For example, France invaded Mexico (both times) when Mexico stopped some of their payments. What are some other examples?

  • 5
    whoa.. are we creating a list here?
    – Louis Rhys
    Oct 13, 2011 at 17:39
  • 4
    Yes, we are. Many other stackexchange sites have questions that are asked with an intent to create a big list (they are usually tagged appropriately). Oct 13, 2011 at 17:44
  • 1
    ok. Let's tag it as such and why don't you make it CW?
    – Louis Rhys
    Oct 13, 2011 at 17:46
  • How exactly do you make it a CW? The only way I know is if you edit it like 14 times.
    – Daniel
    Oct 13, 2011 at 17:50
  • 2
    The author now cannot mark his questions as CW (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/67039/…). Oct 13, 2011 at 17:51

4 Answers 4


According to this link, there are a few examples:

  • France vs Mexico, 1863
  • Britain vs Egypt, 1882
  • Germany/Britain/Italy vs Venezuela, 1902-03 (naval blockade)
  • US vs Dominican Republic, 1905 (revenue arrestment)
  • US vs Nicaragua, 1911 (revenue arrestment)

In a handful of famous cases, official intervention went beyond diplomatic pressure or threat of sanctions (Lipson 1985, 1989; Suter 1992; Suter and Stamm 1992; Mitchener and Weidenmier 2005). In 1863, France, initially supported by Spain and Britain, invaded Mexico after the republican regime of Benito Juarez refused to honor Mexico’s debt service obligations, briefly installing the Austrian archduke Maximilian as emperor. (Maximilian was dethroned and executed in 1867, after which Mexico repudiated for good.) In 1882, Britain invaded Egypt, which had defaulted in 1876 and whose public finances were already under the control of a Franco-British debt administration council. Venezuela suffered a maritime blockade by Germany, Britain, and Italy in 1902–1903 after Venezuela did not resume debt service payments after the end of its civil war. Finally, U.S. Marines were sent to the Dominican Republic (1905) and Nicaragua (1911) to take over customs revenues following attempted defaults.

It is worth reading further, particularly around the points that these state inteventions had wider political motives than just about enforcing private debt repayments.


That's roughly how Egypt ended up part of the British Empire. They owed a bunch of money to England, didn't like being forced to pay, and tried to depose the government. The Brits didn't like that, and invaded. Note this is a rather simplistic (and thus eminiently debatable) explanation. See Wikipedia's entry on the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War for a deeper discussion.

  • 1
    Didn't the Romans do an almost similar thing to Egypt long ago?
    – Apoorv
    Nov 24, 2012 at 0:55
  • 1
    @ApoorvKhurasia Not really. Jan 8, 2017 at 16:01

In 1923 the French and the Belgians occupied the Ruhr in Germany as a direct result of Germany repeatedly (and perhaps deliberately, to test French will) defaulting on reparation payments which were written into the Versailles Treaty.

Although not a "war", German civilians conducted a policy of passive resistance and several dozen were killed.

The occupation lasted two years, during which new terms were hammered out. In terms of its effectiveness, it rather backfired.

  • Well, speaking of "deliberately" when talking about 1923 in Germany is somewhat stretched. Oct 14, 2011 at 10:18
  • 2
    Since they had hyperinflation anyway, what was the point of not paying? Couldn't they just print a bunch more money, while they were at it? (or was the tribute adjusted to inflation?)
    – o0'.
    Apr 5, 2012 at 9:03
  • 2
    @Lohoris, the reparations were priced in German Gold marks. That is, they were tied to the price of gold. Simply printing more money wouldn't do any good.
    – Joe
    Jul 3, 2012 at 1:24
  • the payments were also in part to be in manufactured goods and raw materials. Coal, iron, lumber, the production of which was draining the area bare (deliberately, the French treated the Ruhr area exactly like they treated their African colonies, except those didn't have the means to create an armed force to oppose them and eventually revert the balance of power).
    – jwenting
    Feb 5, 2013 at 7:15

Invasion of Kuwait by Iraq may be the most recent example of a war, between 2 countries due to non-payment.

In 1982–1983, Kuwait began sending significant financial aid to Iraq. However, after the war ended, the friendly relations between the two neighbouring Arab countries turned sour

By the time the Iran–Iraq War ended, Iraq was not in a financial position to repay the US$14 billion it borrowed from Kuwait and requested that Kuwait forgive the debt.

However, Kuwait's reluctance to pardon the debt created strains in the relationship between the two countries, which ultimately lead to war.

Of course, there are other reasons too due to which Iraq went to War, beside the non-payment.
Iraq alleged that Kuwait was slant-drilling across the international border into Iraq's Rumaila field.
In 1989, Iraq accused Kuwait of using "advanced drilling techniques" to exploit oil from its share of the Rumaila field, although several foreign firms working in the Rumaila field dismissed Iraq's slant-drilling claims

  • I'm not convinced that non-payment was a direct cause of the war in this case. It may have been a contributing factor to poor relations but I think that Iraq's territorial ambitions would have led to other excuses even if the debt had been forgiven.
    – Steve Bird
    Oct 14, 2017 at 22:22
  • @SteveBird you are right. it is certainly not the only reason, but one of the possible reasons Oct 14, 2017 at 22:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.