What happens when two unrelated projects are merged? It is an error called the “Fatal: refusing to merge unrelated histories” Git error. This happens on the software called Git, which is a tool used to handle large and small projects. It allows you to keep tracking changes made in the code. Another great thing about it is that it permits a group of developers to collaborate on a single project.

But when multiple developers work together or an individual works on two different projects, they might face this error. And this happens when the two projects are unaware of the other’s existence and have a mismatched commit history. So, keep scrolling to learn more about common errors and how to solve them.

The Common Problems

When there are two separate projects, and each has its Commit. But they are unaware of the other’s presence as there is no link between them. Despite this, people attempt to merge them, which leads to an error. So, two ways could lead to getting an error, and they are:

  • When cloning a project, a .git directory is also created, but it remains hidden in the directory. If it were to get deleted or corrupted, Git wouldn’t be able to track its local history. This situation leads to an error when you attempt to use the pull or push command from the remote repository.
  • Suppose you create a new repository and work on it. After a while, you try to pull from its remote repository, but the repository has commits. This situation is a conflict as both the projects are unrelated and unaware of the other.

The Solution

Solving this problem is simple; it is a minor error that many people encounter. But even when developers know about this error, it is hard to avoid it consciously.

This is one of the situations where the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ does not work, and it is because though preventing it is not impossible, the only thing you can do is have mastery in troubleshooting the error.

When you find this error has occurred, you need to use the  –allow-unrelated-histories flag while you pull data from the remote repository. However, you can only do this on Git version 2.9.0 or higher.

Preventing the Error

Though preventing such an error is complex, the best way to avoid it is by not merging unrelated projects that have conflicting histories. But, being realistic, there are instances when you will have to merge data for various projects. And when this situation arises, it is suggested that you make a clone of the remote repository as an added branch to the project instead of trying the merge it directly; after that, merge both branches. This can be a lengthy, time-consuming process, but it’s the only way to prevent this error from happening when you deal with complex code bases.

The ”Fatal: refusing to merge unrelated histories” error occurs when Git can’t match the two projects that have been merged by mistake. And all the solutions provided above help to fix the problems that occur. As such, it is essential to be able to deal with this error by knowing how to prevent and solve it when it arises.

Author Bio:

Alison Lurie is a farmer of words in the field of creativity. She is an experienced independent content writer with a demonstrated history of working in the writing and editing industry. She is a multi-niche content chef who loves cooking new things.


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