There have been a lot of dumb things countries have fought over. You might think entire nations wouldn't have petty disputes like two suburban dads passive-aggressively trying to stick it to their neighbor - let's just see what the Homeowner's Association has to say about that new Ficus, Bob - but you would be wrong. So wrong. Some of the silliest disputes in history have been between two or more countries.
There are plenty of weird reasons countries have gone to war. There have been disputes over the proper ownership of a camel (yes, one camel), soccer hooligans, somewhat unsurprisingly, causing an actual war between El Salvador and Honduras, and golden stools up for grabs. Check out this list of weird historical disputes and vote up the craziest things countries have fought over.
Britain and Spain Went to War Over Some Dude's Ear
The War of Jenkins's Ear was over, you guessed it, Jenkins's ear. In 1739, the British wanted to spur popular opinion against the Spanish. In order to increase their trade advantage in the Caribbean and pressure the Spanish into continuing to allow the British to sell slaves in Spanish America, they decided to go to war. But how could they justify that?
Luckily, eight years earlier, the Spanish boarded a British ship and for some reason cut off the ear of Robert Jenkins, the vessel's captain. Jenkins appeared before the British Parliament with his severed ear and the British used it as reason enough to go to war with Spain for the next nine years.
Spain and Peru Fought Over Some (Literal) Sh*t
In 1864, Spain wanted to punish Peru for not apologizing when four Spanish nationals were hurt in a brawl in Peru the previous year, so they decided to hit Peru where it hurts. At the time, Peru's major export was guano - better known as animal poop. Specifically, it's the poop of seabirds, seals, and bats, and it makes a great fertilizer. In order to punish Peru, the Spanish sent their ships to take over the Chincha Islands, a group of islands that provided so much guano it accounted for 60 percent of the income of the government of Peru. That's some worthwhile crap. Needless to say, Peru declared war.
A Camel Caused a 40-Year War
The Al-Basus War has become synonymous with the pitfalls of vengeance. The war lasted years and it was over a camel. One solitary, spitting camel. The camel belonged to Al-Basus, and in 494 CE, it wandered off into the neighbor's yard to play with their herd of camel. The neighbor, a member of the Taghlib tribe of the Arabian Peninsula, had no idea someone else's camel was in his herd and he managed to kill the escaped camel. Al-Basus went to the leader of her tribe and he promptly killed the chief of the Taghlib tribe. Thus began a 40-year war over one camel.
The US and Britain Nearly Went to War Over a Dead Pig
In 1859 both the United States and Britain believed that they had the right to San Juan Island. So the British Hudson Bay Company began working on the island and several Americans settled there. One day a pig from the Hudson Bay Company wandered onto the land of one the American settlers and started eating his potatoes. The settler shot the pig. The Hudson Bay Company demanded compensation. British authorities then threatened the settler, who called for American military protection. Both sides prepared for a battle but neither was willing to fire the first shot over a pig... so eventually both Britain and the US decided to have a military presence remain on the island peacefully.