Definitions

Wars

Wars of the Roses

(1455–85) Series of dynastic civil wars between the houses of Lancaster and York for the English throne. The wars were named for the emblems of the two houses, the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster. Both claimed the throne through descent from Edward III. Lancastrians held the throne from 1399, but the country fell into a state of near anarchy during the reign of Henry VI, and during one of Henry's bouts with madness in 1453 the duke of York was declared protector of the realm. Henry reestablished his authority in 1455, and the battle was joined. The Yorkists succeeded in putting Edward IV on the throne in 1461, but the wars continued, and in 1471 they murdered Henry VI in the Tower of London. In 1483 Richard III overrode the claims of his nephew Edward V to seize the throne, alienating many Yorkists. The Lancastrian Henry Tudor (Henry VII) defeated and killed Richard at the Battle of Bosworth Field, ending the wars. He united the houses by marriage and defeated a Yorkist rising in 1487. Seealso earl of Warwick.

Learn more about Roses, Wars of the with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(1845–46, 1848–49) Two wars fought between the Sikhs and the British. In the first war Sikhs invaded British India under the pretext of forestalling a British attack on the Sikh state in the Punjab (see Ranjit Singh). They were defeated, the British annexed some of their lands, and British troops and a British resident were stationed in Lahore. The second war was a Sikh national revolt that ended in a British victory and annexation of the Punjab.

Learn more about Sikh Wars with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(1455–85) Series of dynastic civil wars between the houses of Lancaster and York for the English throne. The wars were named for the emblems of the two houses, the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster. Both claimed the throne through descent from Edward III. Lancastrians held the throne from 1399, but the country fell into a state of near anarchy during the reign of Henry VI, and during one of Henry's bouts with madness in 1453 the duke of York was declared protector of the realm. Henry reestablished his authority in 1455, and the battle was joined. The Yorkists succeeded in putting Edward IV on the throne in 1461, but the wars continued, and in 1471 they murdered Henry VI in the Tower of London. In 1483 Richard III overrode the claims of his nephew Edward V to seize the throne, alienating many Yorkists. The Lancastrian Henry Tudor (Henry VII) defeated and killed Richard at the Battle of Bosworth Field, ending the wars. He united the houses by marriage and defeated a Yorkist rising in 1487. Seealso earl of Warwick.

Learn more about Roses, Wars of the with a free trial on Britannica.com.

or Greco-Persian Wars

(492–449 BC) Series of wars between Greek states and Persia, particularly two invasions of Greece by Persia (490, 480–479). When Darius I came to power in Persia in 522, the Ionian Greek city-states in Anatolia were under Persian control. They rose up unsuccessfully in the Ionian revolt (499–494). The support lent by Athens provoked Darius to invade Greece (492). His fleet was destroyed in a storm. In 490 he assembled a huge army on a plain near Athens; his devastating defeat at the Battle of Marathon sent him back to Persia. In 480 the Persians under Xerxes I again invaded Greece, seeking to avenge the defeat. This time all Greece fought together, with Sparta in charge of the army and Athens of the navy. A band of Spartans under Leonidas was overcome at the Battle of Thermopylae, allowing the Persian army to reach Athens, which they sacked (480). When the Persian navy was soundly defeated at the Battle of Salamis, Xerxes withdrew it to Persia. His army was defeated at the Battle of Plataea in 479 and driven from Greece, and the navy met a similar fate at Mycale on the Anatolian coast. Sporadic fighting went on for 30 more years, during which Athens formed the Delian League to free the Ionians. The Peace of Callias (449) ended the hostilities.

Learn more about Persian Wars with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Two trading wars of the mid-19th century in China. The first (1839–42 was between China and Britain, and the second (1856–60; also called the Arrow War or Anglo-French War) was between China and a British-French alliance. Trade developed between China and Western countries from the late 16th century. The Chinese, accustomed to tributary relationships with others, required that Westerners pay for Chinese goods with silver currency. To offset a growing negative flow of silver at home, the British created a market for opium in China and began importing it there illegally. As demand for opium grew, China tried to stop the practice, and hostilities broke out. Britain quickly triumphed, and the resultant Treaty of Nanjing (Nanking;1842; the first of a series of unequal treaties between China and Western countries and, eventually, Japan) was a blow to China. The outbreak of the second war resulted in the Treaty of Tianjin (Tientsin; 1858), which required further Chinese concessions. When China refused to sign subsequent treaties, Beijing (Peking) was captured and the emperor's summer palace burned. The overall result of these conflicts was to weaken the Chinese imperial system, greatly expand Western influence in China, and pave the way for such uprisings as the Taiping and Boxer rebellions. Seealso Canton system; British East India Company; Lin Zexu.

Learn more about Opium Wars with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(58–50 BC) Campaigns in which Julius Caesar conquered Gaul. Clad in his blood-red cloak as a “distinguishing mark of battle,” he led his troops to victories throughout the province, relying on superior strategy, tactics, discipline, and military engineering. In 58 he drove back the Helvetii from Rome's northwestern frontier, then subdued the Belgic group of Gallic peoples in the north (57), reconquered the Veneti (56), crossed the Rhine River to raid Germany (55), and crossed the English Channel to raid Britain (55, 54). His major triumph was the defeat of Vercingetorix in 52. He described the campaigns in De bello Gallico.

Learn more about Gallic Wars with a free trial on Britannica.com.

or Dutch Wars

Four naval conflicts between England and the Dutch Republic in the 17th–18th century. The First (1652–54), Second (1665–67), and Third (1672–74) Anglo-Dutch Wars all arose from commercial rivalry between the two nations, and victories by England established its naval might. The two countries had been allied for a century when the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1780–84) broke out over Dutch interference in the American Revolution. By 1784 the Dutch Republic had declined dramatically in power and prestige.

Learn more about Anglo-Dutch Wars with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(1912–13) Two military conflicts that deprived the Ottoman Empire of almost all its remaining territory in Europe. In the First Balkan War, the Balkan League defeated the Ottoman Empire, which, under the terms of the peace treaty (1913), lost Macedonia and Albania. The Second Balkan War broke out after Serbia, Greece, and Romania quarreled with Bulgaria over the division of their joint conquests in Macedonia. Bulgaria was defeated, and Greece and Serbia divided up most of Macedonia between themselves. The wars heightened tensions in the Balkans and helped spark World War I.

Learn more about Balkan Wars with a free trial on Britannica.com.

See War
Search another word or see Warson Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature