Paris, Treaty of 1856

Paris, Treaty of (1856)

 

the treaty that put an end to the Crimean War (1853–56); signed in Paris at the final session of a congress of nations on March 18 (30) by the representatives of Russia (A. F. Orlov and F. I. Brunnov), France (A. Walewski and F. de Bourqueney), Great Britain (the Earl of Clarendon, the Earl of Cowley), Turkey (Ali Pasha, Jemal Bey), and Sardinia (C. Cavour, S. Villamarina).

The tsarist government, which had been defeated in the war, had to make peace because of the developing revolutionary situation in Russian. By taking advantage of the conflicts between the victors and the difficulties experienced by them as a result of their heavy losses at Sevastopol’, Russian diplomacy won lenient peace terms. Russia returned Kars to Turkey, in exchange for Sevastopol’ and other towns occupied by the allies. Both Russia and Turkey were prohibited from maintaining warships and naval bases on the Black Sea, which was declared neutral. Free navigation was established on the Danube, under the control of an international commission. Russia ceded the mouth of the Danube and part of southern Bessarabia to Moldavia.

The great powers pledged noninterference in the affairs of Turkey. In addition, they guaranteed the autonomy of Serbia, Moldavia, and Walachia within the Ottoman Empire, thus excluding tsarist claims to special rights of “protection” over the Danube principalities and the Orthodox population of Turkey.

The Treaty of Paris (1856) was supplemented by three conventions. The first confirmed the London Convention of 1841, which had closed the Bosporus and the Dardanelles to warships. The second established the number of Russian and Turkish light warships authorized to provide coast guard services in the Black Sea. Under the third convention, Russia was obliged to refrain from arming the military establishments on the Aland Islands in the Baltic.

The Treaty of Paris (1856) weakened tsarism in Europe and the Middle East and resulted in the exacerbation of the Eastern Question. With the support of Russia and France, Moldavia and Walachia united in 1856–62, forming the Rumanian state. Although this development marked a departure from the conditions of the 1856 treaty, it was not opposed by the Western powers. In 1870–71, Russia refused to honor clauses of the treaty prohibiting it from maintaining warships and naval bases on the Black Sea. The Western powers were compelled to accept this new situation (Gorchakov’s circulars, the London Convention of 1871). After Russia’s victory in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, the Treaty of Paris (1856) was replaced by a treaty negotiated at the Congress of Berlin (1878).

REFERENCES

Sbornik dogovorov Rossii s drugimi gosudarstvami, 1856–1917. Moscow, 1952.
Istoriia diplomatii, 2nd ed., vol. 1. Moscow, 1956.

I. V. BESTUZHEV-LADA

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