Russo-Turkish Wars.The great eastward expansion of Russia in the 16th and 17th cent., during the decline of the Ottoman Empire, nevertheless left the shores of the Black Sea in the hands of the Ottoman sultans and their vassals, the khans of CrimeaCrimea
, Rus. and Ukr. Krym, peninsula and republic (1991 est. pop. 2,363,000), c.10,000 sq mi (25,900 sq km), SE Europe, linked with the mainland by the Perekop Isthmus. The peninsula is bounded on the S and W by the Black Sea.
..... Click the link for more information. . The Russo-Turkish Wars were the result of Russian attempts to find an outlet on the Black Sea and—in later stages—to conquer the Caucasus, dominate the Balkan Peninsula, gain control of the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits, and retain access to world trade routes.
Warfare between the Russians and the Crimean Tatars was chronic during the 16th and 17th cent. In 1696, Peter IPeter I
or Peter the Great,
1672–1725, czar of Russia (1682–1725), major figure in the development of imperial Russia. Early Life
Peter was the youngest child of Czar Alexis, by Alexis's second wife, Natalya Naryshkin.
..... Click the link for more information. won the first major Russian victory over the Turko-Tatars by capturing the fortress of Azov. In the Northern War (1700–1721) Sultan Ahmed IIIAhmed III,
1673–1736, Ottoman sultan (1703–30), brother and successor of Mustafa II to the throne of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). He gave asylum to Charles XII of Sweden and to Mazepa after Peter the Great of Russia had defeated (1709) them at Poltava.
..... Click the link for more information. openly entered the conflict against Russia in 1710 and regained Azov by the Peace of the Pruth (1711). France, the traditional ally of the Ottomans, had a share in instigating this and later Ottoman attempts at stemming the Russian advance.
In 1736 war again broke out between the Ottomans and Russia, allied with Austria. The Russians recaptured Azov and won a spectacular success in Moldavia, where General Münnich entered Jassy (1739). However, Austria became alarmed by Russian ambitions in the Balkans and concluded the separate Treaty of Belgrade (1739), in which Russia was forced to join. Russia agreed to demilitarize Azov and not to build a Black Sea fleet.
The first major Russo-Turkish War, that of 1768–74, was an indirect result of Russian interference in Poland. Sultan Mustafa III, alarmed by Russia's action and encouraged by France, declared war on Catherine IICatherine II
or Catherine the Great,
1729–96, czarina of Russia (1762–96). Rise to Power
A German princess, the daughter of Christian Augustus, prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, she emerged from the obscurity of her relatively modest background in 1744
..... Click the link for more information. of Russia. The Russians conquered (1771) the Crimea, where a pro-Russian khan was installed, and overran Moldavia and Walachia. The Treaty of Kuchuk KainarjiKuchuk Kainarji, Treaty of
, 1774, peace treaty signed at the end of the first of the Russo-Turkish Wars undertaken by Catherine II of Russia against Sultan Mustafa III of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey).
..... Click the link for more information. (1774) declared the Crimean khanate independent of the sultan, gave Russia considerable territorial gains, conceded to Russia the role of protector of the sultan's Greek Orthodox subjects, and allowed Russian shipping to navigate the Black Sea and pass through the Straits.
A general partition of the Ottoman Empire was contemplated in the treaty of alliance (1781) between Catherine II and Emperor Joseph IIJoseph II,
1741–90, Holy Roman emperor (1765–90), king of Bohemia and Hungary (1780–90), son of Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, whom he succeeded. He was the first emperor of the house of Hapsburg-Lorraine (see Hapsburg).
..... Click the link for more information. ; the fate of the Ottoman Empire thus became a major concern of the Western powers and created the explosive 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. . In 1783, Catherine annexed the Crimea outright. A new Russo-Turkish War broke out in 1787, and in 1788 Joseph II entered the war as Catherine's ally. Although Austria was forced, chiefly by Prussian exertions, to withdraw from the alliance in 1791, Russian successes under SuvorovSuvorov, Aleksandr Vasilyevich
, 1729–1800, Russian field marshal. Suvorov entered the army as a youth and rose rapidly through the ranks. He fought in the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74, helped suppress the peasant rebellion led by Pugachev in 1775, and was created
..... Click the link for more information. enabled Catherine to reach a favorable settlement in the Treaty of Jassy (1792).
In 1806 the energetic Sultan Selim IIISelim III,
1761–1808, Ottoman sultan (1789–1807), nephew and successor of Abd al-Hamid I to the throne of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). He suffered severe defeats in the second of the Russo-Turkish Wars with Catherine II, but suffered no major territorial losses when
..... Click the link for more information. deposed the Russophile governors of Moldavia and Walachia, an act that led to the Russo-Turkish War of 1806–12. This was brought to a close by Kutuzov's lightning campaign of 1811–12 and resulted in the gain of BessarabiaBessarabia
, historic region, c.17,600 sq mi (45,600 sq km), largely in Moldova and Ukraine. It is bounded by the Dniester River on the north and east, the Prut on the west, and the Danube and the Black Sea on the south.
..... Click the link for more information. by Russia in the Treaty of Bucharest (1812). The Greek War of Independence (see GreeceGreece,
Gr. Hellas or Ellas, officially Hellenic Republic, republic (2005 est. pop. 10,668,000), 50,944 sq mi (131,945 sq km), SE Europe. It occupies the southernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula and borders on the Ionian Sea in the west, on the Mediterranean Sea
..... Click the link for more information. ) precipitated the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29, which ended with the Treaty of Adrianople (see Adrianople, Treaty ofAdrianople, Treaty of,
also called Treaty of Edirne, 1829, peace treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire (see Russo-Turkish Wars). Turkey gave Russia access to the mouths of the Danube and additional territory on the Black Sea, opened the Dardanelles to all commercial
..... Click the link for more information. ).
When, in 1853, Russia sought to obtain further concessions from the Ottoman Empire, the Ottomans, backed by England and France, declared war. Their allies entered the conflict in 1854, and the Crimean WarCrimean War
, 1853–56, war between Russia on the one hand and the Ottoman Empire, Great Britain, France, and Sardinia on the other. The causes of the conflict were inherent in the unsolved Eastern Question.
..... Click the link for more information. resulted. The peace of 1856 (see Paris, Congress ofParis, Congress of,
1856, conference held by representatives of France, Great Britain, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), Sardinia, Russia, Austria, and Prussia to negotiate the peace after the Crimean War. In the Treaty of Paris (Mar.
..... Click the link for more information. ) brought no major territorial changes but marked a severe setback to Russian influence.
The last Russo-Turkish War came as a result of the anti-Ottoman uprising (1875) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On Russian instigation, Serbia and Montenegro joined the rebels in their war on the Ottoman Empire; after securing Austrian neutrality, Russia openly entered the war (1877). The Treaty of San StefanoSan Stefano, Treaty of
, 1878, peace treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, at the conclusion of the last of the Russo-Turkish Wars; it was signed at San Stefano (now Yeşilköy), a village W of İstanbul, Turkey.
..... Click the link for more information. in 1878 so thoroughly revised the map in favor of Russia and of Russian-influenced Bulgaria that the European powers called a conference to revise its terms (see Berlin, Congress ofBerlin, Congress of,
1878, called by the signers of the Treaty of Paris of 1856 (see Paris, Congress of) to reconsider the terms of the Treaty of San Stefano, which Russia had forced on the Ottoman Empire earlier in 1878.
..... Click the link for more information. ). In 1878 a thorough realignment of alliances took place.
In World War I, Russia and the Ottoman Empire faced each other once more; Russia sided with the traditional allies of the Ottomans—England and France—while the Ottomans fought with the former partners of Russia—Austria and Bulgaria. By the separate Russo-Turkish treaty of 1921, the USSR returned the districts of Kars and Ardahan, acquired in 1878, to Atatürk's Turkish government.