What was the shortest war in history?


Occurring on the 25 August 1896, the Anglo-Zanzibar War was the shortest war in history. The conflict occurred as a result of the death of the pro-British sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on the 25th of that month. He was succeeded by Sultan Khalid bin Barghash, but this was not approved by the British, who preferred the more British friendly Hamud bin Muhammed. As Khalid had not obtained permission from the British he was ordered to leave the palace – he refused.

At 9am a British force of three cruisers, two gunboats, 150 marines and sailors and 900 Zanzibaris had gathered to face off against the 2,800 Zanzibaris who defended the palace. At 9:02am the British bombardment had set the palace alight and disabled the enemy artillery. By 9:40am the same day the palace flag was shot down and the fire ceased. The Zanzibar forces suffered 500 casualties and just one British sailor was injured, the British had won the war in 40 minutes.