History of War Timeline
Sabino High School
Peloponnesian War 431-404 B.C.
• Athens and Sparta were both powerful city-states in Greece,
and each wanted to spread their way of life.
• Sparta attacked Athens in 431 BC, beginning the 27 year
long Peloponnesian War. Sparta eventually defeated Athens
by building a blockade around the walls
of the city. This is called a siege. The people of
Athens could not leave to get supplies or food
from the countryside. Faced with starvation,
Athens surrendered to Sparta in 404 BC.
Punic Wars 264-146 B.C
• In first half of 3rd century BCE Carthage held many
territories that made it easy for them to control and
dominate the western Mediterranean Sea, but when they
conquered Messana on the north eastern tip of Sicily in 264,
they faced the Romans for war for the first time.
• In 256 Carthage was besieged, but the Romans
were defeated. Then for some years Carthage
was the most successful, notably under the
leadership of Hamiclar, but with the battle
at the Aegates Islands in 241, the Carthagians
were beaten so painfully that they requested
First Crusade 1096-9
• One Turkish tribe, the Seljuk's, began moving into the Anatolian
peninsula, or what we now call Turkey. These Turks were
Muslims, and a Christian emperor, Alexius I, controlled the
peninsula. Alexius appealed to the Pope to help him rid Anatolia of
• Pope Urban II received Alexius’s call for help, but had bigger
ideas. Jerusalem, in what is now Israel, is considered
holy land to Christians, Jews and Muslims, but in
1095, the city was controlled by Muslims. The message
from Alexius presented Urban with an opportunity
to retake the holy lands from the Muslims. The pope
called for a “War of the Cross,” or Crusade,
to retake the holy lands from the unbelievers.
Hundred Years War 1337-1453
• The Hundred Years War, lasting from 1337 until 1453, was
a defining time for the history of both England and France.
The war started in May 1337 when King Philip VI of France
attempted to take over the English territories in the duchy of
• It ended in July 1453 when the French
finally expelled the English from the
continent (except for the city of Calais)
Opium War 1839 - 1842
• The Chinese destroyed a large quantity of opium taken from
British merchants. Great Britain, which had been looking to
end China's restrictions on foreign trade, responded by
sending gunboats to attack several Chinese coastal cities.
China, unable to withstand modern arms, was defeated and
forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing (1842) and the British
of the Bogue (1843). Hong Kong
was ceded to the British.
Crimean War 1853-1856
• In July of 1853, Russia occupied territories in the Crimea
that had previously been controlled by Turkey. Turkey,
declared war on Russia. After the Turkish fleet
was destroyed by Russia, Britain and
France entered the war on the side of
Turkey. Russia signed a peace treaty
Paraguayan War (1864 - 1870)
• Francisco Solano López who wanted to build an empire, led
Paraguay into a war against Argentina, Brazil, and
Uruguay. The war devastated Paraguay, and when López's
death ended the conflict in 1870, more than half of the
population had been killed, the economy had been
destroyed, agricultural activity was at a standstill and the
country had lost more than 142,500 sq km (55,000 sq mi).
Franco-Prussian War 1870-1871
• The war between France and Prussia signaled the rise of
German military power and imperialism. It was provoked
by Otto von Bismarck (the Prussian chancellor) as part of
his plan to create a unified German Empire.
• France was eventually forced to
surrender, due to poor
preparation for war. The results
of this war led to events that
caused the outbreak of
World War I.
Boer Wars 1880 – 1881, 1899-1902
• The Boer Wars were fought between the British and the
descendants of the Dutch settlers (Boers) in what is now
South Africa, who wanted self-government. After the first
Boer War, Britain granted the Boers self-government in the
The second war ended the Transvaal and the Orange Free
State as Boer republics. The British
granted the Boers a 3 million pound
payment for new livestock and
repairing farm lands and promised
which came in 1907.
Russo – Japan War 1904 - 1905
• The war began on Feb. 8, 1904, when the main Japanese
fleet launched a surprise attack and siege on the Russian
naval squadron at Port Arthur.
• With Japan winning the war, it forced Russia to abandon its
expansionist policy in the Far East, and became the first
Asian power in modern times to defeat a European power.
Mexican Civil War 1911 – 1914
• In 1911, Pancho Villa helps overthrow the Mexican
government in the Mexican Revolution. The several leaders
who fought to overthrow the government soon afterwards
went to war with one another to determine the new leaders
of Mexico. Villa takes over the Mexican government in
Mexico City in 1914. As he takes over the government, a
former ally in northern Mexico
puts together an army of his own and
challenges Villa's right to run the
government. This would begin nearly six
years of fighting.
World War I 1914-1918
• World War I or the First World War was the first war that
involved nations all over the globe, including the United
States. This is where the term world war came from. It was
called The Great War or the war to end all wars until World
War II started.
• There were over 37,000,000 casualties on both sides.
Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
• General Francisco Franco led a revolution against the
government of Spain. The people of Spain were against
Franco's rebellion, but with the help of Italy, who supplied
arms and soldiers, and Germany, who provided air support,
he was able to take control of the government. The rest of
the world did nothing while this was going on. In effect, this
was the beginning of World War II.
World War II 1939-1945
• World War II began with the joint German and Russian
invasion of Poland. France and Great Britain declared war
on Germany. Germany quickly overran France and forced
the British out of Europe. Then Germans then turned on
their Russian allies.
• The United States entered the
war after the Japanese
bombed Pearl Harbor,
December 7, 1941. The
United States fought the war
in Africa, Asia and Europe.
Korean War 1950-1953
• On June 25, 1950 at 4 a.m., 70,000 North Korean troops
with Russian T-34 tanks crossed the thirty-eighth parallel
into South Korea. President Truman of the United States
sent soldiers to Korea with the blessing of the United
• At the end of the war, more than 3 million Koreans died
while millions of refugees remained homeless. About 1
million Chinese died in this war, while there were 54,246
Six-Day War 1967
• Israel fought on three fronts against three countries and
defeated them in six days. In the south, Israel engaged and
defeated the Egyptians. In the central region, Israel engaged
and defeated the Jordanians. In the north, Israel engaged
and defeated the Syrians. In each of these theaters, Israel
gained territory that would help to
keep Israel safe from future
Falklands War 1982
• In April of 1982, Argentina seized the Falkland Islands from
Great Britain. As a result, the British government sent a
large British task force on a 7500 mile journey to liberate a
group of tiny islands in the South Atlantic. This was the
biggest naval action to take place since the Second World
• Argentina surrendered and left
the islands by June of the same
year. More than 1000 men lost
their lives in the conflict.
Iran-Iraq War 1980-88
• The war began with an Iraqi land and air invasion of
western Iran. Iraqi president Saddam Hussein claimed as
the reason for his attack on Iran a territorial dispute over
the Shatt al Arab, a waterway that empties into the Persian
Gulf and forms the boundary between Iran and Iraq.
• In July of 1988, Iran was forced to accept a United Nations–
Estimates of the number of dead
range up to 1.5 million.
Both sides still hold thousands of
POWs, despite several prisoner
exchanges and releases since