10 Dumbest Wars In History – WTF?

War Is Hell, so they say But a lot of the time it’s just down right dumb

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that history is full of conflicts that don’t really make much sense So stick around for deadly pastries, severed ears and an arrogant pig, as we look at the 10 Dumbest Wars ever fought _______ 10 The Emu War The 1930s were a time of turmoil, but one threat seemed to loom over humanity like no other I am, of course, talking about the time that emus tried to take over Australia

You see, the land down under was being overrun by the big birds in 1932, over 20,000 of them, and they were eating crops, trampling crops and really annoying all the farmers And they couldn’t be stopped, at least not by a few farmers, so the Australian government stepped in and did the only logical thing They declared war… on emus Now you’d think that the Australian military, armed with machine guns and packing 10,000 rounds of ammunition would have torn through the emus with ease But you’d be wrong

The birds proved a cunning opponent They’d split off from their groups, sprinting at 50 kilometers per hour in all directions, making them extremely hard to hit In one incident, the Australians only managed to kill 10 emus out of 1,000, despite having the birds at point blank range Another showdown resulted in a dead emu striking back from the grave, getting wedged in an army truck’s steering gear and forcing it to crash Unbelievably, the Australians admitted defeat after just six weeks, realizing it took 10 bullets to kill a single emu

By the time the war ended less than 4,000 emus had died But any plans for an emu victory parade had to be called off, because in 1934 the Aussie government struck back and decided to put a bounty on the emu’s heads This proved way more effective, resulting in in over 57,000 dead emus over a six month period Bird War One was over 9

War of the Bucket Resources, politics and, of course, world domination – they’re the reasons most countries go to war, but not Modena and Bologna They keep things real, they only fight over the things that really matter, like that time they fought each other over a worthless oak bucket Yep, in 1325, the rival Northern Italian city-states got into a spot of bother, after a few soldiers from Modena entered into Bolognese territory and stole a wooden bucket The cities had been rivals for centuries as part of a wider conflict between the Pope and The Holy Roman Emperor Bologna was all about the Pope, Modena was more of an Emperor city, so when the whole bucket incident went down, things kicked off big time

Bologna weren’t messing about either, they deployed a huge army of 32,000 men to get their bucket back Modena on the other hand could only muster a measly 7,000 men, who marched off to face the Bolognese at Zappolino – defeat looked certain But, presumably thanks to some Jon Snow style heroics, the outnumbered army came out on top The larger Bolognese force was routed and fled back to Bologna But not before approximately 2,000 men lost their lives

And the bucket? Bologna never got it back and to this day it’s still on display in the city of Modena 8 The Great Guano War Three countries Four and half years 20,000 dead people

And all for one precious, precious resource – guano Never heard of it? Well, guano roughly translates from Spanish as bird droppings So, you can sort of call this the Great War for Bird Poop Most historians call it the War of the Pacific – but they’re just being boring Anyway, between 1879 and 1883, South American neighbors Peru, Bolivia and Chile decided to beat the bird crap out of each other

Why? Well, thanks to its high level of phosphorus and nitrogen, guano was an efficient ingredient in the manufacture of fertilizers and gunpowder In terms of its value, guano was essentially a 19th century equivalent to gold And there was loads of it on a 550 kilometer-long desert coastline occupied by Peru and Bolivia However, as Bolivia lacked the manpower to exploit it, they contracted the help of Chilean companies However, Peru wanted control of the lucrative poo industry and other resources in the region, but that meant getting rid of Chilean companies operating in Bolivia

Needless to say, it wasn’t long before allies Peru and Bolivia stuck it to Chile, but what they didn’t count on was the Chilean navy being way better than theirs When the war ended in 1883, Chile was in control of the bird poo and was, literally, stinking rich 7 The War of Jenkins’ Ear The UK parliament isn’t normally the most thrilling place, just a bunch of posh people arguing and not sorting anything out But during one session in 1738, things were got a little more exciting

English mariner, Robert Jenkins, slapped down a severed, decomposing ear in front Britain’s politicians He claimed that a Spanish coast guard officer had cut off his ear seven years prior as punishment for smuggling The members of parliament were outraged by Jenkin’s story, and it wasn’t long they took the entire country to war with the Kingdom of Spain to get some revenge To be fair, the conflict had been brewing for a while The two countries hadn’t seen eye to eye on a number of issues, like a border dispute between Spanish Florida and British Georgia

Plus the Spanish were accused of harassing English naval vessels, which is how Mr Jenkins lost his ear So the British took the rotting ear as the perfect excuse to escalate things and war broke out in 1739, and fighting continued for two years in Florida and Georgia, but neither side emerged as the clear victor After 1742, the war integrated with the more expansive War of the Austrian Succession that involved pretty much the whole of Europe This didn’t end until 1748, by which time half a million lives had been lost across the world

And one man’s severed ear was partly responsible 6 The War of the Stray Dog One of the most bizarre and ridiculous conflicts of the 20th century started after a dog unintentionally triggered an international crisis Someone had literally let slip a dog of war – little Shakespeare reference for you there Anyway, the incident occurred in October 1925, when a dog crossed the border from Greece to Bulgaria

A Greek soldier went chasing after it and also crossed into Bulgarian territory, and the guards on duty weren’t too impressed by this and shot him dead The series of unfortunate events came amongst a backdrop of hostility between Greece and Bulgaria, stemming from the Second Balkan War in the 1913, and it was no surprise that Greece deployed their army into Bulgaria and occupied several villages They were even planning to shell the city of Petrich, with a population of over 10,000 people, however the League of Nations intervened and prevented the attack Thankfully a ceasefire was quickly negotiated between the two nations, but not before the ridiculous misunderstanding had resulted in the deaths of around 50 people 5

The Football War Football (or soccer), it doesn’t always bring out the best in people But forget the hooligans, because in 1969, the beautiful game turned real ugly and managed to start a war Honduras and El Salvador faced each other on the pitch for a place in the 1970 FIFA World Cup finals and after two games, both countries had both won one game each The fans of both sides had kicked the crap out of each other during both of those matches, so tensions were already riding high before the big decider To give you an idea of the hostility, the Honduras players had their hotel windows broken and rotten eggs, dead rats and dirty rags thrown into their rooms

More than 5,000 police were deployed to prevent violence during the final game, which El Salvador won That same day, they also broke off diplomatic relations with Honduras – talk about bad sportsmanship Two weeks later on July 14th, El Salvador invaded – the football match had basically brought nationalistic tensions between the countries to boiling point Newspapers in both countries called each other "Nazis, dwarfs, drunkards, sadists, spiders, aggressors and thieves" The war lasted four days but 2,000 people had died and 100,000 more had become refugees In August, troops from El Salvador were withdrawn, but it wasn't until 11 years later that a peace treaty between the nations was agreed

And the thing is, El Salvador got knocked out in the first round at the World Cup anyway Not sure it was all worth it 4 The Pastry War French chef, Remontel, was so good at baking that his pastries were to die for… literally Because in 1828 the aptly named Pastry War erupted after Remontel's small cafe was ransacked by looters during riots in Mexico city

There’d been a military coup in the country, which had caused the instability, but Remontel was furious They’d smashed up his cafe and he wanted compensation, but his complaint was ignored by Mexican officials He eventually got round to asking the French government to sort it out for him and in 1838 they duly obliged King Louis Philippe, who was actually angry about the fact that Mexico had failed to repay millions in loads, used the pastry incident as a way to exact some revenge The king demanded they pay 600,000 pesos, including 60,000 to compensate the pastry chef for his losses – even though his cafe was really worth 1,000

The Mexicans, of course, refused to hand over the costly sum, so in retaliation Louis-Philippe decided to go to war A French fleet arrived in Mexico, blockaded the city of Veracruz and began shelling the San Juan de Ulua citadel The war dragged on for three months before finally being settled in the spring of 1839, after the British government helped to arrange a peace deal – but over 100 people had already died In the end, Mexico agreed to pay the money, making Remontel the pastry chef a very rich man indeed 3

The War of the Golden Stool We’re heading back to 1900 and the British Gold Coast, now modern day Ghana The British Governor at the time was Sir Frederick Hodgson, and Sir Fred wanted to bring the Ashanti Lands in the region under British control Unsurprisingly, the Ashanti weren’t too keen on this and didn’t particularly want to live under the rule of Queen Victoria, so not wanting to upset her majesty, the British sent a group of men to take away the symbol of Ashanti sovereignty – a sacred Ashanti golden stool Now the British weren’t exactly being smart here – the stool was the embodiment of the Ashanti state, history and people, including those who hadn’t been born yet So the Ashanti told them where to go and got ready for war

British attempts to take the stool by force didn’t end well, with troops finding themselves under attack by a force led by Yaa Asantewaa, the mother of the exiled Ashanti king The UK forces were nearly obliterated, but a few survivors managed to run away and barricade themselves in a small fort on March 28th, 1900 Yaa Asantewaa laid siege to them for the next three and a half months with a force of up to 12,000 men Eventually on July 14, 1900, the British brought in several thousand reinforcements to relieve the siege, and as punishment wiped out Ashanti villages Even though the Ashanti lost the battle, suffering over 2,000 casualties and many more civilians, they claimed to have won the war as the British never got to sit on the golden stool

2 Google Maps War We all use Google Maps all the time, just the other day, I used to find my way to knitting class But it’s not always reliable, and governments really shouldn’t trust it to mark out international boundaries – because sometimes Google can get it wrong and when they do it can lead to war Well, an accidental invasion at least In 2010, Nicaraguan troops crossed the border into Costa Rica, raised their own flag over the area and began making plans to dredge the San Juan river

When Costa Rica complained by this violation of their land, Nicaragua said they weren’t trespassing at all They claimed that according to Google Maps, the area actually belonged to Nicaragua This was indeed true, the digital atlas had placed the border a few square miles south of the generally accepted line Outraged, Costa Rica protested to both Nicaragua and Google Maps Nonetheless, the Nicaraguans maintained 50 soldiers on the island and the Costa Ricans retaliated by dispatching about 70 of their own – well, they sent police officers because, bonus fact, Costa Rica doesn’t have an army

In response, Google Maps adjusted their online border but the incident caused bad blood between the two neighbors until 2015, when the The International Court of Justice finally ruled that Nicaragua had technically invaded Costa Rica Nice one, Google 01 The Pig War It was the biggest showdown on the planet in 1859 – the United States of America was facing off against it’s old enemy, the British Empire and the stakes couldn’t have been higher Winner take all

Winner takes pig Yeah, you heard me, the two countries were facing off because of a pig – a dead pig to be precise The controversy took place on San Juan Island, located between the United States and Vancouver At the time, it was home to American settlers and British employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and both parties believed they were the rightful rulers of its fertile soil On June 15, 1859, the first and only shots of the Pig War were fired by an American farmer named Lyman Cutlar who gunned down a British-owned black boar after he found the animal pigging out on his potato patch

The following argument between the two settlements escalated so much that Cutlar was threatened with arrest by the British, so in retaliation the US Army dispatched a small number of troops and claimed the land as their own The British responded by deploying a fleet of heavily armed naval ships to the coastline, kicking off a ridiculous standoff between the nations for several weeks Eventually those, the two brokered a deal to allow joint military occupation of the island, ending the Pig War, once and boar all Get it, once and boar all _______ So there you have it, the 10 Dumbest Wars in history

Let us know what you thought in the comments and whether you’ve got any other good examples of stupid conflicts we’re missed And if you did enjoy the video, head over to Dave and John to learn more incredible facts on our show, Fact Wars Every week me and John battle it to see who has the best facts and you guys get to decide who wins As always, thanks so much for watching and really hope you enjoyed the new format See you soon

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