Every country in the world has had some involvement with war at one time or another, but there is no denying the fact that some countries are far more war-stricken than others.
While many of these countries were fighting for their independence, there have been numerous instances when a war was set into motion to gain power.
Check out this list of the thirty countries that have had the most wars to learn more.
Table of Contents
- The Countries That Have Had The Most Wars
- 1. Spain: 300+
- 2. France: 250+
- 3. Hungary: 190
- 4. United Kingdom: 180
- 5. India: 148
- 6. Austria: 115
- 7. Poland: 115
- 8. The Philippines: 110
- 9. Iran: 104
- 10. United States: 101
- 11. Argentina: 90
- 12. Brazil: 78
- 13. Russia: 75
- 14. Nigeria: 67
- 15. Denmark: 66
- 16. Sweden: 64
- 17. Afghanistan: 61
- 18. England: 61
- 19. Germany: 57
- 20. Egypt: 49
- 21. Italy: 44
- 22. Mexico: 43
- 23. North Korea: 42
- 24. Bulgaria: 38
- 25. Canada: 35
- 26. Iraq: 33
- 27. Turkey: 24
- 28. China: 20
- 29. Israel: 15
- 30. Syria: 12
The Countries That Have Had The Most Wars
1. Spain: 300+
Dating back to Ancient Times, Spain is one of the countries with the longest history of war on record, and there have been more than twenty wars in the BCE-CE alone. But the taste for war only continued to grow with more than one hundred battles through the Medieval era and just over sixty serious conflicts during the reign of Habsburg Spain.
War has even followed Spain into modern times, and the country has been continuously involved in some sort of conflict since 1975. The country has been involved in more than ten wars during this time and two of these wars are still ongoing.
2. France: 250+
France has undergone many phases of power throughout its history, and with this has come a countless number of wars. What was first known as the Salian Franks in 445 became Francia by 486 and from there has been referred to by many other names including the Kingdom of France, First French Republic, Second French Republic, and so on.
Today, the country is under the rule of the French Fifth Republic, but this is only the result of countless past wars. Even after this rule was established in 1958, France has been a part of more than twenty conflicts and nearly fifteen serious wars.
3. Hungary: 190
Considering the fact that Hungary started out as a Hungarian Tribe hungry for power during the Middle Ages, it is no wonder that it is one of the countries that has had the most wars in the world. In fact, the tribe quickly grew into a duchy as it was undefeated during its first hundred years in battle.
However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that Hungary officially gained its independence and even then, it faced a series of brutal wars. The country has been a part of more than ten major wars since its independence but is also one of the few countries that are not at war today.
4. United Kingdom: 180
Dating back as far as the early 1700s, the United Kingdom has been involved in a great number of conflicts, many of which were carried out by the Royal Navy. In fact, it was very rare for the United Kingdom to set out to war on land and it only ever occurred when there was an internal revolt.
Most of the wars took place when the United Kingdom was still referred to as the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801. But that is not to say that war didn’t continue to play a major role when the country was transformed into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with multiple wars still going on to this day.
5. India: 148
With a history of war dating back to the time of Ancient India, the country is undoubtedly one of the most war-stricken countries in the world. The Battle of the Ten Kings that took place in the 14th century BCE is the first war on record, and the list of conflicts only continued to grow with each passing century.
India has fallen under the administration of various parties before becoming a republic in 1950, and during this time, the country had been involved in more than 120 armed conflicts. However, even after the country gained independence, it has been a part of nearly thirty battles and major wars.
6. Austria: 115
Once a small territory ruled by a margrave, Austria quickly grew in size thanks to its continuous involvement in battles, crusades, and other war-like activities. By 1453, the country had grown to become the Archduchy of Austria and after almost seventy wars had been transformed into the Austrian Empire.
However, every great empire must fall at some time or another, and before long the Austrian Empire would lose much of the power it had gained. By the time the second World War had come around, there was very little of Austria left to defend, and so once it gained the title as the independent Republic of Austria, the country created a law of neutrality.
7. Poland: 115
Dating back to the Middle Ages when Poland was just a duchy attempting to expand its reach through raids, the country has been in countless conflicts and is easily one of the most war-stricken of its kind. In fact, Poland had been involved in more conflicts than any other country before it even gained its independence in 1919.
Since then, Poland has been a part of nearly one hundred different battles and various large wars. The most notable of the bunch is Poland’s involvement in World War II, but the War on Terror comes in as a close second as it still continues on to this day (2001-present).
8. The Philippines: 110
Since the Philippine Revolution of 1896, it has been clear that the Philippines would be in the lead as one of the countries with the most wars in the world. In fact, the Philippines had been victorious in nearly all thirty of the battles that took place during this two-year period.
The country’s next big war, the Philippine–American War, followed soon after in 1899, with more than thirty-five battles. This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of war involvement for the Philippines with major contributions including the Cold War, World War II, and the Communist rebellion.
9. Iran: 104
Although Iran’s first recorded war in the 7th century BCE ended in defeat, it was followed by a series of victories that would ultimately result in even more conflict over time. In fact, Iran had been transformed into five different empires before becoming a dynasty in 1077 and during this time, was involved in more than fifty battles.
In a similar fashion, Iran was a part of seven different dynasties throughout its history and was involved in a little over forty conflicts during this time. The country didn’t become the Islamic Republic of Iran until 1979 and since then, has been a part of eight wars with one that is still ongoing.
10. United States: 101
Starting with the famously known American Revolutionary War, the United States has been involved in more than one hundred wars since it has gained its independence. Of this number, only ten have resulted in defeat, making the United States one of the most victorious countries to date.
It is also one of the countries with the most involvement in 21st-century conflicts. The United States has been a part of more than ten wars in the last twenty years alone and some of these wars are still ongoing, including the American intervention in Yemen, the Second U.S. Intervention in the Somali Civil War, and the American-led intervention in Syria.
11. Argentina: 90
It wasn’t until 1861 that the country became independent, but even before Argentina became established as the Argentine Republic, it had been involved in a long history of war. The first record of war was in 1536 when Colonial Argentina first attempted to colonize Buenos Aires.
The country was also involved in nearly twenty wars during its time as the Argentine Confederation between the years of 1831 and 1861. But even after the country gained its independence, the Argentine Republic was still a part of almost fifty major conflicts.
12. Brazil: 78
Brazil has been under the rule of many different administrations throughout its history and each one has had some involvement with war. The first record of conflict was back in 1534 when Colonial Brazil took part in the Iguape War, and more than forty other battles took place during this administration.
In 1815, the country became a part of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves but three wars later, it was transformed into the Empire of Brazil. From here, the country was involved in more than twenty wars before becoming the First Brazilian Republic and then the Brazilian military government.
13. Russia: 75
Dating all the way back to the beginning of the 9th century, Russia is known for not only being one of the countries with the most wars but also one of the most successful. In fact, Russia is ranked as number two for the most powerful military forces in the world today behind the United States.
There have been countless, brutal wars throughout Russia’s history, but the country didn’t actually become independent until 1991 after being under the control of the Soviet Union. And even though the country has only been independent for a little over twenty years, it has been involved in thirteen wars with three that are still ongoing.
14. Nigeria: 67
Known for having a history of civil conflict, the battles that took place during the Nigeria Civil War alone are enough to demonstrate Nigeria’s place in war-stricken countries. Over the course of three years (1967-1970), more than fifteen battles took place and it ultimately led to the separation of Biafra.
Aside from this, Nigeria has been faced with many other wars, both before and after the civil war, and each plays a major role in the country’s history. Ten wars took place when Nigeria was still a colony and more than thirty wars have occurred during its time in Republic(s).
15. Denmark: 66
Aside from the many wars soon to be mentioned with Sweden, Denmark has a long-standing history with conflict that dates back to the time of the Vikings. Denmark didn’t officially become an independent country until 1849 but had been involved in nearly thirty wars and countless conflicts prior to this date.
Even after Denmark became an independent country, war still played a major role in the country. Denmark has been a part of almost twenty conflicts and various wars with some issues that are still ongoing today, like the Military intervention against ISIL and the War on Terrorism.
16. Sweden: 64
Sweden is not only one of the countries with the most wars in the world, but it is also known for having the most wars with the same opposition. Sweden and Denmark are famed for having the most wars with one another and even without a complete record, they come in at a whopping thirty conflicts.
Even though Sweden appeared to take a hiatus from war involvement after the Vietnam War ended in 1975, it has been in a constant state of war from 2001 to the present day. The War in Afghanistan just ended in 2021 after a twenty-year battle, but the Mali War is still in full effect (2012-present).
17. Afghanistan: 61
There is no denying that Afghanistan has been in a series of wars throughout its lifetime. But if we take into consideration the wars dating all the way back to when the country was part of the Sur Empire, that number becomes even more catastrophic.
In fact, Afghanistan didn’t become an independent country until 1919 but had been involved in a plethora of wars prior to that dating back to 1539. Even after the country gained its independence, wars continued with the most recent being the War in Afghanistan which lasted twenty years (2001-2021).
18. England: 61
Although England technically became a part of the Kingdom of Great Britain during the Acts of Union in 1707, it is important to mention its extensive history with war prior to this date. England’s history with war dates back to the 10th century and it only continued to advance up until its unification.
Throughout each century leading up to its unification, England was faced with a series of wars and the number of conflicts only appeared to grow as time went on. With that being said, it is clear that the country reached its peak during the 16th and 17th centuries.
19. Germany: 57
Even if we didn’t date back to the time when the Kingdom of Germany was a part of the Holy Roman Empire, Germany would still be considered one of the most war-filled countries in the world. Although, it is important to note that during this time, Germany was involved in numerous crusades and the Seven Years’ War.
And even though Germany has been involved in countless wars, it was infamously known as Nazi Germany for its actions during World War II. After this catastrophic time in history, Nazi Germany was defeated, and the Federal Republic of Germany was established.
20. Egypt: 49
It wasn’t until 1953 that Egypt became an independent country, but its involvement with war started long before that. The first record of Egypt’s war efforts dates back to 1189 when it was part of the Third Crusade under Ayyubid Sultanate rule.
In fact, Egypt has gone through a series of administrations throughout the centuries, and each has been equally involved in wars both foreign and domestic. Now known as the Arab Republic of Egypt, the new rule has been involved in more than ten wars, three of which are still ongoing today.
21. Italy: 44
The wars of Ancient Rome have become a staple of World History, but it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of war involvement since the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Prior to becoming the Italian Republic we see today, the Kingdom of Italy was a part of nearly thirty armed conflicts.
Even after the Italian Civil War that brought the Republic to life, the country still maintained a war front with nearly ten major wars under its belt. However, it is one of the few countries that are not currently at war today and its last real battle was in 2011 during the Libyan Intervention.
22. Mexico: 43
Mexico is easily one of the countries that have had the most wars, but what many people don’t realize is that a majority of these wars were civil matters. To this day, the country faces one of its most disastrous wars to date – the Mexican Drug War.
But Mexico has had a serious involvement with war ever since it first won the Mexican War of Independence back in September of 1810. Since then, there have been very few years that the country has gone without fighting a war, and the longest war on record is currently the Mexican Indian Wars (1821-1933).
23. North Korea: 42
With roots dating back to the Joseon dynasty, North Korea is easily one of the countries that have had the most wars in relation to its extensive history. Even before the development of the Korean Empire in 1897, the county was a part of nearly twenty armed conflicts.
One defeated war after another led to the fall of this empire and it was soon replaced with Occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945. It wasn’t until 1948 that North Korea gained its independence and since then it has been involved in almost twenty major wars.
24. Bulgaria: 38
Although Bulgaria hasn’t been involved in a war in the last ten years, its long history with conflict makes it a country with the most wars in the world. In fact, Bulgaria has one of the most extensive battlefront histories with wars dating back to 680 when the country was still the First Bulgarian Empire.
Since the first empire, Bulgaria has been under a series of other administrations including the Kingdom of Bulgaria and Principality of Bulgaria. It wasn’t until 1990 that the country became the Republic of Bulgaria that we see today and even then, it has been involved in a couple of major wars such as the Iraq War and the 2011 military intervention in Libya.
25. Canada: 35
Dating back to the time when Canada faced colonial conflicts during the 11th century, the country has grown into what it is today through its involvement in many wars. After fifteen lengthy wars, Canada became an independent country in 1867.
It is one of the few countries that has managed to stay under the same administration for more than one hundred years. Although the country has a strong foundation, it has been involved in more than twenty wars since gaining its independence.
26. Iraq: 33
Dating back to the time when Iraq was still ruled by the Ottoman Empire, it is clear that this country has always been involved in some type of war. One clear example of this is the fact that the country has been under the rule of various administrations throughout its time.
Once Iraq was free from the Ottoman Empire, it fell under British rule and became Mandatory Iraq. It wasn’t until 1932 that Iraq gained its independence, and it didn’t take long for the country to become involved in the first of many other wars – the Yazidi Revolt – just three years later.
27. Turkey: 24
Since the success of the Turkish War of Independence in 1919, Turkey has made a name for itself as one of the few independent countries with the most wars in the entire world. In fact, the country has been a part of twenty-one different conflicts since this date and ten major wars.
But to make matters even more interesting, Turkey has only ever been defeated once with the rest of the conflicts resulting in either a victory, stalemate, or ceasefire. Not to mention the fact that the Kurdish-Turkish Conflict, American-led intervention in Iraq, and Turkish military operation in Idlib Governorate are still ongoing.
28. China: 20
Officially known as the People’s Republic of China, China has a history of civil conflicts, and it wasn’t until the victory of the Chinese Civil War in 1949 that the country saw true freedom. Prior to this, it appeared as though China was constantly at war with itself.
But even after the People’s Republic of China brought change to the country, it was unable to escape its involvement with conflict. From 1949 onward, China has been involved in nearly twenty conflicts, two of which are still ongoing (Northern Mali conflict and War on Terror).
29. Israel: 15
Considering the fact that Israel didn’t gain its independence until 1948, it has been involved in a plethora of conflicts including eight major wars. It is also important to note the severity of the War of Independence with more than four thousand soldiers and two thousand civilians killed in the process.
Even after Israel became independent, it still faced major backlash from neighboring Arab states, and this resulted in a series of violent conflicts that would cost both soldiers and civilians their lives. In fact, most of the wars and armed altercations were a result of the Arab–Israeli conflict.
30. Syria: 12
Since Syria first gained its independence in 1920, it has been involved in a series of wars. Although the overall number of these wars appears to be small in comparison to other countries, it is massive when you consider the time span in which these wars took place.
Throughout this time, Syria has shifted from the Arab Kingdom of Syria to the Syrian Republic and is still at war to this day for another change in leadership. Of the twelve wars that have taken place, the Lebanese Civil War still holds the title for the longest (15 years), but this may change in the near future as the Syrian Civil War presses on.