The Village of Lijar Versus France
In November of 1983, a war that had been raging for 100 years finally came to an end. However, it was a conflict that caused precisely zero casualties and one which hardly anyone even knew was being fought in the first place. The belligerents? The nation of France and the tiny Spanish town of Vijar. This truly was a real David versus Goliath story, albeit one where David never had to back up his bravado with any real fighting.
This quirky episode from history began in October 1883, when King Alfonso XII of Spain was visiting Paris. Word reached Spain that their monarch had been insulted by a braying mob while in the French capital. The nation was shocked and offended. But King Alfonso himself did not want to make a diplomatic incident out of the minor affair. Not so the people of Lijar, a small town in the province of Almeria, in the south of Spain. The town’s mayor, a man named Miguel Garcia, felt he had to take a stand and so he declared war on France.
Citing the people’s resistance to Napoleon a century before, the major declared that his small village was “worth more than 10,000 Frenchmen”. Fired by his rhetoric, the people of Lijar agreed with their leader and voted unanimously to back the declaration of war. They told the Spanish government of their decision and asked that Madrid inform their counterparts in Paris.
Quite whether the message was passed on to the French leaders is another matter entirely. Certainly, it doesn’t seem to have bothered France. Over the years, not a single shot was fired or a single prisoner was taken by either side. In fact, the war was only kept alive by the people of Lijar, with fathers informing sons of the conflict. However, 100 years after it started, the townsfolk decided to extend the olive branch and call a unanimous ceasefire. France could once again breathe easy, safe in the knowledge that a community of just 580 people had no intention of invading.