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A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country. The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region or to change government policies. The term is a calque of Latin bellum civile which was used to refer to the various civil wars of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC.

Most modern civil wars involve intervention by outside powers. According to Patrick M. Regan in his book Civil Wars and Foreign Powers (2000) about two thirds of the 138 intrastate conflicts between the end of World War II and 2000 saw international intervention, with the United States intervening in 35 of these conflicts.

A civil war is a high-intensity conflict, often involving regular armed forces, that is sustained, organized and large-scale. Civil wars may result in large numbers of casualties and the consumption of significant resources.

Civil wars since the end of World War II have lasted on average just over four years, a dramatic rise from the one-and-a-half-year average of the 1900–1944 period. While the rate of emergence of new civil wars has been relatively steady since the mid-19th century, the increasing length of those wars has resulted in increasing numbers of wars ongoing at any one time. For example, there were no more than five civil wars underway simultaneously in the first half of the 20th century while there were over 20 concurrent civil wars close to the end of the Cold War. Since 1945, civil wars have resulted in the deaths of over 25 million people, as well as the forced displacement of millions more. Civil wars have further resulted in economic collapse; Somalia, Burma (Myanmar), Uganda and Angola are examples of nations that were considered to have had promising futures before being engulfed in civil wars.

Civil war Media

601,132 media by topicpage 1 of 6012
Lady

Lady

Original Caption: Lady..U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 111-B-1597..From:: Series: Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, (Record Group 111)..Photographer: Brady, Mathew,... more

Civil war in England from BL Royal 16 G VI, f. 427v

Civil war in England from BL Royal 16 G VI, f. 427v

Detail of a miniature of a battle during the Civil War in England. Image taken from f. 427v of Chroniques de France ou de St Denis. Written in French.

Portret van James Hamilton, eerste hertog van Hamilton

Portret van James Hamilton, eerste hertog van Hamilton

James Hamilton, graaf van Aran en eerste hertog van Hamilton. Generaal van het Schotse leger tijdens de Engelse burgeroorlog.

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts, neef van koning Karel I van Engeland en commandant van de royalistische cavalerie tijdens de Engelse Burgeroorlog. Daarnaast was hij uitvinder en prentmaker.

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts, neef van koning Karel I van Engeland en commandant van de royalistische cavalerie tijdens de Engelse Burgeroorlog. Daarnaast was hij uitvinder en prentmaker.

Portret van Sir William Waller

Portret van Sir William Waller

Portret van de Engelsman Sir William Waller, generaal tijdens de Engelse Burgeroorlog. Het portret is gevat in een omlijsting die versierd is met een personificatie van Faam, de Mercuriusstaf (Caduceus), een ol... more

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Prins Ruprecht van de Palts, neef van koning Karel I van Engeland en commandant van de royalistische cavalerie tijdens de Engelse Burgeroorlog

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Prins Ruprecht van de Palts, neef van koning Karel I van Engeland en commandant van de royalistische cavalerie tijdens de Engelse Burgeroorlog. Daarnaast was hij uitvinder en prentmaker.

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Prins Ruprecht van de Palts, neef van koning Karel I van Engeland en commandant van de royalistische cavalerie tijdens de Engelse Burgeroorlog. Daarnaast was hij uitvinder en prentmaker.

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Prins Ruprecht van de Palts, neef van koning Karel I van Engeland en commandant van de royalistische cavalerie tijdens de Engelse Burgeroorlog. Daarnaast was hij uitvinder en prentmaker.

[Ironclad vessel with rudder and paddlewheel]

[Ironclad vessel with rudder and paddlewheel]

Illus. in: Gaspar Schott, Technica Curiosa, 1664, pl. 30, opp. p. 388. Reference copy may be in LOT 7007. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Marine engineering; ... more

Portret van James Hamilton, eerste hertog van Hamilton

Portret van James Hamilton, eerste hertog van Hamilton

James Hamilton, graaf van Aran en eerste hertog van Hamilton. Generaal van het Schotse leger tijdens de Engelse burgeroorlog. De prent heeft als onderschrift een Frans gedicht over zijn leven.

Portret van James Hamilton, eerste hertog van Hamilton

Portret van James Hamilton, eerste hertog van Hamilton

James Hamilton, graaf van Aran en eerste hertog van Hamilton. Generaal van het Schotse leger tijdens de Engelse burgeroorlog. De prent heeft als onderschrift een Frans gedicht over zijn leven.

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts

Portret van Prins Ruprecht van de Palts, neef van koning Karel I van Engeland en commandant van de royalistische cavalerie tijdens de Engelse Burgeroorlog. Daarnaast was hij uitvinder en prentmaker.

A view of the lines thrown up, on Boston Neck, by the Ministerial Army / B. Romans.

A view of the lines thrown up, on Boston Neck, by the Ministerial Army...

Print with legend shows and identifies several locations in the vicinity of Boston, including John Hancock's house, Beacon Hill, the British encampment on McHill, and a blockhouse. Title from item. Illus. on ma... more

To the Hone. Jno. Hancock, Esqre. president of ye Continental Congress, this map of the seat of civil war in America, is respectfully inscribed by his most obedient humble servant, B. Romans.

To the Hone. Jno. Hancock, Esqre. president of ye Continental Congress...

Scale ca. 1:320,000. Hand colored. Relief shown pictorially. Indexed for points of interest. Insets with indexes: Plan of Boston and its environs, 1775.--A view of the lines thrown up on Boston Neck; by the min... more

Sextus Pompeius raadpleegt Erictho over de Slag bij Pharsalus

Sextus Pompeius raadpleegt Erictho over de Slag bij Pharsalus

Sextus Pompeius bezoekt de heks Erictho in de grot. Zij wekt een dode soldaat tot leven die een burgeroorlog beschrijft in de onderwereld. Illustratie bij de Pharsalia van Marcus Annaeus Lucanus.

Plat of the partition of Moore & Beckley survey of 170,038 a. in the counties of Giles & Logan, Virginia.

Plat of the partition of Moore & Beckley survey of 170,038 a. in the c...

"Surveyed for Andrew Moore & John Beckley, Nov. 2nd, 1794." Shows names of some residents. Pen-an-ink and pencil over col. grid, mounted on cloth. Includes notes. In upper right corner in red ink: Moore & Beckl... more

Plats of the Wilson Cary Nicholas surveys (from the originals) made in Wythe and Russell Counties, Virginia, now Mercer, Raleigh, Wyoming, McDowell, and Logan counties, West Virginia

Plats of the Wilson Cary Nicholas surveys (from the originals) made in...

Pen-and-ink on tracing linen, mounted on cloth. LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), H217 Available also through the Library of Congress web site as raster image.

Map of the Chaffin's Bluff area of Henrico County, Virginia

Map of the Chaffin's Bluff area of Henrico County, Virginia

Additional annotations made in pencil. Map shows federal and Confederate positions September 28, 1864. One of a series of five maps drawn by Col. Normand Smith showing battle lines. Original maps are included i... more

Map of portion of Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania County, Virginia

Map of portion of Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania County, Virginia

One of a series of five maps drawn by Col. Normand Smith showing battle lines. Original maps are included in Personal Papers Collection, accession 24417, Gaines Family Papers, 1776-1905. Oriented with north tow... more

Autumn flowers

Autumn flowers

Print shows two girls in a garden with a statue of a reclining figure in the background. Title from item. In album: [Album of ephemera and Civil War era photographs; photos and album compiled by Larkin Goldsmit... more

The Metropolitan Sanitary Fair - the art gallery

The Metropolitan Sanitary Fair - the art gallery

Illustration shows people viewing paintings at event in New York City to raise money for the Civil War; page also includes poem "Dead" by Theo. P. Cook and beginning of story "Maritana" by Lizzie Campbell. Titl... more

Affair of the Wmsbg Road or Fair Oaks No. 2, Oct. 26-27-2864

Affair of the Wmsbg Road or Fair Oaks No. 2, Oct. 26-27-2864

One of a series of five maps drawn by Col. Normand Smith showing Civil War battle lines. Original maps are included in Personal Papers Collection, accession 24417, Gaines Family Papers, 1776-1905. This item is ... more

Map of a portion of Missionary Ridge, illustrating the positions of Baird's & Wood's div's., Nov. 23, 24 and 25, 1863.

Map of a portion of Missionary Ridge, illustrating the positions of Ba...

Scale ca. 1:11,800. LC Civil War Maps (2nd ed.), 398 Shows topography by contours, drainage, roads, railroads, and dwellings with names of inhabitants. Names of corps and commanding officers are given. Arrows i... more

Geographical history of the rail road regiment, 89th regiment of Illinois vols. infantry. [1862-1865]

Geographical history of the rail road regiment, 89th regiment of Illin...

Scale 1:633,600. LC Civil War Maps (2nd ed.), 77.6 Map of parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia showing the operations of the 89th regiment of Illinois volunteers. The regiment was first attached t... more

[Lace pattern with flowers]

[Lace pattern with flowers]

Print shows overall lace pattern in blue and white with hand-colored flowers in the center; possibly a greeting card. Title from item. In album: [Album of ephemera and Civil War era photographs; photos and albu... more

Cold Harbor Hanover County, Virginia

Cold Harbor Hanover County, Virginia

One of a series of five maps drawn by Col. Normand Smith showing battle lines. Original maps are included in Personal Papers Collection, accession 24417, Gaines Family Papers, 1776-1905. This item is in the Map... more

Vessels destroyed at Norfolk 1861.

Vessels destroyed at Norfolk 1861.

Sketch map of "U.S. Navy Yard" vicinity at Portsmouth (Va.) showing buildings, shipbuilding docks, drydock, buoys, and locations of the scuttled U.S. ships "Pennsylvania", "Columbia", "Raritan", and "Delaware".... more

Sunset view of Fort Sumter before the bombardment [1861]

Sunset view of Fort Sumter before the bombardment [1861]

Engraving by N. Orr [?] of drawing by H. Fenn. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card, with subsequent revisions. Caption card tracings: Civil War Forts Sumter 1861; Shelf.

[Com. Franklin Buchanan, C.S.N., half-length portrait, standing, facing right]

[Com. Franklin Buchanan, C.S.N., half-length portrait, standing, facin...

This record contains unverified, old data from caption card, with subsequent revisions. Caption card tracings: BI; United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Military Leaders Confederate; Shelf.

Swift Creek area, Chesterfield and Prince George Counties, Virginia

Swift Creek area, Chesterfield and Prince George Counties, Virginia

One of a series of five maps drawn by Col. Normand Smith showing battle lines. Original maps are included in Personal Papers Collection, accession 24417, Gaines Family Papers, 1776-1905. This item is in the Map... more

Ellerson's Mill. Battle-field of Mechanicsville, Va.

Ellerson's Mill. Battle-field of Mechanicsville, Va.

Civil War Photograph Collection. No. 920.

Plan of Fort Powhatan, Prince George County, Virginia

Plan of Fort Powhatan, Prince George County, Virginia

Original map located in House of Delegates, Office of the Speaker, Executive Communications, Oversized, Box 9, Folder 14. Although included in a report of 1821, this plan represents the fort as it looked in 181... more

Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: Edwin M. Stanton to Abraham Lincoln, Wednesday, April 05, 1865 (Telegram concerning Secretary Seward's injury)
Richland District, South Carolina /

Richland District, South Carolina /

LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S152 "[A]pproved, Chas. R. Suter, 1st Lt., U.S. Engrs., Chf. Engr., D. S." Pen and ink tracing of a map in Robert Mills's Atlas of the State of South Carolina . . . Baltimore, F. Lu... more

Lancaster District, South Carolina /

Lancaster District, South Carolina /

LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S144 Description derived from published bibliography. Available also through the Library of Congress web site as raster image. "Approved, Chas. R. Suter, Lt. & Chf. Engr., D. S." Pe... more

Spartanburgh District, South Carolina /

Spartanburgh District, South Carolina /

LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S153 In lower right corner: Traced by A. Cheville, Compagnie K. 47 N.Y.V. In lower left corner: Eng. by H. S. Tanner & Assistants. "Approved, Chas. R. Suter, Lt. & Chf. Engr., D. S.... more

[Orangeburgh District, South Carolina] /

[Orangeburgh District, South Carolina] /

Title, date, and scale from Stephenson's Civil War Maps, 1989. Relief shown by hachures. LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S150 Incomplete; the eastern and western portions of the map are wanting. Pen and ink tracin... more

Pendleton District, South Carolina /

Pendleton District, South Carolina /

Relief shown by hachures. "Approved, Chas. R. Suter, Lt. & Chf. Engr., D. S." "Traced by B. Schelten, Comp. A, 103 Reg., N.Y.S.V. Pen and ink tracing of a map in Robert Mills's Atlas of the State of South Carol... more

Laurens District, South Carolina /

Laurens District, South Carolina /

LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S145 Description derived from published bibliography. Available also through the Library of Congress web site as raster image. At lower right corner: Traced by A. Cheville, 47 N.Y.V... more

Newberry District, South Carolina /

Newberry District, South Carolina /

"Approved, C. R. Suter, 1st Lt., U.S. Engrs., Chf. Engr., D. S." Pen and ink tracing of a map in Robert Mills's Atlas of the State of South Carolina . . . Baltimore, F. Lucas, Jr. [1825] LC Civil War maps (2nd ... more

Washington's reception on the bridge at Trenton in 1789 on his way to be inaugurated 1st pres[iden]t of the U.S. / Engraved by T. Kelley.

Washington's reception on the bridge at Trenton in 1789 on his way to ...

Print shows Washington and soldiers passing through a garlanded canopy labeled "The hero who defended the mothers will protect the daughters" as girls and young women toss flowers in their path. Title from item... more

Darlington District, South Carolina : improved for Mills' Atlas, 1820 ; enga by H. S. Tanner & assistants.

Darlington District, South Carolina : improved for Mills' Atlas, 1820 ...

Relief shown by hachures. Title and date from Stephenson's Civil War Maps, 1989. LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.) S137. Description derived from published bibliography. Available also through the Library of Congress... more

Greenville District, South Carolina /

Greenville District, South Carolina /

Relief shown by hachures. Title and date from Stephenson's Civil War Maps, 1989. LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S141 Description derived from published bibliography. Available also through the Library of Congress... more

Marion District, South Carolina /

Marion District, South Carolina /

Relief shown by hachures. LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S147 Description derived from published bibliography. Available also through the Library of Congress web site as raster image. "Approved, Chas. R. Suter, 1... more

Charleston District, South Carolina /

Charleston District, South Carolina /

Relief shown by hachures. Scale from Stephenson's Civil War Maps, 1989. Description derived from published bibliography. LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.) S132. Available also through the Library of Congress web site... more

Fairfield District[t], South Carolina /

Fairfield District[t], South Carolina /

Title and date from Stephenson's Civil War Maps, 1989. LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S139 Description derived from published bibliography. Available also through the Library of Congress web site as raster image.... more

Ed gefield [sic] District, South Carolina /

Ed gefield [sic] District, South Carolina /

LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S138 Description derived from published bibliography. Available also through the Library of Congress web site as raster image. "Approved, C. R. Suter, 1st Lt., U.S. Engrs., Chf. Eng... more

Abbeville District, South Carolina /

Abbeville District, South Carolina /

Scale from Stephenson's Civil War Maps, 1989. "Approved, Chas. R. Suter, 1st Lt., U.S. Engrs., Chf. Engr., D. S." Pen and ink tracing of a map in Robert Mills' Atlas of the State of South Carolina . . . Baltim... more

Sumter District, South Carolina /

Sumter District, South Carolina /

Relief shown by hachures. Scale from Stephenson's Civil War maps, 1989. "Approved, C. R. Suter, 1st Lt., U.S. Engrs., Chf. Engr., D. S." Pen and ink tracing of a map in Robert Mills's Atlas of the State of Sout... more

Horry District, South Carolina /

Horry District, South Carolina /

LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S142 Description derived from published bibliography. Available also through the Library of Congress web site as raster image. "Approved, C. R. Suter, 1st Lt. & Chf. Engr., D. S." P... more

Williamsburgh District, South Carolina : /

Williamsburgh District, South Carolina : /

Relief shown by hachures. Scale from Stephenson's Civil War Maps, 1989. "Approved, Chas. R. Suter, 1st Lt., U.S. Engrs., Chf. Engr. D.S." Pen and ink tracing of map in Robert Mills's Atlas of the State of Carol... more

Beaufort District, South Carolina /

Beaufort District, South Carolina /

Scale from Stephenson's Civil War Maps, 1989. "Approved, Chas. R. Suter, 1st Lt., U.S. Engrs., Chf. Engr., D.S." Pen and ink tracing of map in Robert Mills's Atlas of the State of South Carolina. LC imperfect: ... more

Colleton District, South Carolina /

Colleton District, South Carolina /

Relief shown by hachures. Title and date from Stephenson's Civil War Maps, 1898. LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S136 Description derived from published bibliography. Available also through the Library of Congress... more

Chester District, South Carolina  /

Chester District, South Carolina /

Relief shown by hachures. Title, scale, and date from Stephenson's Civil War Maps, 1989. Description derived from published bibliography. LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S134 Available also through the Library of ... more

Lexington District, South Carolina /

Lexington District, South Carolina /

Relief shown by hachures. LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S146 Description derived from published bibliography. Available also through the Library of Congress web site as raster image. At lower right corner: "Trac... more

York District, South Carolina /

York District, South Carolina /

Relief shown by hachures. Scale from Stephenson's Civil War Maps, 1989. "Approved, Chas. R. Suter, 1st Lt., U.S. Engrs., Chf. Engr., D. S." Pen and ink tracing of a map in Robert Mills's Atlas of the State of S... more

Barnwell District, South Carolina /

Barnwell District, South Carolina /

Relief shown by hachures. LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.) S130. Description derived from published biibliography. Available also through the Library of Congress web site as raster image. "Approved, Chas. R. Suter, ... more

[Chesterfield District, South Carolina /

[Chesterfield District, South Carolina /

Relief shown by hachures. Title, date, and scale from Stephenson's Civil War Maps, 1989. Description derived from published bibliography. Pen and ink tracing of a map in Robert Mills's Atlas of the State of Sou... more

Kershaw District, South Carolina /

Kershaw District, South Carolina /

LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S143 Description derived from published bibliography. Available also through the Library of Congress web site as raster image. "Approved, Chas. R. Suter, Lt. & Chf. Engr., D. S." Pe... more

Georgetown District, South Carolina /

Georgetown District, South Carolina /

Relief by hachures. Title and date from Stephenson's Civil War Maps, 1989. LC Civil War maps (2nd ed.), S140 Description derived from published bibliography. Available also through the Library of Congress web s... more

Union District, South Carolina /

Union District, South Carolina /

Relief shown by hachures. Scale from Stephenson's Civil War maps, 1989. "Approved, Chas. R. Suter, 1st Lt., U.S. Engrs., Chf. Engr., D. S." Pen and ink tracing of a map in Robert Mills's Atlas of the State of S... more

Residence and tomb of Washington, Mount Vernon, on the Potomac / W.H. Brooke, F.S.A. ; A.L. Dick.

Residence and tomb of Washington, Mount Vernon, on the Potomac / W.H. ...

Title from item. In album: [Album of ephemera and Civil War era photographs; photos and album compiled by Larkin Goldsmith Mead], p. 128. Library of Congress copy is trimmed. Accession box no. DLC/PP-1975:071

The guitar / D.G. Johnson, sc.

The guitar / D.G. Johnson, sc.

Print shows a woman playing guitar as a man flirts with her. Title from item. In album: [Album of ephemera and Civil War era photographs; photos and album compiled by Larkin Goldsmith Mead], page 2. Library of... more

Map of the location of part of the North-Western Turnpike Road /

Map of the location of part of the North-Western Turnpike Road /

Shows road from Winchester westward to the Cheat River in Preston County, West Virginia. Relief shown by hachures. "This copy made by Fr. Koch, Richmond, Va. Jan. 27th 1862." Pen-and-ink, pencil and watercolor ... more

Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: Albert V. Colburn to Hudson, October 1861 (Telegram regarding military affairs; endorsed by William Seward to Lincoln)

Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: A...

Telegram regarding military affairs; endorsed by William Seward to Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: Joseph A. Gilmore to Abraham Lincoln, Wednesday, March 09, 1864 (Telegram reporting New Hampshire election results)

Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: J...

Telegram reporting New Hampshire election results

Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: William S. Roberts to Edward S. Sanford, Tuesday, November 04, 1862 (Telegram reporting New York election results)
Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: Cuthbert Bullitt to Abraham Lincoln, Thursday, March 03, 1864 (Telegram reporting Louisiana election results)
Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: Louis Eliel to Abraham Lincoln, Wednesday, December 12, 1860 (Wants to know Lincoln's position on secession)
Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: Morton McMichael to Abraham Lincoln, Thursday, April 13, 1865 (Telegram concerning national day of thanksgiving)
Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln, Sunday, March 16, 1862 (Telegram regarding military affairs at Cairo)
Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: John Brough to Abraham Lincoln, Wednesday, July 20, 1864 (Introduction; endorsed by Andrew G. Curtin)
map from "Sketches in Portugal during the Civil War of 1834 ... With observations on the present state and future prospects of Portugal. [With plates.]"

map from "Sketches in Portugal during the Civil War of 1834 ... With o...

This image has been taken from scan 000129 from "Sketches in Portugal during the Civil War of 1834 ... With observations on the present state and future prospects of Portugal. [With plates.]". The title and sub... more

Alfred Beckley's Private Memorandum Book, 1856-1865, including "Statements of Agency for the Mssrs Francis and John A Granger"

Alfred Beckley's Private Memorandum Book, 1856-1865, including "Statem...

The son of John Beckley, the first clerk of the House of Representatives under George Washington, Alfred Beckley is widely recognized as the founder of Raleigh County. The man for whom the county seat of Beckle... more