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The year is 2065. For solving this puzzle, you may assume that no significant changes have been made in political and geographical situations in Europe and Africa except for those that are described in the question.

One country X in Europe started expanding its area. Occupying the neighbouring country was hard, but that country bordered one that was easy to occupy for a part because it could not finance an own army and other countries refused to help despite some treaties. However, the country was never occupied in full.

One country Y in Africa also started expanding its area and occupied an neighbouring country. Now countries X and Y both border the Mediterranean Sea. They start a war between each other. Now finally an international organisation steps in. They decide that there will be a war on sea between two large ships, and that the country that wins, will win the war.

The flags of countries are of course present on the ship. During this battle, country X manages to let the boat of country Y sink by a technique that was present in one of the occupied territories for over a thousand years. The territory of country Y and is given to country X. Many artists made their impression of the war. However, later people thought that the war that was fought was actually a civil war in country X.

This should be enough information to figure out what countries X and Y are [remember, all countries have still the same name as they have now excepted for the occupied territories], and why people later thought that the war was a civil war in country X.

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    $\begingroup$ "Now countries X and Y both border the Mediterranean Sea." - Does this mean to imply that neither country bordered the sea before expanding, or only that at least one did not? $\endgroup$ – TreeHouse196 Feb 14 '16 at 1:06
  • $\begingroup$ @TreeHouse196 Neither did. $\endgroup$ – wythagoras Feb 14 '16 at 8:28
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Here is my guess.

I assume that people believed in a civil war based on the similarities of the flags of both countries. One example of such a similarity is Ireland and Ivory Coast but they don't match the other hints, so let's look at them.

There are 5 countries in Europe without a standing army: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Vatican City and San Marino. The country which was attacked by X must share a border with one of these countries and have access to the Mediterranean Sea as well. There are 3 possibilities: Spain, France and Italy. Country X must share a border with one of these 3 countries and not have access to the Mediterranean Sea, which leves the following possibilities for X: Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Similarly we can determine countries in Africa which can gain access to the Mediterranean Sea by occupying another country: Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan.

Among these countries there are 2 with very similar flags: Belgium (=X) and Chad (=Y).

Second guess based on wythagoras' comment.

Based on the information that the country without an army currently has one, the best guess is Greece which has financial problems. That would leave Romania (=X) which actually has the same flag as Chad (=Y). Romania would have to occupy Bulgaria and then a part of Greece. I'm not sure how good Greek fire would work as a weapon in 2065.

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  • $\begingroup$ Y is correct, but you do not have the correct country X. You are correct about the flag method though. Remember that in fact it could not finance an own army and that it is in the future. Also, the country was never occupied in full, which is a bit unlikely for small countries like Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Vatican City and San Marino. (+1 though) $\endgroup$ – wythagoras Feb 14 '16 at 11:53
  • $\begingroup$ Note that Portugal does have access to the Mediterranean sea, through the Strait of Gibraltar $\endgroup$ – Oak Feb 18 '16 at 0:09

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