Civil Wars List

List of British Civil Wars

There are an awful lot of British Civil Wars, mainly in the 17th & 18th centuries (there are more before that, but we didn’t properly become British until the union of the crowns in 1603).

This page is an attempt to provide a list of all the civil wars in the British Isles, or involving British people on both sides in significant numbers. The period to be covered is 1603 until the end of the 20th Century.

Here are some examples of British Civil Wars, more will be added as they are identified:

  • The Bishops Wars (1638 & 1639, mainly in Scotland)
  • First, Second & Third Civil Wars (1640-1649)
  • Commonwealth campaigns in Scotland & Ireland (1650-58)
  • Suppression of the Covenanters (1670s & 1680s)
  • Monmouth’s rebellion (1685)
  • The Glorious Revolution (1688-92)
  • Jacobite Rebellions (many, including 1708, 1715, 1719 & 1745)
  • American Revolution (1775-1783) [they were all British until they decided not to be]
  • 1798 Irish Rebellion

Defining British Civil Wars

For the purpose of this list of British Civil Wars only armed conflicts involving military units count as wars. To further bound whether this is a British civil war then both sides need to have formed units of British subjects/citizens/residents and that the British element needs to be in the majority on both sides.


British is used as an umbrella term to cover those ordinarily under the authority of the Crown. So the three kingdoms of Ireland, Scotland and England (the last including Wales). It also covers the overseas colonies, dominions and territories, but not where those native to those places have attempted to fight back against British rule (those are imperial wars rather than civil wars in my book).


All wars between British forces and other nation states or criminal or terrorist groups are excluded from the definition.

Civil disobedience, rioting and political struggles are also excluded (at least up to the point where the non-government side starts to form military units).