113 Years War

BBC: Scots bid to win back border town
Fresh calls are being made for the Northumberland town of Berwick to become part of Scotland again. The town, which lies about a mile from the border, has changed hands between the two countries a number of times. Now the leader of the Scottish Borders Council, David Parker, says he would like to see a referendum for people in the town to decide.

Yes, Berwick-upon-Tweed's ever-changing nationality was the cause of one of the longest wars in history: the great Berwicko-Russian War (1853–1966). As is explained on the Undiscovered Scotland website:

Even Henry VII's final capture of the town in 1482 didn't entirely simplify matters. Under the Treaty of Perpetual Peace between Henry VII of England and James IV of Scotland in 1502 (just 11 years before the Scottish army and nobility was destroyed by the English at the Battle of Flodden) Berwick was given a special status as being "of" the Kingdom of England but not "in" it. As a result the town thereafter needed special mention in royal proclamations.

This had one odd effect. When Queen Victoria signed the declaration of war on Russia in 1853, she did so in the name of "Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, Ireland, Berwick-upon-Tweed and the British Dominions beyond the sea." But Berwick was not mentioned in the Treaty of Paris that concluded the Crimean War in 1856, leaving the town technically still at war with Russia.

A peace treaty was only finally signed by a Russian diplomat and the the Mayor of Berwick in 1966. As the mayor said at the time: "You can tell the Russian people that they can now sleep peacefully in their beds".

Filed under: Nonsense

By Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.

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