England and France
It’s common knowledge that the French and English have been rivals for centuries. The roots of the conflict date back to the Norman Conquest in the 12th Century, but the rivalry has continued throughout history. From the Hundred Years War to the Battle of Waterloo, these two countries have been locked in conflict for centuries.
Some of the most significant conflicts of this time included dozens of wars from 1109 to 1338, the Hundred Years’ War in 1337, The Seven Years’ War in 1756, the American Revolutionary War in 1776, and the Napoleonic Wars in 1802. In short, from about the 12th Century until the early 19th Century, things have remained a bit tense between the two countries.
In fact, the rivalry became so bitter in some places in time that even when France went to war, like in some of the Italian wars, England would pick to support whatever side opposed France, just to help prevent the French’s attempts to get a stable crown and increase its holdings in Europe.
There has been more back and forth since. For example, during the 18th Century, Britain conquered Canada from the French, whereas the French helped to kick the British out of what is now the United States.
However, after Waterloo, the two seemed to have put their differences aside. Since then, they’ve fought together during the Opium Wars, the Crimean War, and both World Wars.
Rome and Carthage
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought by Rome and Carthage. They were some of the largest and most important wars of antiquity, with both sides fighting for control of the Mediterranean Sea.
The first war began in 264 BC when Rome tried to stop Carthage from expanding into Sicily. The second war broke out in 218 BC when Hannibal invaded Italy and famously crossed the Alps with his army to try and take Rome. The third war began in 149 BC after Carthage rebelled against Rome’s rule.
Each side had its fair share of victories, but Rome emerged victoriously. However, the wars left a deep mark on both cultures.
The rivalry between Rome and Carthage was so intense that it even spilled over into popular culture. In the Aeneid, an epic poem was written by Virgil, the hero Aeneas is sent on a mission by the gods to found Rome. Along the way, he has to fight against the forces of Carthage, led by Queen Dido.
The Punic Wars may have ended centuries ago, but the conflict between Rome and Carthage is still alive in our collective imagination.
Also, it’s worth noting that Rome pretty much had a rivalry with everyone, hence there was a Roman Empire. Rome even had rivalries and conflicts within the city itself, like between the Plebeians and the Patricians. This was all because Rome was constantly expanding its empire and taking on new foes and, therefore, new rivalries.
Scotland and England
Let’s be real. Is there any country in the world that England doesn’t have at least a bit of bitterness with? The country has been involved in so many conflicts and wars over the centuries that it’s hard to keep track.
But if there’s one rivalry that stands out above all the rest, it’s the one between England and Scotland.
The two countries have a long history of conflict, dating back to the Middle Ages. The most famous battle between them was the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, when Scotland defeated England in a stunning victory.
However, other notable conflicts include the Scottish Wars of Independence (with wars starting on dates like 1296 and 1332), the Anglo-Scottish Wars (1372-1542), Rough Wooing, and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639-1653).
During these conflicts, both countries fought fiercely for control of the British Isles. This was all stemming from the fact that, for centuries, England and Scotland were two separate countries.
But in the end, it was England that emerged victoriously.
The rivalry between England and Scotland is still going strong today. In 2014, Scotland voted to become an independent country but ultimately decided to remain part of the United Kingdom.
Even though they’re technically allies now, the rivalry between these two countries is still alive and well.
Denmark and Sweden
The rivalry between Denmark and Sweden dates back centuries. Both countries have fought each other countless times, with the most recent conflict occurring in 1814.
This rivalry is due to the fact that both Denmark and Sweden are located on the Scandinavian Peninsula. This has led to a long history of conflict between the two countries, as they have constantly been vying for control of this strategic region.
During the 18th Century, Denmark and Sweden were locked in a series of wars known as the Great Northern War. This culminated in a Swedish victory in 1721, which resulted in Denmark losing control of much of its territory.
However, the two countries later made peace and became allies during the Napoleonic Wars. But even though they are now allies, the rivalry between Denmark and Sweden is still going strong.
The Ottomans and Persians
The rivalry between the Ottomans and Persians is one that dates back centuries. It’s a conflict that has been fought over religion, territory, and power.
The Ottoman Empire was a Muslim state that was founded in 1299. The Persian Empire was a Shia Muslim state that was founded in 1501.
Both empires were powerful and expansionist, and they often came into conflict with each other. This led to a series of wars known as the Ottoman-Persian Wars.
The most famous of these wars was the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514, which resulted in a decisive victory for the Ottomans. However, the Persians later regained control of much of their lost territory.
However, after a series of conflicts throughout the 18th Century, the two empires decided that most of their conflicts were mostly inconclusive, and they finally agreed to peace in 1823.
In 1918, the Ottoman Empire was dissolved and replaced by the Republic of Turkey. The Persian Empire was later renamed Iran in 1935.
The United States and the Soviet Union
By far, one of the biggest and most prevalent rivalries in all of modern history is this one. The United States and the Soviet Union were two superpowers that were locked in a fierce rivalry during the 20th Century. This rivalry was known as the Cold War, and it lasted from 1945 to 1991.
The rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union was one of the most important events of the 20th Century since these two superpowers were locked in a struggle for supremacy that lasted for decades. The Cold War was a conflict that was fought both on political and ideological grounds. The United States represented democracy and capitalism, while the Soviet Union represented communism and socialism.
The Cold War began after World War II when the Soviet Union tried to spread its influence around the world. This led to a series of proxy wars, as both sides supported different factions in conflicts like the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
During these times, the two sides never directly fought each other, but the tension between them was always high. The world came close to nuclear war on several occasions, most notably during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
This was when the Soviet Union tried to place nuclear missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles from the United States. The crisis was resolved when the Soviet Union agreed to remove the missiles, but it showed how close the world came to nuclear disaster.
Fortunately, the Cold War never turned hot and devolved into an all-out war. But even though it’s over, the rivalry between the United States and Russia is still going strong today.
The rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union eventually led to the latter’s collapse in 1991. This was because the Soviet Union was unable to keep up with the United States militarily, economically, or politically. From here, the United States became the sole superpower.
The rivalry between these two superpowers shaped the world we live in today, and historians and political scientists still study it.
But the legacy of this conflict is still very much with us today.
So there you have it, eight of history’s most intense rivalries. What do you think? Are there any other rivalries that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!