Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years' War | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 23, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 23, 2016


Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years' War

One of the longest wars in the human history was actually a bloodless war where no single shot was fired from any of the warring sides. This theoretical state of war existed between Netherlands and Isles of Scilly for three hundred and thirty five years. Isles of Scilly are a small archipelago off the Cornish Peninsula of England. During Second English Civil War (1648-1649), when Britain was in turmoil due to infighting between the Parliamentarians and the Royalists, Britain lost control of the islands. Taking advantage of the Civil war, the islands started to harbour pirate ships. The pirate ships used to launch menacing attacks on Dutch merchant vessels which was the lifeline of Dutch economy at that time. In 1651, the Netherlands declared war on the Islands and Dutch Navy despatched a fleet of 28 battleships against the Islands to capture the ports occupied by the pirates.

However, before any shot was fired, British government took control of the Isles and promised to resolve the pirate crisis. Dutch Navy recalled its fleet; nonetheless, the Netherlands technically remained at war with the Isles of Scilly. It has been claimed that due to obscurity of how a nation could declare war against a small part of another nation, Dutch politicians never took initiative to declare peace officially. In 1985, Roy Duncan, historian and Chairman of Isles of Scilly wrote to the Dutch Embassy in London and revealed the myth that the Islands are still at war with Netherlands as no peace treaty was signed after the declaration of the war. Diplomats scrutinised the historical records and found the myth correct. In 1986, the then Dutch Ambassador visited the islands and signed a peace treaty. The peace was officially declared on April 17, 1986 three hundred and thirty five years after the war was declared. 

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