List of blockades

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The list of historical blockades informs about blockades that were carried out either on land, or in the maritime and air spaces in the effort to defeat opponents through denial of supply, usually to cause military exhaustion and starvation as an economic blockade in addition to restricting movement of enemy troops.

Ancient era[edit]

Opponents Blockader Conflict Details
458-457 BCE Aegina (Saronic Gulf) Athens First Peloponnesian War
431–404 BCE Athens Sparta Peloponnesian War Spartan forces surrounded Athens on land. Athens withstood the landward attack, and subsisted on food imported by ship. In the Battle of Aegospotami, the Spartan navy destroyed the Athenian navy and implemented a sea blockade, forcing Athens to surrender.[1]
31 BCE Supporters of Mark Antony

Ptolemaic Egypt

Supporters of Octavian War of the Second Triumvirate

(Battle of Actium)

Octavian blockaded Mark Antony's ships in the Gulf of Actium.

Medieval era[edit]

Blockaded Territory Blockader Conflict Details
1068-1071  Byzantine Empire Robert Guiscard Norman conquest of southern Italy Robert Guiscard's Norman forces blockaded Byzantine cities in southern Italy, most notably in the siege of Bari.
1084 Norman-occupied Corfu  Byzantine Empire


Byzantine-Norman Wars After the Normans occupied Corfu, Emperor Alexios I Komnenos blockaded the island with Venetian naval support gained in exchange for commercial privileges.
1102  Jerusalem  Fatimid Caliphate Crusades
1104-1108 Tripoli  Jerusalem






Siege of Tripoli Blockade of the Lebanese coast leading by the Outremer and Genoa leading to the establishment of the County of Tripoli
1110 Sidon Norway Norwegian Crusade
1337 Cadzand, Flanders England Hundred Years' War
1379-1380  Venice  Genoa War of Chioggia
1394-1402 Constantinople, Byzantine Empire  Ottoman Empire Byzantine–Ottoman wars Ottoman blockade of Constantinople[2]

Early-modern era[edit]

Duration of Blockade Blockaded Territory Blockader Conflict Details
1585-1792 Antwerp, Spanish Netherlands

(later Austrian Netherlands)

 Dutch Republic Aftermath of Eighty Years' War
1601 Banten  Portuguese Empire Dutch–Portuguese War
1639-1646 Spanish Netherlands  Dutch Republic Thirty Years' War
1653  Dutch Republic  England First Anglo-Dutch War
1656-1657  Venice  Ottoman Empire


Cretan War
1775-1778 Thirteen Colonies

( United States from 1776 onwards)

 Great Britain American Revolutionary War The British Empire declared the American colonies to be in a state of rebellion after the First Continental Congress and refused to recognize their Declaration of Independence. The blockade ended with the Treaty of Paris recognizing U.S. independence and ending the war.
1788–1790  Sweden  Russia Second Russo-Swedish War
1793–1797  France  Great Britain War of the First Coalition
1794 Dutch East Indies

British East India Company

1797  Spain  Great Britain Anglo-Spanish War
1798-1802  France  Great Britain  Portugal


 Ottoman Empire


Order of St. John

War of the Second Coalition
1798-1800 French-occupied Egypt
1798–1800 French-occupied Malta
1801  Denmark-Norway  Great Britain
1806-1814  France  United Kingdom Napoleonic Wars
 United Kingdom  France and its client states
1808-1809  Russia  Sweden Finnish War
1808-1813  Denmark-Norway  United Kingdom


Dano-Swedish War of 1808–09

Gunboat War

1812-1845  United States  United Kingdom War of 1812
1807-1866 Africa  United Kingdom United States (after 1841) Blockade of Africa The blockade suppressed the Atlantic slave trade.
1825-1828 Rio de la Plata  Brazil Cisplatine War

Modern era[edit]

Duration of Blockade Blockaded Territory Blockader Conflict Details
1838-1840 Rio de la Plata, Argentine Confederation  France War of the Confederation
1840 Kingdom of the Two Sicilies  United Kingdom Sulphur Crisis
1845-1850 Rio de la Plata, Argentine Confederation  France

 United Kingdom

Uruguayan Civil War
1846-1848  Mexico  United States Mexican-American War
1848-1851 Germany  Denmark First Schleswig War
1854–1856  Russia  United Kingdom


 Ottoman Empire

Crimean War
1861-1865  Confederate States  United States American Civil War
1854–1856  Chile  Spain Chincha Islands War
1894-1895  China  Japan First Sino-Japanese War
1897 Constantinople, Ottoman Empire Great Powers
1898 Spanish Cuba

San Juan, Spanish Puerto Rico

 United States Spanish-American War
1902-1903  Venezuela  United Kingdom



Venezuelan crisis of 1902–1903
1914-1919  Germany


 Ottoman Empire


 British Empire



 United States

World War I and its aftermath

Included mainly Germany but also the entire Central Powers. The Allied blockade of Germany continued for a year after the Armistice until it signed the Treaty of Versailles.[3]

1915-1918 Lebanon  Ottoman Empire Middle Eastern theatre of World War I [4]
1936 Spanish Morocco Spain Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Republican Navy blockaded the Strait of Gibraltar to hamper the transport of Francisco Franco's Army of Africa to Peninsular Spain

1936-1939 Republican-controlled Spain Nationalist faction The Nationalists blockaded northern and southeastern Spain
1937-1945 China  Japan Second Sino-Japanese War
1939-1945  Nazi Germany and its occupied territories

 Fascist Italy (after 1940)

 Vichy France and its colonies (after 1940)

 United Kingdom


 France (until 1940)

 Soviet Union (after 1941)

 United States (after 1941)

World War II

The Allied Powers carried out a blockade to prevent the Axis Powers from acquiring materials. Although the blockade was initially ineffective due to the use of neutral ports in the Soviet Union and Francoist Spain, it grew more severe when the Soviet Union and the United States entered the war in 1941 and when the Germans lost control of their occupied territories in France and Eastern Europe in 1944.

1940-1945  United Kingdom

 Soviet Union

 Nazi Germany

The Nazi German Kriegsmarine attempted to block shipping to Britain and Russia through the use of U-boats.

1941-1945 Leningrad, Soviet Union Eastern Front of World War II
1944-1945  Japan  United States

 British Empire

Pacific Front of World War II
1948 Changchun, Republic of China Chinese Red Army Chinese Civil War Changchun was one of the largest cities in Manchuria and was a strategic ROC Army base in Northeast China. The fall of the city led to Communist victory in the Liaoshen campaign.
1948-1949  West Berlin  Soviet Union Berlin Blockade The Soviet occupation forces in Germany blockaded West Berlin at the beginning of the Cold War, but it became ineffective due to an American-led airlift.
1949–1958  Mainland China  Taiwan Cross-Strait conflict
1950-1953  North Korea  South Korea

 United States

United Nations Command

Korean War
1956 Israel  Egypt Suez Crisis Egypt blockaded the Straits of Tiran before the Suez Crisis.
1962  Cuba  United States Cuban Missile Crisis The United States declared a "quarantine" of Cuba in reaction to the deployment of Soviet nuclear missiles.
1965-1975  North Vietnam  United States

 South Vietnam

Vietnam War
1966–1975  Rhodesia  United Kingdom Beira Patrol The British government, along with most of the international community, did not recognize Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence due to its policy of no independence before majority rule.
1967  Israel  Egypt Six-Day War Egypt resumed its blockade of the Straits of Tiran shortly before the war. Israel responded by invading and occupying the Sinai Peninsula.
1971 East Pakistan  India Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
1973  Israel  Egypt Yom Kippur War
 Egypt  Israel
1982  Falkland Islands

(Occupied by  Argentina making it Argentina Islas Malvinas)

 United Kingdom Falklands War
1982-2000  Lebanon  Israel 1982 Lebanon War

South Lebanon conflict

The blockade was first imposed during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. However, it was sporadically renewed after the Israel Defense Force was forced to withdraw to the South Lebanon security belt due to its continuing conflict with Hezbollah.
1990-2003  Ba'athist Iraq  United Nations

 United States

 United Kingdom


Gulf War

Iraq disarmament crisis

Enforcement of sanctions against Iraq. The U.S. Air Force, the Royal Air Force, and the French Air Force also enforced no-fly zones in the northern and southern halves of the country.
1990  Lithuania  Soviet Union Singing Revolution

The Soviet government refused to recognize Lithuania's independence.

1992-1993  Croatia  Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Croatian War of Independence Yugoslavia refused to recognize Croatia's independence. The Yugoslav Navy blockaded the Adriatic coast until it was defeated by Croatian artillery in the Battle of the Dalmatian Channels.
1993-1996  Federal Republic of Yugoslavia  North Atlantic Treaty Organization United Nations Protection Force Bosnian War

NATO imposed a blockade on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to enforce the UN sanctions on the country and enforced no-fly zones.

1996  Taiwan  Mainland China Third Taiwan Strait Crisis The PRC launched ballistic missiles at ROC territorial waters near the important ports of Keelung and Kaohsiung, forcing lengthy travel and shipping delays. The missile launches were believed to be intended to intimidate the Taiwanese public before the 1996 presidential election.
2001-2007  Australia Maritime protection program to prevent arrivals of unauthorized "boat people."
2006  Lebanon  Israel 2006 Lebanon War
2009 Mullaitivu, Sri Lanka  Sri Lanka
2011 Libya  United Nations Libyan Civil War The U.N. Security Council approved a no-fly zone over Libya.
2015    Nepal  India 2015 Nepal blockade Nepal accused India, on which it is reliant for petroleum and medicine imports, of imposing a blockade.
2017-2021  Qatar  Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates



Qatar diplomatic crisis Several Arab League countries accused Qatar of funding terrorism in violation of a Gulf Cooperation Council agreement. Qatar denied these accusations but Saudi Arabia, Qatar’s only land neighbor, sealed its border, imposing a “land blockade“ and shutting down all land based trade to and from Qatar. Qatar was also criticized for its close relations with Iran and the management of Al Jazeera. Qatar claims it never funded terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, and also shares a strategic alliance with the United States in the War on Terror and the international intervention against ISIL. The conflict was resolved after a diplomatic agreement brokered by the United States and Kuwait.


Start of Blockade Blockaded Territory Blockader Conflict Details
1960  Cuba  USA United States embargo against Cuba The United states uphold multiple types of blockades mostly economical and financial but also regarding travel against Cuba since 1960. Since 1992 the United Nations takes an annual vote to declare the blockade illegal and urges the US to lift it.
1988  Armenia Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh)  Turkey


Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at war since the dissolution of the Soviet Union over the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia is a landlocked country and therefore cannot conduct foreign trade without going through one of its neighbors. Turkey, Armenia’s historic enemy with whom it shares its largest border, is also an ally of Azerbaijan. Turkey has long refused to allow any Armenian trade over its air or land space. Lacking a sizeable enough border with Iran to facilitate major trade means Armenia is effectively dependent on the Republic of Georgia to conduct international trade. In order to avoid disturbing relations with Azerbaijan, Georgia imposes certain limits on Armenian imports.
2007  Gaza Strip  Israel Egypt Gaza–Israel conflict

Israel and Egypt closed all land border crossings to the Gaza Strip after Hamas's takeover and imposed a strict air and sea blockade. Israel claims that the blockade is necessary to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas, while Egypt claims that the blockade is intended to prevent Hamas from undermining the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority's legitimacy.

2015  Yemen  Saudi Arabia

 United Arab Emirates



Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen

After the Houthis overthrew President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi the Saudi government accused it of supporting Iran and blockaded the country. The United States and the United Kingdom provided naval and logistical support. The international community has criticized the blockade for creating a humanitarian crisis in Yemen including famine and a cholera outbreak.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Medlicott, W. N. The Economic Blockade, London: H.M.S.O., 1952.
  • Elleman, Bruce A. and Paine, S.C.M., eds. Naval Blockades and Seapower Strategies and Counter-Strategies, 1805–2005, Routledge, London, 2006.


  1. ^ Boardman, John & Griffin, Jasper & Murray, Oswyn. 2001. The Oxford History of Greece and the Hellenistic World, p. 166. ISBN 0-19-280137-6.
  2. ^ Robert Cowley, Geoffrey Parker. The Reader's Companion to Military History New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. on Google Books.
  3. ^ Osborne, Eric W., Britain's economic blockade of Germany, 1914–1919, Frank Cass, London, 2004, p.230
  4. ^ "World War I" on