When it comes to wars, size does matter. And in the grand scheme of things, the longest wars ever fought by human beings are unsurprisingly some of the most massive and complicated conflicts our species has ever encountered. So, buckle up, because we're about to explore some of the longest and most drawn-out wars in history - each with their own unique set of challenges and complexities. Ready? Let's go!
Reconquista- 781 Years
The Reconquista was the centuries-long war fought by the Christian Kingdoms of Spain and Portugal to reclaim the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim Moors. The conflict began in 711 AD, when the Moorish invaders first arrived on the shores of Spain, and ended in 1492 with the final expulsion of the Moors from Granada. In between, there were countless battles and sieges, as well as moments of high drama, such as when the Moors besieged Toledo in 1085 or when Christopher Columbus set sail for America in 1492.
Over the course of almost eight hundred years, millions of people were killed in the Reconquista. It was undoubtedly one of the bloodiest wars in human history. But it was also a war that shaped the modern world in many ways. For one thing, the Reconquista was responsible for the spread of Christianity throughout Europe and the Americas. It also helped to create a unified Spanish identity and gave birth to some of Spain's most iconic cities, such as Toledo and Seville.
The story of the Reconquista is one of heroism and courage, but it is also a cautionary tale about the dangers of religious fanaticism. It is a story that should be remembered by all of us, so that we may never repeat the mistakes of the past.
Roman-Germanic Wars- 708 Years
The Roman-Germanic wars were a series of conflicts that lasted over 708 years, from 113 BC to 596 AD. The majority of these battles were fought between the Germanic tribes and the Roman Empire, but there were also periods when Rome battled against the Franks, Alamanni, Saxons, and other Germanic tribes.
There was a plethora of battles fought in this time frame and although there is no accurate number, it is believed millions lost their lives in this long war.
These conflicts were some of the bloodiest and most brutal in human history, but they also played a significant role in shaping the world we live in today.
Anglo-French Wars – 706.5 Years
The Anglo-French Wars were a series of conflicts fought between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France from 1109 to 1815. These wars encompassed a wide range of military engagements, from large-scale battles to minor skirmishes and sieges. They also saw the involvement of many other European powers, including the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, Portugal, and the Dutch Republic.
The conflict came to an end at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, which confirmed British control over much of Europe.
Roman–Persian Wars- 681 Years
The Roman–Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between the Roman Empire and the Persian Empire that lasted from 54 BC to 628 AD. The wars began in 54 BC when Parthia, a province of the Persian Empire, invaded Rome's easternmost provinces, Armenia, and Mesopotamia.
The wars continued off-and-on for centuries until 627 AD when Emperor Heraclius successfully invaded Persia, defeating the Persian Empire in Mesopotamia and bringing an end to over six hundred years of Persian rule in the East. Although the wars were largely fought to a stalemate, the Romans and Persians both achieved significant military successes during the course of the conflict. The Roman Emperor Constantine I is even reputed to have said, "It is better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."
The Roman–Persian Wars were some of the most important conflicts in world history. Not only did they shape the destinies of Rome and Persia, but they also had a profound impact on the development of Christianity and Islam.
Byzantine–Bulgarian Wars – 675 Years
The Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars were a series of wars fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Bulgarian Empire. The wars began in 680, when the Bulgars first invaded Byzantine territory, and continued for hundreds of years, with many periods of peace interspersed with periods of war.
The following centuries were marked by a series of wars between Bulgaria and Byzantium. In 1018, Emperor Basil II captured the Bulgarian capital of Preslav and ended the First Bulgarian Empire. In 1185, Prince Asen I of Bulgaria led a revolt against Byzantine rule and restored the Bulgarian state. This Second Bulgarian Empire lasted until it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1396.
The Ottoman Turks ruled over Bulgaria for the next five centuries. In 1908, however, Bulgaria regained its independence from the Ottoman Empire. Since then, it has been a sovereign state. Today, Bulgaria is a member of NATO and the European Union.
Crusades- 602.5 Years
The Crusades were a series of religious wars fought by Christian Europe against Muslims and Turks. The Crusader states were founded after the First Crusade (1095-1099) and lasted until the fall of the last Crusader state, Acre, in 1291.
This war was traditionally divided into two periods: the Early Crusades (11th-12th centuries), which were marked by considerable success for the Christians, and the Late Crusades (13th century), which were marked by defeats and failures.
The Crusades ultimately failed to achieve their goal of re-establishing Christian control over the Holy Land. However, they did have a significant impact on the history of Europe and the Middle East.
Arab–Byzantine Wars – 421 Years
The Arab–Byzantine wars were a series of conflicts between the Arab Caliphate and the Byzantine Empire. These wars began in the 7th century when the Rashidun Caliphate conquered Mesopotamia and Syria from the Byzantine Empire and continued through the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates. The main conflict between the two empires was over control of the Levant, although other areas such as Egypt and North Africa were also contested.
The wars also had important consequences for the development of Islamic theology and law, as well as for the relations between Muslims and Christians.
Russo-Ukrainian Wars- Ongoing
The Russo-Ukrainian War is a series of wars that began in 1609 when the Russian tsardom and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth vied for control over the territory of present-day Ukraine. The conflict escalated in subsequent years, as both sides recruited more allies and engaged in more fighting.
In 1991, Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union. This led to a period of economic and political turmoil, as Ukraine struggled to establish itself as a sovereign nation. In 2014, tensions between Ukraine and Russia escalated, when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula. This led to the start of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War, which resulted in the death of over 10,000 people.
The Longest Wars Ever To Be Fought In Human History
|War||Start Date||End Date||Duration|
781years and 1month
706 years, 5 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days
602 years, 5 months, 1 week, and 4 days
Dutch-Scilly Islands wars
30 March 1651
335 years, 2 weeks, and 4 days
American Indian Wars
Warring States period
Muslim conquests of Afghanistan
Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula
Spanish conquest of Chiapas
Russian conquest of Siberia
Spanish conquest of Guatemala
Australian frontier wars
Hook and Cod wars
Mongol invasions and conquests
Early Muslim conquests
Second Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years' War
Norwegian civil wars
So, there you have it - the list of the longest wars in history. As mentioned above, each and every one of these conflicts is unique and complex in its own way. But what can be learned from them? What lessons can be applied to modern-day warfare? Well, that's something for you to think about. Do you have any tips or tricks? Leave a comment below! We'd love to hear your thoughts on this fascinating topic.
Eleni Veroutsos September 29 2022 in History