|Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire, for the Settlement of the Affairs of the East|
|Context||Congress of Berlin, after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878|
|Signed||13 July 1878|
|Location||Berlin, German Empire|
The Treaty of Berlin (formally the Treaty between Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Great Britain and Ireland, Italy, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire for the Settlement of Affairs in the East) was signed on 13 July 1878.In the aftermath of the Russian victory against the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, the major powers restructured the map of the Balkan region. They reversed some of the extreme gains claimed by Russia in the preliminary Treaty of San Stefano, but the Ottomans lost their major holdings in Europe. It was one of three major peace agreements in the period after the 1815 Congress of Vienna. It was the final act of the Congress of Berlin (13 June – 13 July 1878) and included Great Britain and Ireland, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the Ottoman Empire. Chancellor of Germany Otto von Bismarck was the chairman and dominant personality.
The most important task of the Congress was to decide the fate of Bulgaria, but Bulgaria itself was excluded from participation in the talks, at Russian insistence.At the time, as it was not a sovereign state, Bulgaria was not a subject of international law, and the same went for the Bulgarians themselves. The exclusion was already an established fact in the great powers' Constantinople Conference, which had been held one year before without any Bulgarian participation.
The most notable result of the conference was the official recognition of the newly independent states of Romania, Serbia and Montenegro (which had de facto been acting independently for decades).
The Paris Peace Treaty of 1856, which ended the Crimean War, had made the Black Sea a neutral territory. The treaty had protected the Ottoman Empire, ended the Holy Alliance (Austria, Prussia and Russia) and weakened Russia's position in Europe. In 1870, Russia invoked the doctrine of rebus sic stantibus and effectively terminated the treaty by breaching provisions concerning the neutrality of the Black Sea. The great powers became increasingly convinced that the Ottoman Empire would not be able to hold its territories in Europe.
In 1875, the Herzegovina uprising resulted in the Great Eastern Crisis. As the conflict in the Balkans intensified, atrocities during the 1876 April Uprising in Bulgaria inflamed anti-Turkish sentiments in Russia and Britain, which eventually culminated in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877.
The treaty formally recognized the independence of the de facto sovereign principalities of Romania, Serbia and Montenegro and the autonomy of Bulgaria although the latter de facto functioned independently and was divided into three parts: the Principality of Bulgaria, the autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia, and Macedonia, which was given back to the Ottomans,thus undoing Russian plans for an independent and Russophile "Greater Bulgaria". The Treaty of San Stefano had created a Bulgarian state, which was just what Britain and Austria-Hungary feared the most.
The Treaty of Berlin confirmed most of the Russian gains from the Ottoman Empire specified in the Treaty of San Stefano, but the valley of Alashkerd and the town of Bayazid were returned to the Ottomans.The 1879 Treaty of Constantinople was a further continuation of negotiations. It reaffirmed the provisions of the Treaty of San Stefano which had not been modified by the Berlin Treaty and established amounts of compensation that the Ottoman Empire owed to Russia for losses to businesses and institutions during the war. It granted amnesty to Ottoman subjects and for release of prisoners of war. In addition, Article VII of the treaty provided that in the territory acquired by Russia, subjects could choose whether they wished to be Ottoman or Russian subjects for a period of six months after the agreement became effective.
Despite the pleas of the Romanian delegates, Romania was forced to cede southern Bessarabia to the Russian Empire.As a compensation, Romania received Dobruja, including the Danube Delta. The treaty also limited the Russian occupation of Bulgaria to 9 months, which limited the time during which Russian troops and supplies could be moved through Romanian territory.
The three newly independent states subsequently proclaimed themselves kingdoms: Romania in 1881, Serbia in 1882 and Montenegro in 1910, and Bulgaria proclaimed full independence in 1908 after it had united with Eastern Rumelia in 1885. Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia in 1908, sparking the Bosnian crisis, a major European crisis that reinforced pre-World War I alliances.
The Treaty of Berlin accorded special legal status to some religious groups and also would serve as a model for the Minority Treaties, which would be established within the framework of the League of Nations. [ citation needed ]It stipulated that Romania recognize non-Christians (Jews and Muslims) as full citizens. It also vaguely called for a border rectification between Greece and the Ottoman Empire, which occurred after protracted negotiations in 1881, with the transfer of Thessaly to Greece.
In the "Salisbury Circular" of 1 April, British Foreign Secretary, the Marquess of Salisbury, made clear his own and his government's objections to the Treaty of San Stefano and its favourable position of Russia.Historian AJP Taylor wrote, "If the treaty of San Stefano had been maintained, both the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary might have survived to the present day. The British, except for Beaconsfield in his wilder moments, had expected less and were, therefore, less disappointed. Salisbury wrote at the end of 1878: 'We shall set up a rickety sort of Turkish rule again south of the Balkans. But it is a mere respite. There is no vitality left in them. The treaty also calls on the parties involved to attack the nation that violates the treaty.'"
The Kosovo Vilayet remained part of the Ottoman Empire. Austria-Hungary was allowed to station military garrisons in the Ottoman Vilayet of Bosnia and the Sanjak of Novi Pazar. The Vilayet of Bosnia was placed under Austro-Hungarian occupation although it formally remained part of the Ottoman Empire until it was annexed by Austria-Hungary thirty years later, on 5 October 1908. The Austro-Hungarian garrisons in the Sanjak of Novi Pazar were withdrawn in 1908, after the annexation of the Vilayet of Bosnia and the resulting Bosnian Crisis, [ citation needed ]to reach a compromise with the Ottoman Empire, which was struggling with internal strife because of the Young Turk Revolution (1908). The chaotic situation in the Ottoman Empire also allowed Bulgaria to formally declare its independence on 5 October 1908.
The Balkan Wars refers to a series of two conflicts that took place in the Balkan States in 1912 and 1913. In the First Balkan War, the four Balkan States of Greece, Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria declared war upon the Ottoman Empire and defeated it, in the process stripping the Ottomans of its European provinces, leaving only Eastern Thrace under the Ottoman Empire's control. In the Second Balkan War, Bulgaria fought against all four original combatants of the first war. It also faced an attack from Romania from the north. The Ottoman Empire lost the bulk of its territory in Europe. Although not involved as a combatant, Austria-Hungary became relatively weaker as a much enlarged Serbia pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples. The war set the stage for the Balkan crisis of 1914 and thus served as a "prelude to the First World War".
The League of the Balkans was a quadruple alliance formed by a series of bilateral treaties concluded in 1912 between the Eastern Orthodox kingdoms of Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, and directed against the Ottoman Empire, which at the time still controlled much of Southeastern Europe.
The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 was a conflict between the Ottoman Empire and the Eastern Orthodox Christians coalition led by the Russian Empire and composed of Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro. Fought in the Balkans and in the Caucasus, it originated in emerging 19th century Balkan nationalism. Additional factors included the Russian goals of recovering territorial losses endured during the Crimean War of 1853–56, re-establishing itself in the Black Sea and supporting the political movement attempting to free Balkan nations from the Ottoman Empire.
The League of Prizren, officially the League for the Defense of the Rights of the Albanian Nation, was an Albanian political organization which was officially founded on June 10, 1878 in the old town of Prizren in the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire, and suppressed in 1881.
The Congress of Berlin was a diplomatic conference to reorganise the states in the Balkan Peninsula after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, which had been won by Russia against the Ottoman Empire. Represented at the meeting were Europe's then six great powers: Russia, Great Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, Italy and Germany; the Ottomans; and four Balkan states: Greece, Serbia, Romania and Montenegro. The congress concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Berlin, replacing the preliminary Treaty of San Stefano that had been signed three months earlier.
The 1878 Treaty of San Stefano was a treaty between the Russian and Ottoman empires at the conclusion of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. It was signed at San Stefano, then a village west of Constantinople, on 3 March [O.S. 19 February] 1878 by Count Nicholas Pavlovich Ignatiev and Aleksandr Nelidov on behalf of the Russian Empire and by Foreign Minister Saffet Pasha and Ambassador to Germany Sadullah Bey on behalf of the Ottoman Empire.
In diplomatic history, the Eastern question was the issue of the political and economic instability in the Ottoman Empire from the late 18th to early 20th centuries and the subsequent strategic competition and political considerations of the European great powers in light of this. Characterized as the "sick man of Europe", the relative weakening of the empire's military strength in the second half of the eighteenth century threatened to undermine the fragile balance of power system largely shaped by the Concert of Europe. The Eastern question encompassed myriad interrelated elements: Ottoman military defeats, Ottoman institutional insolvency, the ongoing Ottoman political and economic modernization programme, the rise of ethno-religious nationalism in its provinces, and Great Power rivalries.
The Bosnian Crisis, also known as the Annexation Crisis or the First Balkan Crisis, erupted on 5 October 1908 when Austria-Hungary announced the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, territories formerly within the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire but under Austro-Hungarian administration since 1878.
The Kingdom of Serbia was a country located in the Balkans which was created when the ruler of the Principality of Serbia, Milan I, was proclaimed king in 1882. Since 1817, the Principality was ruled by the Obrenović dynasty. The Principality, under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire, de facto achieved full independence when the last Ottoman troops left Belgrade in 1867. The Congress of Berlin in 1878 recognized the formal independence of the Principality of Serbia, and in its composition Nišava, Pirot, Toplica and Vranje districts entered the South part of Serbia.
The Unification of Bulgaria was the act of unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and the province of Eastern Rumelia in the autumn of 1885. It was co-ordinated by the Bulgarian Secret Central Revolutionary Committee (BSCRC). Both had been parts of the Ottoman Empire, but the Principality had functioned de facto independently whilst the Rumelian province was autonomous and had an Ottoman presence. The Unification was accomplished after revolts in Eastern Rumelian towns, followed by a coup on 18 September [O.S. 6 September] 1885 supported by the Bulgarian Knyaz Alexander I. The BSCRC, formed by Zahari Stoyanov, began actively popularizing the idea of unification by means of the press and public demonstrations in the spring of 1885.
The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire (1908–1922) began with the Young Turk Revolution which restored the constitution of 1876 and brought in multi-party politics with a two-stage electoral system for the Ottoman parliament. At the same time, a nascent movement called Ottomanism was promoted in an attempt to maintain the unity of the Empire, emphasising a collective Ottoman nationalism regardless of religion or ethnicity. Within the empire, the new constitution was initially seen positively, as an opportunity to modernize state institutions and resolve inter-communal tensions between different ethnic groups.
The Russo-Turkish wars were a series of twelve wars fought between the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire between the 16th and 20th centuries. It was one of the longest series of military conflicts in European history. Except for the war of 1710–11 and the Crimean War, which is often treated as a separate event, the conflicts ended disastrously for the Ottoman Empire; conversely, they showcased the ascendancy of Russia as a European power after the modernization efforts of Peter the Great in the early 18th century.
The National awakening of Bulgaria refers to the Bulgarian nationalism that emerged in the early 19th century under the influence of western ideas such as liberalism and nationalism, which trickled into the country after the French revolution, mostly via Greece, although there were stirrings in the 18th century. Russia, as fellow Orthodox Slavs, could appeal to the Bulgarians in a way that Austria could not. The Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca of 1774 gave Russia the right to interfere in Ottoman affairs to protect the Sultan's Christian subjects.
The Armenian question was the debate following the Congress of Berlin in 1878 as to how the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire should be treated. The term became commonplace among diplomatic circles and in the popular press. In specific terms, the Armenian question refers to the protection and the freedoms of Armenians from their neighboring communities. The Armenian question explains the 40 years of Armenian–Ottoman history in the context of English, German, and Russian politics between 1877 and 1914. In 1915, the leadership of the Committee of Union and Progress, which controlled the Ottoman government, decided to end the Armenian question permanently by killing and expelling most Armenians from the empire, in the Armenian genocide.
The Bulgarian Crisis refers to a series of events in the Balkans between 1885 and 1888 that affected the balance of power between the Great Powers and the conflict between the Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire. It was one of several episodes in the continuing Balkan Crisis as vassal states struggled for independence from the Ottoman Empire but achieved a mosaic of nascent nation-states (Balkanisation). They featured unstable alliances that frequently led to war and eventually to the First World War.
The Reichstadt agreement was an agreement made between Austria-Hungary and Russia in July 1876, who were at that time in an alliance with each other and Germany in the League of the Three Emperors, or Dreikaiserbund. Present were the Russian and Austro-Hungarian emperors together with their foreign ministers, Prince Gorchakov of Russia and Count Andrassy of Austria-Hungary. The closed meeting took place on July 8 in the Bohemian city of Reichstadt. They agreed on a common approach to the solution of the Eastern question, due to the unrest in the Ottoman Empire and the interests of the two major powers in the Balkans. They discussed the likely Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, its possible outcomes and what should happen under each scenario.
This is the territorial evolution of the Ottoman Empire during a timespan of seven centuries.
The 1876–77 Constantinople Conference of the Great Powers was held in Constantinople from 23 December 1876 until 20 January 1877. Following the beginning of the Herzegovinian Uprising in 1875 and the April Uprising in April 1876, the Great Powers agreed on a project for political reforms in Bosnia and in the Ottoman territories with a majority-Bulgarian population. The Ottoman Empire refused the proposed reforms, leading to the Russo-Turkish War a few months later.
The Budapest Convention was a secret agreement between Austria-Hungary and Russia in 1877 to agree on policies and the division of powers in Southeast Europe in the eventuality of war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. The so-called Eastern Question, the division of the declining Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, was a priority of the European great powers in the nineteenth century. For Russia, obtaining assurances of Austro-Hungarian neutrality was also a priority.
The Great Eastern Crisis of 1875–78 began in the Ottoman Empire's territories on the Balkan peninsula in 1875, with the outbreak of several uprisings and wars that resulted in the intervention of international powers, and was ended with the Treaty of Berlin in July 1878.
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