What’s now referred to as the Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War was not really a war by modern standards. But technically it’s true that the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly (off the coast of Great Britain) were in a diplomatic state of war for 335 years. But it’s because they forgot to sign a peace treaty.
The longest “war’?
Also called the Dutch-Scilly War, the bloodless war didn’t officially end until 1986.
During the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentarians fought the Royalists for control of the government. When Cromwell took Cornwall, the Royalist Navy retreated from England into the Isles of Scilly.
At the time, the Dutch Navy was aligned with the Parliamentarians. They took heavy losses from the Royalist fleet. In 1651, Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp went to the Scilly Isles to demand payback for the Royalists’ attacks on their ships. But there was no agreement, and he declared war on the Isles of Scilly themselves.
How does a war last three hundred and thirty five years?
The Parliamentarians won the English Civil war, so the fact that the Dutch had declared their war on the Royalists on the Isles of Scilly meant very little after that. The Dutch left without ever firing a shot.
However, since the war was peripheral to the main event, they never declared peace either. Tromp’s declaration of war was so obscure and relatively meaningless that no one really noticed it was happening.
It wasn’t until a historian on the Isles of Scilly started researching the legend of the war that he realized it was technically still in effect. Roy Duncan wrote to the Dutch Embassy in London and that’s when everyone discovered there was no peace treaty.
As a result, Duncan invited the Dutch ambassador Jonkheer Rein Huydecoper to visit Scilly and declare peace on April 17, 1986, 335 years after the war began.
Huydecoper joked that it must have been terrifying to the residents of the island “to know we could have attacked at any moment.” — WTF fun facts