Underrated History: The 5 Dumbest Wars of All Time

Underrated History: The 5 Dumbest Wars of All Time

Mikayla Zarate and Viktoria Zarate

I think we can all agree that humanity is pretty amazing. It might be hard to remember between all the tragic deaths, the very existence of Cancel Culture, and seemingly endless amounts of shootings that we truly are a unique species that has done many wonderful things. Maybe you wouldn’t believe it when you look back on history and only see wars, evil people, bad philosophies, and oppression. But, history isn’t just doom and gloom. While it’s true a lot of things worth remembering are from the dark sides of history, many elements of history are often overlooked and are wholesome, interesting, admirable, and sometimes downright hysterical. They might not deepen your understanding of the world, but they will remind you that humanity is good, sometimes petty, and overall hilarious. Even in Shakespearean tragedies, there is something good or funny to be discovered. So join me in my final year of high school as I write about random people, things, and events that you probably didn’t know about. Hopefully, along the way, I’ll either make you appreciate humanity or bust your gut with laughter. Either one works.

Last article I talked about the First Cinematic Universe: the Original Universal Monster Movies. And my sister and I ranked our five favorites for you to watch as well! This time, however, we will be exploring the dumbest humanity has to offer…

From the overlooked to the hilarious to the stupid to the mislead: this is Underrated History!

The Five Dumbest Wars of All Time

War. The physical representation of humanity at its worst. A combination of death, tragedy, sacrifice, greed, power, abuse, oppression, and misunderstandings. It’s hard to find a single war in human history that doesn’t offend our modern morals in some way, shape, or form. Making them seem stupid to us, in one way or another. However, most could argue that just because we think they are stupid, doesn’t necessarily mean that at the time they were stupid. 

These are not those. 

They were stupid then and they are even more stupid now. And there is nothing that can explain these situations away except slack-jawed-confusion and angry-face-palming. If you need a good laugh or need another reason to point out how dumb humanity is, then you’ve come to the right place!

Here are my sisters and I’s ranking of the 5 dumbest wars and military conflicts in all of human history.

5) The Pastry War

Written by Viktoria Zarate. Edited by Mikayla Zarate

The first war on our list is arguably the least ridiculous, as it was a serious war. Just the main reason behind it was incredibly dumb. 

In 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain but as amazing as it sounds, not everything was so peachy, as the country quickly became known for being violent and unstable. Things were so bad, in fact, that the government couldn’t even implement a basic police system. Theft, robbery, and property damage became common, and on December 4th, 1824 5,000 people did a full-on riot on the Peri-in building in Mexico City central square. Which was known for having luxurious shops and was the country’s center of trade. After the raid, many shop owners and traders were outraged by what happened but no one was more enraged than a Frenchman named Louis Philippe. 

Louis Philippe owned a humble pastry shop on the outskirts of Mexico City, which got destroyed in the riots of the Peri-in. Upset and angry, Philippe demanded Mexican officials to pay for the property damages, but when the Mexican government told him to ‘f off’, he decided to take his problem to a few French officials he was personal with. France demanded Mexico to pay six thousand pesos or three million francs for the complaints they got and Mexico said that was way too much money to give for a few complaints. But France was having none of it.

Before this whole situation, France and Mexico was already having issues as a French National was executed in Mexico in 1837 by pirates, France was demanding higher tax rates on trades than the U.S and Great Britain, and France was pissed off for unpaid war debts that Mexico had promised to pay for their help during the Texas Revolution. So, other variables did come into play but it was the pastry shop situation that was the final straw and sparked the Pastry War.

On November 27, 1838, Mexico officially declared war, and it lasted until Mar 9, 1839. It might have only been 4 months but France completely dominated Mexico. France won every single battle that they had. In one battle, France didn’t even shoot a single bullet, but they still won the battle. However, despite this, the war most likely would have lasted longer if Britain didn’t come along and basically shouted “DO I REALLY NEED TO COME OVER THERE AND DEAL YOU GUYS!?” This made Mexico quickly surrender and in the end, Mexico would pay France their six thousand pesos thus concluding the Pastry War


4) The War Of Jenkins Ear

Written and Edited by Mikayla Zarate

If you didn’t think the last war was dumb enough as it was still a fairly serious war, even if the reason that started the war was pretty stupid. Then be prepared for the War of Jenkins Ear, because this is where things get really stupid. 

The War of Jenkins Ear unsurprisingly started with a British man named Jenkins, Captain Robert Jenkins to be exact, who had his ear chopped off in the year 1731 by a Spanish privateer. (privateer: private person or ship that engages in maritime warfare under a commission of war.) The reason why his ear was chopped off varies from source to source, so it’s hard to say what happened. According to Captain Jenkins, he had done nothing wrong and was unfairly punished. Others say Captain Jenkins was a smuggler and cutting his ear off as a punishment. Some say Captain Jenkins was a British Pirate and was known for pillaging Spanish ships. And some say the Spanish had nothing to do with the whole endeavor and Jenkins had lost his ear in a bar brawl. At the end of the day, no one today knows, and we may never know the truth. But that’s beside the point, Captain Jenkins no longer had an ear, and he blamed it on the Spanish. 

In 1738, Captain Jenkins showed up before British Parliament and told his side of the story, with his severed ear in a jar as evidence. The story was so terrible that the King supposedly fainted, and the entire population of Britain demanded justice. Jenkins severed ear became a symbol of British Pride, yes I’m serious. And in 1739, Britain declared war with Spain, using Jenkins’s missing ear as their excuse.

The war lasted 9 years and ended in 1748. This war would also spawn the King George War in 1744. 

3) The Emu War 

Written By Viktoria Zarate, Edited by Mikayla Zarate

In the 1930s, The Great Depression was in full swing and was hitting everyone in the world hard, and Australia was no exception. Australia’s entire economy was based on trading with other countries with wool and wheat but no one was buying for obvious reason. This lead to a huge crisis with farmers who weren’t able to sell their crops and were quickly running knee-deep into bankruptcy. This led many farmers to start searching for work in the cities to make a living. However, some farmers stayed and continued to attend to the little crop they had. There was just one problem: Emus (Australia’s national bird). Emu’s were eating the majority of the crops, making this dire situation even worse for the farmers who decided to stay. Infuriated and indignant, the farmers decided they wanted to start a war with the emus.

I am dead serious they started a war with birds

In 1932, instead of going to the Minister of Agriculture, the farmers went to the Minister of Defense: George Pearce. George Pearce listened to their problem and granted the farmers machine guns and a few men to take care of the “crisis”. Then, George Pearce made the farmers sign a contract saying that it will not be his fault that if the stupid plan didn’t work out. 

The goal was to kill at least half of the emu population which would be 10,000 emus, and so each man was given 10,000 rounds in total. There were three men tasked with the job, so that’s about 30,000 rounds of ammunition. It should be easy, in theory. They are birds. But as it would turn out, Emus are very difficult to kill. 

Emus are 6ft tall and weigh about 120 pounds, they can run at speeds of 40 miles per hour, and they are surprisingly resilient. Reports from the ‘soldiers’ claimed that some of the emus were shot several times in the chest, but could still run away at full speed and live. So, the first battle was an easy victory for the emus. 

Now, you would think that the humans would think of a better plan after their first failure… but every plan just got steadily worse and worse. 



First, they tried shooting without any hesitation, not surprisingly letting most of the emus got away. 

The second plan was to try to get close to emus to get a chance to kill them, but their guns jammed… at least they got 12 emus though. 

The third plan was full-proof guys, trust me it will work! Note the sarcasm. Emus are just as fast as cars, right? So the three men thought “hey! Let’s operate machine guns on a moving car and we will be able to kill them!” Not knowing that it is very hard to operate a machine gun in a moving car on bumpy terrain and all the bullets went everywhere but the emus. 

With this third failure, the soldiers finally got their act together and started killing some emus. They went until they had finished all the bullets they had. The original population of emus was 20,000 emus and after everything, George Pearce and his team killed…1,000 emus. 

In other words, humans went to war against ostriches’ forgotten cousins and lost. On the bright side, the farmers did discover a perfect way to keep emus from destroying their crops…they just installed better fencing around the crops. AND THAT’S ALL FOR THE EMU WAR FOLKS!

2) The Pig War 

Written By Viktoria Zarate, Edited by Mikayla Zarate

This is technically not a war so much as a military conflict, but it has war in the name so we’re counting it. 

The year was 1857, on the small island of San Juan. During this time, English Canada (England owned Canada at the time) and America were having trouble splitting with the border between the Island as San Juan rested between Vancouver Island and modern-day Seattle. This conflict was argued over for several years before the two nations decided to just split it down the middle. Soon after the matter was settled, residents from both sides started settling on San Juan Island. One such newcomer on Britain’s side was Hudson’s Bay Company, a sheep farm. While settlers on America’s side did what they wanted, such as farming or building houses. 

For two years, nothing happened. But, on June 15, 1859, Lyman Cutlar, an American farmer, found a black pig eating his potato garden. This wasn’t the first time that this pig had come by to his garden, and so Cutlar grab his shotgun and killed the pig. This is when an employee from Hudson’s Bay Company, Charles Giffin, came out and saw the whole thing. He rushed over angrily, shouting that the slaughtered pig was a prize animal and it was going to be told at an upcoming fair for a lot of money.  For compensation, Cutlar said he would pay $10 for the pig, which equates to around $300 in today’s money. Giffin said no and asked for nothing less than $100, which is over $3,000, to pay back for the pig. Cutlar obviously said no and told the man that he wouldn’t even pay if he was going to be so unreasonable. 

This situation quickly escalated and led to British authorities being called to arrest Cutlar for killing the pig and refusing to pay for it. Upon hearing that one of their own was being ‘unfairly arrested’, American settlers called for military protection to put around Cutlar’s home. Which the military force on the island actually allowed, dispatching a total of 66 American soldiers to the San Juan Islands to keep the British from arriving. Unsurprisingly, the appearance of American Soldiers worried the local British residents so they decided to bring in 3 warships to counter the American troops. Then, on August 10, 1859, American troops, feeling threatened, brought 14 cannons with 461 more troops. Which made the British feel even more threatened and so they called for 2 more warships with 2,140 more troops, mounting 70 guns. 

Oh my god, you can’t make this stuff up

Luckily, local commanding officers from the island screamed at both parties to not fire unless the other party fired first. This caused a long Mexican standoff between the American troops and British troops for several days, and reports from several locals claimed that the entire situation never went farther than screaming playground insults and curse words at each other like bratty toddlers. 

When this reached London and Washington D.C, both President James Buchanan and General Winfield Scott were dumbfounded at what happened over at the San Juan Islands and General Scott quickly defused the situation for both sides. It was settled that both sides would have no more than 100 troops each. With British troops on the north side of the island and Americans on the south side of the island. After this, both sides mutually bonded over the years, resulting in soldiers visiting each other’s camps and hosting celebrations and athletic competitions several times a year. 12 years later, the dispute was peacefully resolved and on October 21, 1872, it was decided that the US would have the San Juan Islands. And a National Historical Park was installed as a memorial to the whole mess. And that’s how the Pig War came to be.            

1) The Huéscar Forgotten War

Written and Edited by Mikayla Zarate

The last quote “War” unquote we’ll be talking about is technically neither war nor a military conflict. But I had to include this not only on the ranking but at number one as the most ridiculous ‘war’ in human history. Because, if none of these wars made you crack a grin, then this one definitely will. 

The year was 1809, and the continent of Europe was knee-deep in the horrors of war. Napoléon Bonaparte, and by extension France itself, was arguably at the height of their power, conquering land after land in pursuit of an empire to rival The Ancient Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Empire had fallen to France in 1806, most of Italy was under French Control, and France had its sight on a new toy for its collection: Spain. On February 16th, 1808, France declared war against Spain and started marching its troops into the territory. 

During the midst of this crisis, a small city in the southeast part of Spain called Huéscar decided to declare war against Denmark in 1809, as it was one of The French’s major allies. 

This official declaration of war was quickly forgotten. 

For 172 years not a single bullet was fired between the two ‘warring’ parties. That is until 1981, when a local historian in Spain found the Official War Document and quickly learned that, technically speaking,  Huéscar and Denmark never ‘stopped fighting.’ The news quickly spread around and on November 11th, 1981, the Mayor of Huéscar and the Ambassador of Denmark officially signed a Peace Treaty, ‘ending the war’. 

I am not joking. This happened, people. 

And with that final bout of pure insanity, that concludes this article. Have a wonderful day.