Introduction Punic Wars,
three distinct conflicts between Carthage
. When they began, Rome had nearly completed the conquest of Italy, while Carthage controlled NW Africa and the islands and the commerce of the W Mediterranean. When they ended, Carthage was ruined, and Rome was the greatest power W of China. The first war saw Rome fighting to break Carthage's growing hold on the chain of islands that enable it to control the W Mediterranean. The second war directly pitted the ambitions of the two commercial powers; the initial area of conflict was Sicily. The last war was the final, desperate attempt of Carthage to preserve Punic (Carthaginian) liberty.
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