The First Punic War was fought over control of Corsica and Sicily.
The Carthaginians got involved with a conflict between two important cities in Sicily, Messina and Syracuse, and had made their presence known on the island. Sicily had also appealed to the Romans causing conflict between Carthage and Rome.
Rome had sided with Messina and when it was attacked, had easily driven them off. Rome had gained an alliance with Syracuse and the attacked Carthage.
The Romans had rebuilt their fleet so that they could fight against Carthage's powerful navy. They won their first naval battle at Mylae. After this defeat, Rome was able to gain control of Corsica.
A second Roman fleet had established a beachhead in Africa and the Carthaginians were prepared to surrender. However, the Roman's terms were to harsh so Carthage attacked with a new army made of cavalry and elephants.
Driven to the sea, Rome had a fleet 200 ships and complete control of the sea. One year later, Carthage had surrendered, giving Roman Sicily and the Lapari islands.