First: Get Embroiled in a Love Triangle
Lord Edward Bruce loved Venetia Stanley. So did Edward Sackville, Earl of Dorset. This being 1613, the disagreement quickly turned to impassioned slapping, which was, of course, an invitation to duel to the death.
Second: Evade The Wrath Of Your King
Besides commissioning a translation of the Bible, King James I of England is also well known for disliking the "barbaric" tradition of dueling. He had banned it from England, so Lord Bruce and the Earl of Dorset took their grudge match to Holland, traveling with only their personal doctors as witnesses.
Third: Die With Dignity
The duel turned out to be pretty evenly matched, with both men severely wounding the other. Finally, though, the Earl managed stab Bruce straight through twice. Pretty much done for, Bruce was left to his doctor while the Earl set about getting his own wounds treated. Which was when Bruce's doctor attacked. Of course, at the time, doctors were thought little better of than maids and Bruce couldn't bear to be avenged by someone so low on the social totem pole. From his deathbed, he demanded that the "rascal" doctor halt his attack and, thus, died in an honorable way.
Fourth: Survive, But End Up Kind Of Looking Like An Idiot
Victorious, the Earl of Dorset headed back to England to claim his lady love"¦Only to find out that, while he and Bruce had been busy paying attention to each other, Venetia Stanley had married somebody else entirely.
Lady Almeria Braddock vs. Mrs. ElphinstonePlace:
An argument over Lady Braddock's correct age.
Late 1700s—Lord Richard Martin vs. More than 100 people
Place: Various locations throughout England and Ireland
Cause: Martin frequently took the law into his own hands to battle animal abusers. He was also instrumental in passing the first animal protection act through Parliament in 1822 and in founding the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, acts which earned him the hilarious nickname "Humanity Dick."
2002—Saddam Hussein vs. George W. Bush (proposed)
Place: A neutral location to be chosen by Kofi Annan, who would also serve as referee.
Cause: Prior to the invasion of Iraq, one creative Iraqi Vice President offered to solve the dispute between his country and the U.S. by arranging a duel between leaders Hussein and Bush. Surprisingly, no one took him up on his offer.