There've been many wars in which the side known as the "North" conquered the one known as the "South", e.g.:

  • Three Kingdoms period in China: the Northern kingdom conquered the two Southern ones
  • The Northern & Southern dynasties period in China also ended with a Northern dynasty conquering the South
  • Vietnam War: North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam
  • American Civil War: the Union ("North") conquered the Confederacy ("South")
  • Korean War: Stalemate

I'm curiously unable to think of a war which ended in a Southern victory. Has there been such a war?

To clarify: I'm most interested for North vs. South wars here. An event such as Germany's conquest of Norway in WW2, although it is a case of a Southern invader conquering a Northern country, isn't actually a North vs. South war, because it's multi-front (there was also an Eastern front, a Western front, etc).

  • 7
    Edward I's Invasion of Scotland might be considered a victory of the south over the north, albeit brief. Jan 29, 2019 at 18:48
  • 1
    @sempaiscuba: The English conquest and occupation of Scotland, from 1296 to the present. was brief? What would you consider prolonged?
    – jamesqf
    Jan 30, 2019 at 5:38
  • 2
    @jamesqf '... occupation of Scotland, from 1296 to the present'? You might like to look up the Battle of Bannockburn, and the Wars of Scottish Independence. ;-) Jan 30, 2019 at 5:42
  • 1
    Is this a GOT question?
    – John Dee
    Jan 31, 2019 at 0:13
  • 1
    @Allure maybe a reference to the Game Of Throne saga ?
    – Evargalo
    Jan 31, 2019 at 9:41

5 Answers 5


King Narmer is credited with unifying Ancient Egypt. The Upper Kingdom (South) conquered the Lower Kingdom (North)

  • 1
    On the subject of the Egyptians, the Hebrews ostensibly conquered Canaan from the south upon their return to the Holy Land.
    – lly
    Feb 29, 2020 at 4:39

The Muslim Arabs conquered the Persian (Sasanian) empire and the largest part of the Byzantine empire.

The Romans conquered Gaul, and later Britain.

  • Those weren't referred to as "north" and "south" though were they?
    – Allure
    Jan 29, 2019 at 19:06
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    @LangLangC. The siege (not conquest) of Vienna was the work of the Ottoman Turks, very much later.
    – fdb
    Jan 29, 2019 at 19:06
  • 2
    That's a good point. The final configuration of the Muslim world was east-west in orientation, so its easy to forget it all started this way.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 29, 2019 at 19:11
  • 1
    On the subject of Britain, the Normans started from the south and harried the north. Royalist support was also more concentrated in the north during the English Civil War.
    – lly
    Feb 29, 2020 at 4:37

Yes. The Kushites of the upper (more inland, or southern) Nile valley.

The Kushites certainly did their time as Egyptian vassals themselves. However, sometime around 727 BCE they invaded Egypt, starting an 80 year period where they ruled the country as the 25th Dynasty.

Maximum extent of Kush in 700 BC

Maximum extent of Kush in 700 BC.

While not as extreme as this, it was also fairly common for upper Egypt to conquer the lower (more north) Nile valley whenever the two became divided for whatever reason. Its possible this is due to its relatively secure location. With the desert all around, its rather difficult to march on Thebes without coming up or down the Nile, whereas cities near the delta like Memphis were exposed to overland invasions, and were thus invaded repeatedly by their eastern neighbors.

(Portions of this answer cribbed from my answer to this question)


The Austro-Prussian invasion of Denmark in 1864 during the Second Schleswig War:

The war ended on 30 October 1864, with the Treaty of Vienna and Denmark's cession of the Duchies of Schleswig (except for the island of Ærø, which remained Danish), Holstein and Saxe-Lauenburg to Prussia and Austria.

Before and during the South African Wars (1879–1915) the attackers coming from the South went North, winning, conquering, incorporating:

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To summarise the Peloponnesian War: Southerly Sparta conquered Athens.

The Saxon Wars, also called the Saxon War or Saxon Uprising (not to be confused with the Saxon Rebellion of 1073-75), were the campaigns and insurrections of the thirty-three years from 772, when Charlemagne first entered Saxony with the intent to conquer, to 804, when the last rebellion of disaffected tribesmen was crushed.

Two Islamic expansions would also be noted. First coming from Africa to Spain:

Ṭāriq ibn Ziyād (Arabic: طارق بن زياد‎) was a Muslim commander who led the Islamic Umayyad conquest of Visigothic Hispania in 711–718 A.D. Under the orders of the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I he led a large army and crossed the Strait of Gibraltar from the North African coast, consolidating his troops at what is today known as the Rock of Gibraltar. The name "Gibraltar" is the Spanish derivation of the Arabic name Jabal Ṭāriq (جبل طارق), meaning "mountain of Ṭāriq",1 which is named after him.

And from the East again, going North into Europe, mainly Greece and the Balkans:

Rumelia, Wars in Albania, Conquest of Bosnia, Croatian–Ottoman wars, Conquest of central parts of Hungarian Kingdom, Wallachian and Moldavian campaigns, Conquest of the Kingdom of Hungary

  • Germany also conquered Denmark during WWII. They kept going and took Norway as well.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 29, 2019 at 19:26
  • @T.E.D. I presumed that (+Norway) to be too transient for counts (Q: "ended")? Jan 29, 2019 at 19:28
  • Fair enough. Looking over all the answers here, you certainly had a plethora of more impactful alternatives to go with.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 29, 2019 at 19:31

The Romans conquered Gaul, parts of Germany and along the Danube.

The Mongols conquered most of Russia.

Ayutthaya Thais conquered the Lanna kingdom in the north (Chiang Mai)

The Japanese conquered Manchuria and parts of China.

Nazi Germany conquered in Operation Weserübung Denmark and Norway.

There is no particular reason why 'southern' countries cannot conquer 'northern' countries.

  • Two of those are more east to west movements.
    – lly
    Feb 29, 2020 at 4:40

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