Ali, seized power in Baghdad and
refused British requests to allow British military
forces to enter Iraq. Britain at this time was
fighting German and Italian forces in North Africa and
were preparing to invade Vichy French-held Syria. (The
Vichy French were working with the Germans and British
and Free French forces needed to secure the region).
Believing promises of German support, Rashid Ali
ordered his forces to attack British bases in western
Iraq and to oppose the landing of British forces at
the southern city of Basra. German support appeared in
the form of a small number of Luftwaffe fighter
planes, and the British forces quickly defeated the
(1945-1990)--Britain, along with the United States
and other Western nations, formed the backbone of
anti-Communist resistance in the Cold War.
Greek Civil War
(1944-1947)--British forces became involved in the
early stages of the Greek Civil War when they liberated
Greece from German occupation toward the end of 1944. As
the Germans withdrew, competing Greek factions fought for
control. The British sided with the re-established Greek
government against the Communist rebels. Due to financial
pressures and their own need to recover from World War
Two, Britain announced a withdrawal of forces in 1947.
The Greek Civil War continued until 1949, with the United
States taking over the role of protector for the
government. British combat involvement primarily took
place in 1944 and 1945. The Greek Civil War continued
until the Greek government defeated the rebels in
(1950-1953)--Britain contributed significant military
forces to the United Nations cause.
Anglo-Egyptian War of
1951-1952 (1951-1952)--Egyptian guerrillas, aided by
the governement carried out a campaign against British
forces stationed at the Suez Canal and agains other
symbols of Britain and the West. On January 25, 1952,
British troops retaliated against Egypt by attacking an
Egyptian police station, killing 50 and wounding 100. The
conflict ended with a change in the Egyptian government
and the eventual withdrawal of British troops. This
conflict led to Britain's involvment in the 1956
Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956. (see
Mau Mau Insurgency in
War of 1956--(1956)--Britain
and France invaded Egypt (in conjunction with Israel), in
an ill-planned attempt to take control of the Suez Canal
Muscat and Oman
Intervention (1957-1959)--British troops aide the
goverment of Muscat and Oman (now known simply as Oman),
against rebels. British troops withdrew after a
(1958)--Britain airlifted troops to Jordan in
response to a request for aid from the Jordanian king.
King Hussein felt threatened by the recent union of Syria
and Egypt, as well as the violent revolution in Iraq in
which the Iraq king, a member of Hussein's family, was
brutally murdered. After the situation calmed down,
British troops left Jordan.
confrontation (19621966) --
Ugandan Army Mutiny
(1964)--The army of Uganda, which had recently become
independent of Britain, mutinied against the government
of President Milton Obote in January of 1964. Unable to
control the situation, Obote called for help from British
forces who put down the revolt.
in Northern Ireland
Falkland Islands War
(1982)-The military dictatorship in Argentina
mistakenly believed that Britain, led by Prime Minister
Margaret "Iron Lady" Thatcher, would not wage a war over
the tiny Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. When the
Argentines invaded the British-owned and
British-inhabited Falkland Islands in April of 1982, the
British responded by sending the Royal Navy and other
military units to liberate the islands from the Argentine
invaders. The British defeated the Argentines and
liberated the islands. As a direct result of the
disasterous war with Britain, the Argentine dictatorship
fell and was replaced by a democracy.
was one of the major Western allies to resist Iraq's
invasion of Kuwait
The Bosnian War
The Kosovo War
joined with the United States and other allies to oust
the Taliban and al-Qaida from power in Afghanistan in the
wake of al-Qaida's September 11 attacks on the United
War on Terror
and many other nations around the world are engaged in
military, political, economic, and diplomatic efforts to
combat Islamic Militancy in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
International Airport attack (June 30, 2007)--Two
Islamic Militants drove a vehicle filled with propane
canisters through the entrance to Glasgow
International Airport in Scotland. Five people were
injured, and one of the militants died of burns and
Bombings (July 7, 2005)--Islamic militants
exploded bombs in the London subway system and on a
double-decker bus in reaction to Britain's involvment
in the Iraq War. The bombings claimed 52 victims, and
caused nearly 700 casualties. The four suicide bombers
Bombings (July 21, 2005)--Islamic militants
exploded four bombs in London, and a fifth bomb failed
to explode properly. No casualties.
(2003-Present)--Britain, along with the U.S.,
Australia, and Poland, invaded Iraq to drive out the
regime of dictator Saddam
forces ended their participation in the war in Iraq on
April 30, 2009.