When Spain’s King Alfonso XII travelled to France in 1883, a mob of rowdy Parisians insulated the visiting monarch.
While the incident did little to sour official relations between Madrid and the French government, for some reason the mayor of the tiny Spanish mountain village of Lijar considered the affair an unpardonable affront to the nation’s honour. And if his government wasn’t going to demand satisfaction, Mayor Miguel Garcia Saez sure as hell would.
Together with 300 of his fellow citizens, on October 14 Saez declared war on France. In fact, the document formally declaring war is still on display in the town hall.
Nothing much came of the conflict. It’s unclear if the government of France knew or even cared that the people of the remote Andalusian town were up in arms over the slight to Alfonso’s dignity. After the all, the village was more than 800 kms from the border with France and even today the town barely shows up on Google Earth.
With no standing army of their own, few weapons and provisions and no means to get at hated French, The Lijarians soon lost interest in the war and went back farming barley and tending their olive groves. No shots were fired in the war, not a single casualty was sustained. About the only thing to come of the war was that it elevated the status of Mayor Saez throughout the region. He was soon dubbed “The Terror of the Sierras”. Despite this, a state of war existed for the next hundred years between France and Lijar.
In the 1970, following a much more friendly reception for Spanish King Juan Carlos by Parisians, Lijar’s more level-headed mayor Diego Sanchez Cortes tried to formally mend fences with the French. His overtures were all but ignored by France’s government. But then in the early 80s, the French embassy sent a diplomat from Madrid to Lijar to formally negotiate a peace treaty. ”We are pleased that hostilities will come to a formal end soon,” the diplomat was quoted as saying. “We are all rather amused.”