A Seventeen Decade Long War That Never Was


If you think that procrastination is a hindrance to success and thus the biggest enemy of mankind then think again! This procrastination/reluctance by Spain may have saved thousands or maybe millions of lives because Spain procrastinated attacking Denmark so much that later they forgot about it and remained at war with Denmark for 172 years.

The story began in 1796 with the Second Treaty of San Ildefonso. European nations had been fighting with each other since the early 1400s. Anyway, the shorter version of this treaty tells us that Spanish and French had an alliance against the British. Fast forward to 1805, the alliance got served by the British pretty badly and this defeat marked for a crack in the alliance.

This is when Napoleon came into the picture. Spain was going through a pretty rough phase at that point in time, economically. This wasn’t hidden from Napoleon either and he started putting French troops in Spain and established his brother Joseph Bonaparte (aka Pepe Botella meaning Joe the Bottle) as the king of Spain.

Of course, you won’t like it when a foreigner rules you with thousands of foreign troops stationed in your country. Spanish hated that too and Joe the bottle didn’t care for it as he was too busy with women and wine. The Spanish empire started to fall out of his hands and as a result, a Spanish city Huéscar declared war on Denmark in 1809.

Denmark used to be a French ally in the then ongoing Napoleonic Wars. However, Napoleonic wars were the high point of the era and Spain didn’t recover economically under Joe the Bottle (of course!), and Denmark was already at war with Britain so wasn’t willing to engage in another war. So both the nations started to stall it to the point of procrastination and ultimately forgot about it.

So, Spain declared a war on Denmark and it was still ongoing without any single shot being fired at each other. In 1982, a Spanish cultural officer Vicente Gonzalez Barberan discovered this declaration of war accidently while going through some old documents and published it.

Spain’s Tiny Town Makes Peace With Denmark After 172 Years Of War

Both the countries took the ongoing war on a lighter note and decided it was time to make peace. Huéscar’s Mayor Jose Pablo Serrano and Denmark’s ambassador Mogens Wandel-Petersen signed the peace treaty and so Denmark and Spain were at peace again after 17 decades of a forgotten war, that never was.


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