The Effect of the Eastern Question on the Great Powers

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  • Created on: 01-06-16 22:16

Greek Revolt 1821


In 1821 there was a revolt in Greece against Turkish rule. It was seen as a heroic struggle for independence which was personified by the death of Romantic poet Byron in 1924. However this was far from the truth, the war was a bloody affair which saw both sides slaughter each other mercilessly. The revolt was caused by peasant unrest, middle-class demands for a liberal sate and religious persecution. By 1824 the Greeks seemed to have gained the upper hand and so the Sultan appealed for aid to his vassal the Pasha of Egypt, Mehemet Ali. Egyptian intervention pushed the war in Ottoman favour, by 1825-6 it was clear that without European intervention on the Greeks side their revolt would be crushed. Britain, France and Russia called for the establishment of self-governing in Greece, allied together through the St Petersburg Protocol of 1826 and the Treaty of London of 1827. The Sultan rejected these offers of mediation leaving the powers with no clear policy. However British Admiral Codrington's ships were fired on after they entered Navarino Bay in October 1827. This lead to the Ottoman was declaring war against Russia and in April 1928 Russia declared war against Turkey. The Russian army reach 150 miles from Constantinople in the August of 1829, causing the Sultan to begin to sue for peace. They agreed peace in the Treaty of Adrianople a month later.


Turkey's defeat by Russia severely weakened her ability to resist pressure to discuss terms for a settlement of the Greek revolt. After prolonged negotiations in London the frontiers of Greece and its status as an independent constitutional monarchy were agreed in 1830. The new state was guaranteed by Britain, Russia and France. Russia meanwhile made gains in the Causcuses.

Impact on the Concert of Europe

·         Strained relations between Austria and Russia

·         Great Britain, Russia and France had to work together


Near East Crisis 1831-33


In 1831 Mehemet Ali invaded Syria which he claimed as the reward promised to him by the Sultan for his assistance in Greece. However, in 1832 the Sultan declared war on his vassal but by the winter of 1832-3 the Turks had been decisively defeated and Constantinople was threatened by Ali's forces. Britain declines and Russia came to her aid instead in the interests of maintaining stability on the aid of the Sultan. Sending several thousand troops in February and March of 1833. Due to this show force Mehemet had secured his claim to rule Syria in May 1833.


Russia and Turkey agreed on a mutual defence pact as a reward for Russia's aid, the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi in July 1833, which gave Russia some control of the Straits.

Impact on the Concert of Europe

The main effect of the crisis was to deepen British and French mistrust of Russian policy in the Near East. British and French ambassadors did all they could to limit Russian influence on the Sultan and Russophobia


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