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Çanakkale Boğazi(chänäk`kälĕ bōäzŭ`), strait, c.40 mi (60 km) long and from 1 to 4 mi (1.6 to 6.4 km) wide, connecting the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara and separating the Gallipoli peninsula of European Turkey from Asian Turkey. It was called the Hellespont in ancient times and was the scene of the legend of HeroHero,
in Greek mythology, priestess of Aphrodite in Sestos. Her lover, Leander, swam the Hellespont nightly from Abydos to see her. During a storm the light by which she guided him blew out, and he drowned. Hero, in despair, then threw herself into the sea.
..... Click the link for more information. and Leander. Its modern name is derived from Dardanus, an ancient Greek city on its Asian shore. Controlling navigation between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, the Dardanelles and BosporusBosporus
[Gr.,=ox ford, in reference to the story of Io], Turk. Boğaziçi, strait, c.20 mi (30 km) long and c.2,100 ft (640 m) wide at its narrowest, separating European from Asian Turkey and joining the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara.
..... Click the link for more information. straits have long been of immense strategic and commercial importance. Ancient Troy prospered at the western entrance to the Hellespont. Xerxes I crossed (c.481 B.C.) the strait over a bridge of boats, as did Alexander the Great in 334 B.C. Throughout the existence of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires the Straits were essential to the defense of Constantinople (İstanbul). By 1402 the Dardanelles were under the control of Ottoman Sultan Beyazid I. Muhammad II began (15th cent.) to fortify the passage, which, with brief interruptions, has remained in Turkish hands until the present. Russian expansion along the Black Sea (from the 18th cent.) and the resulting weakening of the Ottoman Empire became of great concern to the Western powers (see Eastern QuestionEastern Question,
term designating the problem of European territory controlled by the decaying Ottoman Empire in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th cent. The Turkish threat to Europe was checked by the Hapsburgs in the 16th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ), notably England and France, which from 1841 joined forces to prevent Russia from gaining control over, or special rights in, the Straits. In 1841, England, France, Russia, Austria, and Prussia agreed to close the Straits to all but Turkish warships in peacetime. This convention was formally reaffirmed by the Congress of Paris (1856) at the end of the Crimean War and, theoretically at least, remained in force until World War I. Early in 1915 an Anglo-French fleet, commanded first by Admiral Carden and later by Admiral Sir John de Robeck, sought unsuccessfully to force the Dardanelles and take Constantinople. A second attempt, known as the Gallipoli campaignGallipoli campaign,
1915, Allied expedition in World War I for the purpose of gaining control of the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits, capturing Constantinople, and opening a Black Sea supply route to Russia.
..... Click the link for more information. , was also unsuccessful, but after the final Turkish collapse an Allied fleet passed (Nov., 1918) the Straits and occupied Constantinople. The Treaty of Sèvres (1920) with Turkey internationalized and demilitarized the Straits zone, but it was superseded by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923). The zone was restored to Turkey, but was to remain demilitarized; the Straits were to be open to all ships in peacetime and in time of war if Turkey remained neutral; if Turkey was at war, it could not exclude neutral ships. Secretly, however, Turkey soon began to refortify the zone, and in 1936, by the Montreux ConventionMontreux Convention,
1936, international agreement regarding the Dardanelles. The Turkish request for permission to refortify the Straits zone was favorably received by nations anxious to return to international legality as well as to gain an ally against German and Italian
..... Click the link for more information. , it was formally permitted to remilitarize it. Turkey has maintained the right to restrict the access of ships from non-Black Sea states.
the straits between Europe and Asia Minor, which connect the Sea of Marmara with the Aegean Sea.
The Dardanelles originated as a river valley that became inundated by the sea as a result of the land’s subsidence. Length, 120.5 km; width, 1.3–18.5 km; depth. 53–106 m. The banks of the Dardanelles are composed of sandstones and limestones, covered with sparse vegetation. The water exchange through the Dardanelles is determined by the difference in the water densities of the two adjoining seas. The surface current, flowing from the Sea of Marmara in the northeast toward the southwest, carries fresher, less dense waters (with a salinity of between 25.5 and 29.0 parts per thousand and a density of 1.018). The velocity of this current ranges from 2 to 6 km per hr. A deep current flows from the southwest to the northeast and carries from the Aegean Sea saline (up to 38.5 parts per thousand) and dense (1.028–1.029) water. The port of Gelibolu (Gallipoli) is located on the European bank of the Dardanelles, and that of Çanakkale is on the Asian side.