Settling disputes back in the olden days.

When was the last time two warriors duked it out to the death, to decide a battle or a war? Or any major disagreement for that matter? When did the tradition, if it ever was one, go out of fashion?

Has that ever happened? The closest I can remember to that happening was William the Conqueror’s herald asking permission to strike the first blow in the Battle of Hastings, killing one or more enemy before being killed himself.

I know there were man-to-man duels before battles, but to my knowledge they were not allowed to determine the outcome of a battle, even if the battle may have been delayed until their outcome.

Although this is certainly a widespread enough concept that I would be interested in any examples you may have.

Ever hear of a straightener Ivan? Liverpool term for settling your differences hand to hand. This article laments the waning of the straightener in the face of rising gun crime.

The term is “single combat” wherein my best fighter and your best fighter meet in a battle to the death to decide the battle.

In the Bible, it was David and Goliath. In the Iliad, Menelaus and Paris. In history, not so much. The latest example in the linked article was in 1593.

ETA: Like the OP said, it was more often a prelude to the full battle rather than to decide the battle.

That was an interesting read. I was certainly aware of the concept of ‘straightners’, having been along to one or two myself, although never as one of the chief protaganists. As the rest of the article states, that sort of thing has gone a bit out of fashion now.

Wasn’t David and Goliath an early example of a battle being decided mano a mano, and didn’t warring Native American tribes settle their disputes this way sometimes? Or is that a Hollywood cliche/myth?

Since I’m just pulling this out of my- uh, HAT, take it with a grain of salt; but I believe there might have been situations where this happened. One might be where two rival claimants to a throne decided that their chances of winning a personal duel were as good or better than their chances of winning a civil war. Or where a conflict had arisen due to the policies of the two leaders, and it was recognized that the dispute would die with one or the other of the leaders. In short, any situation where the rank and file could live with the outcome either way, and both sides decided that even winning by battle would be too costly.

…must… not… start… gun…debate…

If you’re referring to dueling over matters of honour, the practice fell out of favour in the United States and Europe in the 19th century. However, it carried on in South America into the 20th century, despite being outlawed.
Several interesting bits on wikipedia on the subject:

This is the most notable example I can recall.

Not sure if it’s exactly what you were thinking of, but there was an attempt to try an English case through trial by battle as late as 1817, but one of the potential combatants wussed out: