The Punic Wars consisted of three distinct conflicts between Carthage and Rome.

When the conflicts began Rome had conquered nearly all of Italy while Carthage controlled NW Africa, many islands in the Mediterranean and the sea-faring commerce on the Mediterranean.

When the wars came to an end Carthage was annexed by Rome and razed, with salt sown into the ground insuring nothing would ever grow there again. Old Testament style.

Chronology of the Punic Wars:

First Punic War
264 BC : Rome and Carthage are drawn into a war between Messana and Syracuse on the island of Sicily. Following the intial Roman victory against Carthage and Syracuse, the latter changes sides.
261 BC : The Romans conquer Sicily as far as Agrigentum.
256 BC : The Romans win the naval battle of Mylae using new ships built on a Punic design.
255 BC : The Carthaginians defeat the Romans at Tunis and the Roman survivors are shipwrecked on their way back to Sicily.
254 BC : The Romans win a victory at Panormus on Sicily, but fail to make further progress.
241 BC : At the battle of Aegates Islands off Sicily, the Romans destroy the Carthaginian fleet, effectively ending the war.

Second Punic War
218 BC : The Carthaginian general Hannibal reaches northern Italy, having crossed the Pyrenees and Alps with an invasion force of 50,000 men, 9,000 cavalry, and 37 elephants.
217 BC : The Romans are defeated at Lake Trasimene.
216 BC : At the battle of Cannae, Hannibal inflicts defeat on Rome, the worst in her history.
210 BC : After the death of Hiero of Syracuse, his successor alies with Carthage and the Romans capture and sack the city. Meanwhile, the Roman general Publius Scipio lands in Spain.
208 BC : The Carthaginian general Hasdrubal is defeated by Scipio at Baecula.
206 BC : Scipio's victory at Ilipa forces the Carthaginians out of Spain.
204 BC : Scipio lands in Africa; in the following year
203 BC : Hannibal returns home from Italy.
202 BC : The Carthaginian army is destroyed at Zama. The war ends a year later with harsh peace terms imposed on Carthage.

Third Punic War
151 BC : Carthage engages in a war with Numidia and thereby breaks her treaty with Rome.
149 BC : A Roman army sets out for Africa.
146 BC : Carthage falls after a long siege. The city is razed and its people sold into slavery.

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