105. The Safest War

05 May

This is one of the many things that did not happen

1648, the Scilly Isles just off of South East England. Some Royalists were causing a problem. they were fighting in the Second English Civil War, a war extremely lacking in civility I note. The problem they were causing was this, they had a navy and were fighting Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians, they also attacked his allies. Namely the Dutch.

The Dutch knew what they were doing, they were aligning themselves with what they thought(correctly) was the winning side of the civil war. Unfortunately they suffered heavy losses and had both ships stolen and goods purloined. So in 1651 they went over to the Isles of Scilly and asked for reparation, essentially a form of apology, which form? Money.

The Royalists did not oblige, simply put they felt they had somehow earned it. This did not please the Dutch. So war was declared on the 7 April 1651, and the Dutch left quickly to prepare for war. A war to be known as the Driehonderdvijfendertigjarige Oorlog by the Dutch, or the Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War in English.

However the war didn’t ever have time to start. In June of that year, 1651, the Royalists were forced to surrender before even a single shot could be fired in the new war. The Second English Civil War was officially ended in 1652 but due to the obscurity of the war the Dutch had declared, it was not mentioned in the documents signed, so a peace treaty was never signed. For the next 335 years the Isles of Scilly and the Netherlands waged the most peaceful war in existence, both sides largely ignoring each other and getting on with their own business.

Then someone remembered they were at war, specifically the Historian Roy Duncan. He then proceeded to write a letter the the Dutch embassy in London, inviting a representative over.  The Dutch ambassador arrived and signed the Peace Treaty happily, and so the war finally ended on the 7 April 1986, exactly 335 years to the day, after the war began. With 0 casualties and 0 injuries it was the safest war of all time. Although there may have been some anxiousness on the part of the Isles of Scilly. In the words of Ambassador Jonkheer Rein Huydecoper ” It must have been harrowing to the Scillonians to know we could have attacked at any moment.”

Further Reading:

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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Articles, Trivia


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