Canning, Stratford

Stratford de Redcliffe, Stratford Canning, Viscount

Stratford de Redcliffe, Stratford Canning, Viscount, 1786–1880, British diplomat. He entered (1807) the foreign office under the aegis of his cousin, George Canning. Sent (1808) to Turkey, he negotiated the Treaty of Bucharest (1812) between Turkey and Russia. He served in Switzerland (1814–18), at the Congress of Vienna, and in Washington (1819–23), where he negotiated concerning disputes arising from the War of 1812. In Turkey again (1825–29, 1831), he helped settle the frontier problem with Greece. After a period in Parliament he returned (1842) to Turkey, remaining with interruptions until 1858. Stratford exercised enormous influence over Sultan Abd al-Majid, but the documentary evidence does not support the belief of his contemporaries that he encouraged Turkish intransigence in the face of Russian demands in 1853 and thus brought on the Crimean War. He appears rather to have counseled moderation and attempted to avert the war. He was created a viscount in 1852.


See his Eastern Question (1881); biography by E. F. Malcolm-Smith (1933); study by L. G. Byrne (1971).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Canning, Stratford


(Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe). Born Nov. 4,1786 in London; died Aug. 14,1880, in Frant, Sussex. English diplomat.

As chargé d’affaires, Canning headed the British embassy in Turkey from 1810 to 1812. He later served as envoy to Switzerland (1814–18) and to the United States (1819–23) and as ambassador to Turkey (1825–27 and 1841–58). In 1832, Canning was appointed ambassador to Russia, but Tsar Nicholas I refused to receive him. Canning contributed to the outbreak of the Crimean War (1853–56) when in 1853 he provoked the head of the Russian mission in Turkey, A. S. Menshikov, into presenting Turkey with an ultimatum, which resulted in the rupturing of Russo-Turkish relations.

While in retirement (from 1858), Canning published a series of articles on the Eastern Question that was consistently hostile to Russia.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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