19th Century Wars

During the 19th century, United States fought in a number of wars. These were fought against various enemies. Some were waged against Native Americans who opposed the Westward expansion of the country.

Others were fought against European powers such as Spain and Britain. America also fought against Mexico during the century. The wars that took place during this period shaped the country and forged it as a great military power.

The most notable wars of the period include the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Other small-scale wars were also fought from 1801 to 1900.

American Civil War Overview

American Civil War - Confederate States (South) and Union States (North) Read more about the American Civil War Overview >>

Battle of Little Bighorn 1876

The battle took place near the Little Bighorn River in Big Horn County, Montana. Read more about the Battle of Little Bighorn 1876 >>

Famous Battles List

The Battle of Little Bighorn is one of the most iconic battles of 19th century America Read more about the Famous Battles List >>

Great Sioux War of 1876

The Great Sioux War comprised of a number of battles and minor engagements between the two sides Read more about the Great Sioux War of 1876 >>

Las Cuevas War 1875

The Las Cuevas War was fought in the Tamaulipas area of Mexico - November 20, 1875 Read more about the Las Cuevas War 1875 >>

Mexican American War 1846

The Mexican-American War of 1846 took place over the issue of Texas which was made the 28th state of U.S.A Read more about the Mexican American War 1846 >>

Nez Perce War 1877

The Nez Perce War 1877 was fought in the modern-day states of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Read more about the Nez Perce War 1877 >>

Philippine American War

The Philippine-American War began on February 4, 1899. It came to an end on July 2, 1902. Read more about the Philippine American War >>

Red Cloud’s War 1866

Red Cloud's War was a conflict between an alliance of Native American tribes and the U.S. government Read more about the Red Cloud’s War 1866 >>

Red River War 1874

The Red River War started in June 1874 when a group of Indian warriors attacked an outpost of white buffalo hunters Read more about the Red River War 1874 >>

Spanish-American War 1898

The Spanish-American War began on April 25, 1898. It came to an end on August 12, 1898. Read more about the Spanish-American War 1898 >>

War of 1812

American forces attacked a British colony in Canada in 1812. It was a failed attack with British forces defeating American soldiers. Read more about the War of 1812 >>

Wounded Knee Massacre 1890

The Wounded Knee Massacre took place at the Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota Read more about the Wounded Knee Massacre 1890 >>

Native Americans Wars in 19th Century

A large number of wars took place between Native Americans and the American forces during the 19th century these included:

    • Tecumseh’s War
    • Creek War
    • Seminole Wars
    • Black Hawk War
    • Cayuse War
    • Dakota War of 1862
    • Colorado War
    • Red Cloud’s War
    • Comanche War
    • Black Hills War
    • Nez Perce War

Warfare against Native Americans was generally meant to remove the Native Indians from their territories and relocate them to federal reservations.


This was necessitated by the steady expansion of the United States towards the west. Through these wars, Native American tribes from the American south, east, and Midwest were displaced.

Tribes in other regions were also deprived of their territories and moved to federal reservations.

19th Century Wars against Britain

The United States fought in a number of wars against Britain during the 19th century. Britain had a strong presence in North America, especially Canada, even after the United States was born.

It also had a formidable naval power that dominated the Atlantic waters. Early in the 19th century, the War of 1812 was fought between Britain and the United States.

The issue of contention was the forced impressment of American vessels and sailors by the Royal British navy.

Another war fought between the two nations was the Aroostook War which was fought in 1838 – 1839. The ‘Pig War’ was another military conflict between UK and US that took place in 1859.

Aroostook and Pig wars were bloodless conflicts. Both sides showed off their military strength but didn’t actually engage in any fighting.

American Civil War

The largest war that took place in 19th century America was the American Civil War.

This war was fought between the Northern states and the Southern states. The issue of contention was slavery. Southern states, called the Confederacy, supported slavery and broke away from the Union.

The Northern States, called the Union, opposed slavery and were led by Abraham Lincoln. The Civil War raged from 1861 to 1865.

It sped up the military organization, weaponry, and inventions in the country. In the end, the Union forces were victorious and slavery was permanently abolished.

Spanish-American War

Another major 19th-century conflict that involved the United States was the Spanish-American War.

This war started over the issue of Cuban Independence – the United States intervened on the side of the Cubans and against Spanish colonial rule. The war took place from April to August 1898.

During this period, Spain was decisively defeated. Overseas territories of the Spanish Empire such as Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines were taken over by the United States.

The war launched the United States as an imperial power and brought an end to the Spanish overseas empire