List of civil wars

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The Latin term bellum civile was first used of the Roman civil wars that began in the last third of the second century BC.[citation needed] The term civilis here had the very specific meaning of 'Roman citizen'. The English term civil war was first used in 1651 to refer to the English Civil War.[1] Since the 17th century, the term has also been applied retroactively to other historical conflicts where at least one side claims to represent the country's civil society (rather than a feudal dynasty or an imperial power).[2]

The terms internecine war and domestic war are often used interchangeably with 'civil war', but 'internecine war' can be used in a wider meaning, referring to any conflict within a single state, regardless of the participation of civil forces. Thus, any war of succession is by definition an internecine war, but not necessarily a civil war. In modern geopolitics since 1945, 'civil war' is also used in a loose sense to refer to any large scale military conflict within a single country (i.e. used as a strict synonym of the generic term 'internecine war'), creating terminological overlap with insurgencies or coups d'état.[citation needed]

Past civil wars[edit]

Ancient and medieval[edit]

This is a list of intrastate armed conflicts that fulfil the definition set by this article: civil. Note that some conflicts lack both an article or citation. Without citation, they have not been guaranteed to have happened.

Early Modern (1550–1800)[edit]

Modern (1800–1945)[edit]

1945 to 2000[edit]

Ongoing civil wars[edit]

The following civil wars are ongoing as of January 2020. Only ongoing conflicts meeting the definition of a civil war are listed. See list of ongoing military conflicts and lists of active separatist movements for lists with a wider scope.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan: "Sidney Godolphin, who [...] was unfortunately slain in the [...] late Civill warre" (p. 390).
  2. ^ OED: "war between the citizens or inhabitants of a single country, state, or community". Early use of the term in reference to neither the Roman Republic nor the English Civil War include the War in the Vendée (1802) and the civil war in Portugal ( 1835, 1836).
  3. ^ Bøgh, Anders (26 May 2015). "The Civil War periode 1131–1157". (in Danish). Aarhus Universitet. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  4. ^ F. Warner, 1768
  5. ^ Milner-Gulland, R. R.; Dejevsky, Nikolai J. (1989). Atlas of Russia and the Soviet Union. Phaidon atlases of world civilizations. Phaidon. p. 108. ISBN 9780714825496. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 1774 [...] the civil war against Pugachov reached its climax.
  6. ^ "Politics this week:Feb 14th 2002". The Economist. 16 February 2002. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  7. ^ M. Hayden (1992). "Human Rights and the Civil War in Yugoslavia: Morality of Liberal Absolutism". Economic and Political Weekly. 27 (24/25): 1252–1254. JSTOR 4398510.
  8. ^ Igić (March 2002). "The influence of the civil war in Yugoslavia on publishing in peer-reviewed journals". Scientometrics. 53 (3): 447–452. doi:10.1023/A:1014833315145.
  9. ^ Gerrits (1992). "Some Comments on the Civil War in the Yugoslavia". Helsinki Monitor. 3: 54–56. doi:10.1163/157181492x00435.
  10. ^ Van Hook. "Yugoslavian Civil War, 1991–1999". Oxford Bibliographies Online. Retrieved 3 December 2017.