You think that two countries in war wouldn’t just casually forget about the fact that they’re at war… right? Well, according to the events of the 335 Years’ War, it’s entirely possible. Yes, you read that right— 335 years. This war lasted from 1651-1986, making it the longest known war in history. So why have we never heard about it?
Targeting sweet little Scilly
This obscure conflict was between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly. Objectively, Scilly seems super unproblematic. The collection of islands hosts a meager population of 2,000, and it seems that the most they’ve ever murdered are fish. But following a strange chain of events, sweet little Scilly was viewed as a threat by the Dutch.
To be quite honest, Scilly wasn’t really at fault. It all boiled down to the person in charge of the Isles at the time: Sir John Grenville. The dude was Prince Charles biggest fan, and therefore, was a major Royalist. But that was no biggie for the Dutch since they were allies with the Royalists…right?
Yeah, betrayal will do it
As it turns out, you can quickly lose friendship with a group of peoples when you (quite literally) stab them in the backs. Considering that the English Civil War was ripping apart Europe at the time, most countries wanted to hop on board with people who were they were certain would be victors. The Netherlands were no exception.
Since it seemed like Parliamentarians would likely beat the Royalists, the Dutch ditched the Royalists as an ally. No hard feelings, right? Nope…the Royalists were royally pissed and took the betrayal personally. They decided to get payback by raiding a crap-ton of Dutch ships in the English Channel…prompting the Dutch to sail to Scilly, where the Royalists troops were hiding, and demand reparations.
Wait…are you still mad?
Upon arriving in Scilly, the Dutch realized that little Scilly didn’t have much to offer for reparations. So, the Dutch swiftly declared war on the poor little islands, because…why not? No battles followed the declaration; no blood was ever shed in the name of the 335 Years’ War. In fact…both places pretty much forgot about it once the Civil War ended.
For over 300 years, the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly completely forgot that they were still technically at war. Since no one got hurt during their invisible, practically non-existent war, it’s totally understandable. Back in 1985, a historian discovered that no peace treaty had been signed…and finally, one was written up and the conflict was resolved. But considering the conflict was pretty non-existent to begin with, neither territory seemed to care too much!