The Mercenary War was the name given to Zanzibar Land's war of independence, which began sometime in the early 1990s, during the fall of the Soviet Union.


After the secession of the Baltic states from the USSR, opposition to the old regime began to mount, in the autonomous zone of Zanzibar Province. This period of crisis inspired nationalism in the area's leaders, and despite military intervention by the Commonwealth of Independent States,[1] the small tribal nation eventually won its sovereignty. Independence was declared in 1997, with primary credit for the success generally given to the mercenaries from around the world that participated in the war. Because of this it is referred to as "The Mercenary War," and brought back to global attention the profession of the "gun for hire."

George Kasler fought in the Mercenary War, eventually suffering from a wound to his right thigh that ended his military career.

Zanzibar Land terrorism

Zanzibar Land later decided to expand beyond its borders and went on to invade neighboring countries at will. Using the newly developed Metal Gear D, Zanzibar Land stole nuclear warheads from disposal sites across the world, becoming one of the few remaining nuclear powers. In 1999, these events led to the Zanzibar Land Disturbance.

Behind the scenes

Although the original MSX2 manual for Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake and Metal Gear Solid's Previous Operations summary both state that the Mercenary War began in the early 1990s, it is not entirely clear at what point the war ended. Zanzibar Land's independence was declared in 1997, and the war was described as successful in both sources. However, whether the Mercenary War also comprised the later nuclear terrorism, or whether the two should be considered separate conflicts, is unknown.

The CIS's involvement in the Mercenary War was described in Metal Gear Solid's Previous Operations summary, which was most likely an attempt to reconcile the conflicting history of both the Metal Gear universe and the real world, as the Soviet Union collapsed much earlier in the latter.



  • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake User's Manual

Notes and references

  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (1998).
    Special > Previous Operations > Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
    Zanzibar Land was a democratic military regime that suddenly appeared in Central Asia in 1997. When their uprising took place, the CIS army, formed around Russia, sent a suppressive unit immediately.

See also