If you were waiting for more strange and unnecessary wars, here they come!
War of Jenkins’s Ear, 1739-1748:
The War of Jenkins’s Ear was started over just that. In 1731, the Spanish boarded an English merchant ship, and Robert Jenkins, the Captain, had his left ear cut off by the Spanish for being accused of smuggling. The story goes that Jenkins presented his ear to the British parliament, preserved in a jar. In 1739, the British finally declared war due to public outrage against Spain. Over the course of the nine-year war, neither side gained an advantage, and peace was declared in 1748.
The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years War, 1651-1986:
The longest official war in modern history, this war has a disputed history of its own. In 1651, The Netherlands was allied to Great Britain’s parliamentary government, and therefore was against the Royalist armies led by Charles II. The Royalist navy used Sicily as a base, and had inflicted heavy losses upon the Dutch. That same year, a Dutch admiral visited Sicily demanding reparation from the Royalist fleet for the goods taken from them. As Sicily was not a part of this ongoing feud, they declined to grant the Netherland’s request. As a result, the Netherlands were said to be in a state of war with Sicily. Not a shot was fired, though the Royalist fleet left Sicily shortly afterwards. Like many wars of its era, this war was soon forgotten by both nations. In 1985, a Sicilian historian wrote to the Dutch Embassy to dispose of the myth that the two countries were still at war. The Dutch Embassy instead found that the myth was accurate and still ongoing, and a peace treaty was signed the following year.
Paraguayan War, 1864-1870:
The Paraguayan War (or the War of the Triple Alliance), no doubt the most famous of all the unusual wars, proves that you really don’t need an excuse to declare a war. One can only guess what President Solano Lopez was thinking when he declared war on the Empire of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. It may have been brought on by the Uruguayan War beforehand. In any case, Lopez declared war on the most powerful countries in South America simultaneously, and Paraguay would pay the price. The war was a disaster: Paraguay was devastated, disputed territory given to the Triple Alliance, and about 70% of the male population of Paraguay was killed. After the loss of conventional warfare, Lopez resorted to guerrilla warfare, with even more devastating results. Lopez himself was killed in battle in 1870, thereby ending the bloody war.
These three wars were very Strange indeed. This just goes to show that many nations have used anything (or nothing at all) as an excuse to declare war upon each other.