The First Punic War was fought to establish control over the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily
Carthage was the wealthiest and most advanced city in the region, as well as its leading naval power
In 264 B.C., Rome decided to intervene in a dispute on the western coast of the island of Sicily then a Carthaginian province involving an attack by soldiers from the city of Syracuse against the city of Messina. While Carthage supported Syracuse, Rome supported Messina, and the struggle soon exploded into a direct conflict between the two powers, with control of Sicily at stake.
Rome rebuilt its entire fleet in order to confront Carthage’s powerful navy, scoring its first sea victory at Mylae in 260 B.C. and a major victory in the Battle of Ecnomus in 256 B.C. Though its invasion of North Africa that same year ended in defeat, Rome refused to give up, and in 241 B.C. the Roman fleet was able to win a decisive victory against the Carthaginians at sea, breaking their legendary naval superiority.
The end of the First Punic War, Sicily became Rome’s first overseas province.