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List of wars involving the United Kingdom

List of wars involving the United Kingdom

This is a list of conflicts involving the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and its predecessor states (the Kingdom of Great Britain, Kingdom of England, Kingdom of Scotland and generally the British Isles). Notable militarised interstate disputes are included. For a list of wars before the Acts of Union 1707 please see List of wars involving England & List of wars involving Scotland. To see wars that have been fought on the United Kingdom mainland, see the list of wars in Great Britain.

Historically, the United Kingdom relied most heavily on the Royal Navy and maintained relatively small land forces. Most of the episodes listed here deal with insurgencies and revolts in the various colonies of the British Empire.

During its history, the United Kingdom's forces (or forces with a British mandate) have invaded, had some control over or fought conflicts in 171 of the world's 193 countries that are currently UN member states, or nine out of ten of all countries.

  British victory
  Another result *
  British defeat
  Ongoing conflict

*e.g. a treaty or peace without a clear result, status quo ante bellum, result of civil or internal conflict, result unknown or indecisive, inconclusive

Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1801)

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801–1922)

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1922–present)

See also

  • List of wars involving England
  • List of wars involving Scotland
  • List of wars in Great Britain
  • Military history of the United Kingdom
  • Declaration of war by the United Kingdom


Collection James Bond 007




  • Cavanna, Thomas (2015). Hubris, Self-Interest and America's Failed War in Afghanistan. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books. ISBN 9781498506205.
  • Lansford, Tom (2017). Afghanistan at War: From the 18th Century Durrani Dynasty to the 21st Century. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598847604.
  • Tal, David (2001). The 1956 War: Collusion and Rivalry in the Middle East (Psychology Press). p. 203. ISBN 978-0-7146-4840-8

Further reading

  • Barnett, Correlli. Britain and her army, 1509–1970: a military, political and social survey (1970).
  • Black, Jeremy. A military history of Britain: from 1775 to the present (2008).
  • Bradford, James C. ed. International Encyclopedia of Military History (2 vol. 2006).
  • Brownstone, David and Irene Franck. Timelines of War: A Chronology of Warfare from 100,000 BC to the Present (1996), Global coverage.
  • Cannon, John, ed. The Oxford Companion to British History (2003)
  • Carlton, Charles. This Seat of Mars: War and the British Isles, 1485–1746 (Yale UP; 2011) 332 pages; studies the impact of near unceasing war from the individual to the national levels.
  • Chandler, David G., and Ian Frederick William Beckett, eds. The Oxford history of the British army (Oxford UP, 2003).
  • Cole, D. H and E. C Priestley. An outline of British military history, 1660–1936 (1936). online
  • Dupuy, R. Ernest and Trevor N. Dupuy. The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 B.C. to the Present (1993).
  • Fortescue, John William. History of the British Army from the Norman Conquest to the First World War (1899–1930), in 13 volumes with six separate map volumes. Available online for downloading; online volumes; The standard highly detailed full coverage of operations.
  • Haswell, Jock, and John Lewis-Stempel. A Brief History of the British Army (2017).
  • Higham, John, ed. A Guide to the Sources of British Military History (1971) 654 pages excerpt; Highly detailed bibliography and discussion up to 1970; includes local and naval forces.
  • James, Lawrence. Warrior Race: A History of the British at War (Hachette UK, 2010). excerpt
  • Johnson, Douglas, et al. Britain and France: Ten Centuries (1980)
  • Mulligan, William, and Brendan Simms, eds. The Primacy of Foreign Policy in British History, 1660–2000 (Palgrave Macmillan; 2011) 345 pages
  • Neville, Peter (2013). Historical Dictionary of British Foreign Policy. Scarecrow Press. pp. xix–xxxi. ISBN 9780810873711. timeline pp xix to xxxi
  • Otte, T.G. The Makers of British Foreign Policy: From Pitt to Thatcher (2002)
  • Ranft, Bryan. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Royal Navy (Oxford UP, 2002).
  • Rodger, N. A.M. The safeguard of the sea: A naval history of Britain, 660–1649 (Vol. 1. 1998). excerpt
    • Rodger, N.A.M.The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649–1815 (vol 2 2006) excerpt
  • Sheppard, Eric William. A short history of the British army (1950). online
  • Ward, A.W. and G.P. Gooch, eds. The Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy, 1783–1919 (3 vol, 1921–23), old detailed classic; vol 1, 1783–1815 ; vol 2, 1815–1866; vol 3. 1866–1919


  • Messenger, Charles, ed. Reader's Guide to Military History (2001) pp 55–74 etc.; annotated guide to most important books.
  • Schroeder, Paul W. "Old Wine in Old Bottles: Recent Contributions to British Foreign Policy and European International Politics, 1789–1848." Journal of British Studies 26.01 (1987): 1–25.

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