10 of the biggest religious wars ever fought

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Religion is one of the most sensitive issues and, although every religion encourages the idea of peace and tolerance, almost no one remains in peace or tolerates anything when it comes to their religion. History is full of religious wars and some of them have continued for years and killed many. Here is the list of 10 of the biggest wars that were fought over religious conflicts and differences.

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10. Second War of Kappel

Second War of Kappel

This religious war was also a result of religious conflicts between Catholic cantons and Protestants. The Second War Of Keppel was fought in 1531, in the land of Switzerland, and when the fight was over, the victory was declared on the Catholic side.  It was a rough estimate at that time that 7,000 Protestants and 2,000 Catholics fought this war and in the end, more than 700 people died including a majority of civilians.

9. Lebanese Civil War

Lebanese Civil War

This war is very particular and different from other religious wars, as it was fought between Sunnis and Shiites at the land of Lebanon. Both sides belong to different ethnic groups of Islam and they both wanted the government control of Lebanon. The Lebanese Civil War started in 1975 and ended and the end of 1990 and it was estimated that more than 150,000 people were killed in these inter-country conflicts.
Although the biggest groups were Sunni and Shi’ite, there were also Druze groups, Armenian Groups, Maronite groups and Secular groups involved in this war.

8. The Crusades


The Crusades is just a catch-all title for the multiple religious wars and fights that were fought between Muslims and Christians. These wars were due to the religious disputes and controls over land in Jerusalem. The first war started in 1095 and lasted until 1097, where as the second war was started in 1097 and continued till 1127. Along with many other wars, it all stopped in 1303 when both war soldiers shed blood of more than half a million civilians in the fight and the control of that land was given to the Christians.

7. Second Sudanese Civil war

Second Sudanese Civil war
Although the first war was stopped years ago, there were some conflicts left on both sides, and those differences once again forced the same two groups to fight for their rights in the Sudanese land. The Second Sudanese Civil War started in 1983 and it lasted up to 2005. During this time, more than 2 million people died in the war and most of them were civilians.

6. First Sudanese Civil War


This religious war is also referred to as the Anyanya I, because of the rebels who participated in the war. It was fought on the Sudan borders in between the military of Sudan and the Anyanya guerrilla forces. It’s a rough estimate that about 10,000 soldiers participated from both sides, and that it lasted for more than 16 years, starting from 1955 and ending at 1972. It was only fought because of ethnic and religious difference between Muslims and Christians. The worst thing about the First Sudanese Civil War is that, by the time it was over, there were already more than half a million deaths of soldiers and civilians.

5. German Peasants’ War

German Peasants’ War
This was is, also known as the Great Peasants’ Revolt, was fought in German-speaking areas of Europe, between the Peasant army and Swabian League. German Peasants’ war started in 1524, when King of France implemented different taxes on the Dutch churches, as compared to the French churches, and the rules for Dutch Catholics were also different. This fight resulted in the killing of more than 200,000 poor farmers and untrained soldiers. At the end, in 1525, the war was stopped and all the participants were hanged till death.

4. Nigerian Civil War

Nigerian Civil War
Biafran war was also one of the most lethal wars in history, that was fought because of religious and ethnic disputes and conflicts in the land of Nigeria. This war was fought between Igbo of Southern Nigeria and Hausas of Northern Nigeria, for more than 2 years in between July 6, 1967 and January 15, 1970. More than 100,000 soldiers participated from the Igbo provinces and about 30,000 soldiers were from Biafran areas. In the end, it left more than 1 million deaths including the soldiers and the civilians. There were many other religions involved in this war but mainly it was between Muslims and Christians.

3. French Wars Of Religion

French Wars Of Religion
French Wars Of Religion is not a single fight; there were many short period religious wars in between the 1562 and 1598. These wars were fought by Protestants and French Catholics. The fighting period ended in 1598, when the Huguenots or Protestants were granted the freedom and civil rights. There is no authentication to verify exactly how many wars were fought in this period and the real number of deaths in each war. Historians are still researching those details.

2. Thirty Years’ War

Thirty Years’ War
Thirty Years’ War is a series of religious wars, that were fought in between 1618 to 1648 in Europe, and at that time, most of the European countries participated in these wars. This period of wars is the longest and most demolishing period of fighting in the history of the world that left more than 800,000 deaths including soldiers and civilians. These short period wars were also fought between the religious conflicts in between the Holy Roman Empire, France, Sweden and Spain.

1. Eighty Years’ War

Eighty Years’ War
Eighty Years’ War, also known as independent war of Dutch, was fought from 1568 to 1648, and it was fought in The Low Countries between the Dutch and the Spanish people. This was a victory for the Dutch, as they got their own Dutch Republic. The key reason, behind this 80 years long war, was that Spain’s emperors implemented different religious rules in the entire Spanish dynasty, including the provinces where Dutch were in majority.


  1. Pooja

    January 18, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks, I just got to know some amazing facts about the world history.

  2. redrobin

    February 27, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    what about WWII

    • Claudiu Ciungan

      May 9, 2018 at 12:11 am

      Interesting. Would you care to elaborate?
      Are you referring to the hate demonstrated towards Jews?
      I don’t want to belittle what happened to those of Jewish faith, but I think it’s safe to say that WW2 was started due to the fact that, after WW1, the treaty of Versailles really crippled Germany.

  3. Sadie DeSimone

    November 17, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Excellent article! Just what I wanted to find to give some background on religious wars.

  4. Geoff Cass

    November 20, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    So very many wars, all fgought because of a difference of opinion regarding religion. Now we have another religion-based war, one that has klilled many times more than any of the others.
    Makes opne wonder just what God actually has in miond.

    • Kim

      November 26, 2018 at 1:21 am

      It’s not what “God” has in mind, it’s what mankind has in mind. “God” didn’t create religions. Mankind did. Mankind, for the most part, does not know “God” so it creates religions to have something to believe in.

    • Ola

      December 8, 2018 at 11:15 am

      The Lebanese civil war was not fought just between the sunnies and the shiites, in fact the Christians played a big role in the civil war. And there’s also the druz and the Jews.

      • Claudiu Ciungan

        December 9, 2018 at 12:21 am

        Thank you Ola for your comment. While I can only write a short description of each war, I’ve added another paragraph to the Lebanese war, so that I can give a bit more information on it.

        • Ola

          December 23, 2018 at 7:46 am

          Thank you.. Another thing, never in the Lebanese history did a war between the shiites and sunnies take place. There are many fights in the media between them but never like a civil war. Interestingly, the shiites and the sunnies during the Civil War were on the same side. The civil war was mainly between the Christians and Muslims. The Palestinians played a very important role in the civil war. At first it was mainly the Palestinian refugees supported by the Muslims against the Christians… I hope you find those useful.

          • Ola

            December 25, 2018 at 8:15 am

            Please change what you have written, because it is wrong.

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