Treaty of Constantinople (1800)

Last updated

The Treaty of Constantinople of 2 April [ O.S. 21 March] 1800 was concluded between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire, and heralded the creation of the Septinsular Republic, the first autonomous Greek state since the Fall of the Byzantine Empire.

Contents

Background

The Ionian Islands (Corfu, Paxoi, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Lefkada, Ithaca, and Kythira) along with a handful of exclaves on the Epirote mainland, namely the coastal towns of Parga, Preveza, Vonitsa, and Butrinto, had been Venetian possessions for centuries, thereby becoming the only part of the Greek world to escape conquest by the Ottoman Empire. [1] Following the Fall of the Republic of Venice in 1797, the islands came under French control, with French troops disembarking on Corfu on 28 June 1797. [2] The French were welcomed by the populace, and the radical ideas of the French Revolution were implemented with the abolition of the local nobility and the installation of democratic regimes and local self-government on the islands. [3] In the Treaty of Campo Formio, the islands were annexed as French departments. [4]

Map of the Septinsular Republic in orange, in 1801; Ottoman territory in green SeptinsularRepublic1801.jpg
Map of the Septinsular Republic in orange, in 1801; Ottoman territory in green

The French presence was resented by the local aristocracy, now deprived of its privileges, while the heavy taxation and anti-clericalism of the French soon made them unpopular with broad sections of the common populace as well. [5] Following the French invasion of Egypt furthermore, the French presence in the Ionian Islands aroused the opposition of the Ottomans and the Russian Empire. In autumn 1798, a joint Russo-Ottoman fleet evicted the French from the other islands and finally captured Corfu in March 1799, while the autonomous Ottoman strongman Ali Pasha of Yanina took the opportunity to seize Butrinto, Preveza, and Vonitsa from the French. [6] In all the islands they occupied, the Russians installed provisional administrations of nobles and burghers. Very soon, the Russian authorities invited assemblies of the nobles to undertake the governance of the Ionian Islands, thereby restoring the previous status quo. [7] On 6 May, the commanders of the two fleets announced that the Ionian Islands would comprise a unitary state, governed by a Senate (Γερουσία) in Corfu city, composed of three representatives each from Corfu, Cephalonia, and Zakynthos, two from Lefkada, and one each from Ithaca, Kythira, and Paxoi. The Venetian nobleman Angelo Orio  [ el ], the last Venetian provveditore of Argostoli, was appointed head of the Senate, and entrusted with the creation of a constitution for the new state. [7] Orio's constitution envisaged a thoroughly aristocratic regime, with each island headed by a Great Council composed of the nobles and the upper bourgeoisie. The Great Councils would elected the senators. Each island would retain a local administration and a treasury, but a central treasury would exist in Corfu. The Senate was the ultimate executive authority, and its chairman the head of state. A Small Council of 40 would be elected by the Great Councils of the three largest islands, and would be responsible for justice, the selection of officials, and advising on legislation. [7]

On 21 June 1799, the Senate decided to send a twelve-member delegation to Constantinople and Saint Petersburg to express its gratitude to the Sultan and Tsar, but also press for the restoration of the Islands' maritime and land frontier with the withdrawal of Ali Pasha from Butrinto, Preveza, and Vonitsa, and their recognition as an independent state. As Angelo Orio participated in the delegation, he was replaced as head of the Senate by Count Spyridon Georgios Theotokis. Once in Constantinople, however, the delegation quickly realized that the Porte was not interested in recognizing the Islands' independence, but rather in creating a vassal state under Ottoman suzerainty. At the suggestion of the Russian ambassador, Vasily Tomara  [ ru ], the delegation submitted a memorandum to the other ambassadors, requesting the recognition of the Islands as an independent and federal state, under the protection of the European powers. Two of the delegates, the Corfiot Count Antonio Maria Capodistrias and the Zakynthian Count Nikolaos Gradenigos Sigouros Desyllas remained in Constantinople to conduct negotiations with the Porte, while Orio and another delegate, Kladas, were to represent the Ionian cause in Saint Petersburg. [8]

Provisions of the treaty

The negotiations and mutual rivalties between Russia, the Porte, and the Islanders, led to the signing of the Treaty of Constantinople on 21 March 1800, which created the first autonomous Greek state since the Fall of the Byzantine Empire. [9] [9]

According to the provisions of the treaty, the Ionian Islands would be a unitary, autonomous state, under the name Republic of the Seven United Islands (Greek : Πολιτεία τῶν Ἑπτὰ Ἑνωμένων Νήσων). It would follow the long-established model of the Republic of Ragusa, being an aristocratic republic led by the "primates and notables", and under Ottoman suzerainty, as token of which they would pay an annual tribute of 75,000 piastres to the Sultan. [9] This was a victory for the Sultan, and a disappointment for the Islanders, who had been promised the right to choose their own form of governance in the proclamations of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Gregory V, and the head of the Russian fleet, Admiral Fyodor Ushakov. [10] The new state's constitution, once agreed, would be approved by the signatory powers. [9] As the new state lacked military forces, Russian and Ottoman forces would remain to garrison its forts and guarantee its security until the end of the war against France. [9]

The mainland exclaves of Parga, Vonitsa, Preveza, and Butrinto, would come under Ottoman control but would enjoy a special status similar to that of the Danubian Principalities: they would enjoy special privileges as to the practice of the Christian religion and administration of justice, and no Muslim would be allowed to own land or settle there, apart from the Ottoman commandant. Taxation was also set at no more than had been under Venetian rule, and a two-year tax exemption was announced to recover from the effects of French rule and the war. [11]

The "Byzantine" Constitution and ratification

Flag of the Septinsular Republic Flag of the Septinsular Republic.svg
Flag of the Septinsular Republic

Capodistrias and Sigouros Desyllas also composed a draft for the new constitution, and designed the new flag of the state. The so-called "Byzantine" Constitution, as it was composed in Constantinople (Byzantion), comprised 37 articles. It envisaged an aristocratic federal republic, with a local administration on every island, headed by three syndics, to be chosen annually from the Great Council of the nobles of each island. The syndics elected a prytanis as head of administration for four-month tenures. The Senate in Corfu remained the highest authority of the federal state, composed of the representatives of the islands. Its chairman, the archon , was the head of state. [10] In keeping with the reactionary ideas embodied in the constitution was also the new flag, sporting the Venetian Lion of Saint Mark holding a bundle of seven arrows, symbolizing the islands, and a Bible; more radical suggestions, such as the rising phoenix, were rejected. [10]

On 1 November 1800, the delegates were received by the Grand Vizier, who presented them with the new constitution, a diploma recognizing the autonomy of the Republic and regulated its relations to the Porte, and the new flag. Then a solemn procession brought them to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Phanar, where Patriarch Neophytus VII blessed the flag of the new state. [10] The treaty was recognized, and adhered to, by the United Kingdom in January 1801. [10]

Aftermath

The new regime envisaged in the "Byzantine" Constitution proved short-lived, as popular reaction led to the adoption of new constitutions in 1801 and 1803. [12] The Septinsular Republic survived until the reimposition of French rule in 1807, following the Treaty of Tilsit. The British soon challenged the French for mastery, and in 1809 took control of most of the islands; Corfu surrendered following the resignation of Napoleon in 1814. In 1815 the British established the United States of the Ionian Islands. [13]

Related Research Articles

Epirus historical region in the Balkans

Epirus is a geographical and historical region in southeastern Europe, now shared between Greece and Albania. It lies between the Pindus Mountains and the Ionian Sea, stretching from the Bay of Vlorë and the Acroceraunian mountains in the north to the Ambracian Gulf and the ruined Roman city of Nicopolis in the south. It is currently divided between the region of Epirus in northwestern Greece and the counties of Gjirokastër, Vlorë, and Berat in southern Albania. The largest city in Epirus is Ioannina, seat of the region of Epirus, with Gjirokastër the largest city in the Albanian part of Epirus.

Battle of Preveza 1538 naval battle

The Battle of Preveza was a naval battle that took place on 28 September 1538 near Preveza in northwestern Greece between an Ottoman fleet and that of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III in which the Ottoman fleet defeated the allies. It occurred in the same area in the Ionian Sea as the Battle of Actium, 31 BC. It was one of the three largest sea battles that took place in the sixteenth century Mediterranean.

Ionian Islands Traditional region of Greece

The Ionian Islands are a group of islands in Greece. They are traditionally called the Heptanese, but the group includes many smaller islands as well as the seven principal ones.

Ottoman Greece

Most of the areas which today are within modern Greece's borders were at some point in the past a part of the Ottoman Empire. This period of Ottoman rule in Greece, lasting from the mid-15th century until the successful Greek War of Independence that broke out in 1821 and the proclamation of the First Hellenic Republic in 1822, is known in Greek as Tourkokratia. Some regions, however, like the Ionian islands, various temporary Venetian possessions of the Stato da Mar, or Mani peninsula in Peloponnese did not become part of the Ottoman administration, although the latter was under Ottoman suzerainty.

Septinsular Republic former Napoleonic client state in the Greek islands

The Septinsular Republic was an oligarchic republic that existed from 1800 to 1807 under nominal Russian and Ottoman sovereignty in the Ionian Islands.

Great Turkish War Series of conflicts (1683–1699) between the Ottoman Empire and the Holy League

The Great Turkish War or the War of the Holy League was a series of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Holy League consisting of the Habsburg Monarchy, Poland-Lithuania, Venice and Russia. Intensive fighting began in 1683 and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699. The war was a defeat for the Ottoman Empire, which for the first time lost large amounts of territory. It lost lands in Hungary and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, as well as part of the western Balkans. The war was also significant in that it marked the first time Russia was involved in a western European alliance.

The Italian title prov[v]editore, "he who sees to things" (overseer), was the style of various local district governors in the extensive, mainly maritime empire of the Republic of Venice. Like many political appointments, it was often held by noblemen as a stage in their career, usually for a few years.

United States of the Ionian Islands former British protectorate in the Greek islands

The United States of the Ionian Islands was a state and amical protectorate of the United Kingdom between 1815 and 1864. It was the successor state of the Septinsular Republic. It covered the territory of the Ionian Islands, in modern Greece, and it was ceded to Greece as a gift of the United Kingdom to the newly enthroned King George I after the Resolution for union with Greece which was proposed by the Party of the Radicals.

Treaty of Constantinople or Treaty of Istanbul may refer to the following treaties signed in Constantinople :

The Morean War is the better-known name for the Sixth Ottoman–Venetian War. The war was fought between 1684–1699, as part of the wider conflict known as the "Great Turkish War", between the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire. Military operations ranged from Dalmatia to the Aegean Sea, but the war's major campaign was the Venetian conquest of the Morea (Peloponnese) peninsula in southern Greece. On the Venetian side, the war was fought to avenge the loss of Crete in the Cretan War (1645–1669), while the Ottomans were entangled in their northern frontier against the Habsburgs and were unable to concentrate their forces against the Republic. As such, the Morean War was the only Ottoman–Venetian conflict from which Venice emerged victorious, gaining significant territory. Venice's expansionist revival would be short-lived, as its gains would be reversed by the Ottomans in 1718.

Ottoman–Venetian War (1714–1718) Early modern war, Ottoman victory

The Seventh Ottoman–Venetian War was fought between the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire between 1714 and 1718. It was the last conflict between the two powers, and ended with an Ottoman victory and the loss of Venice's major possession in the Greek peninsula, the Peloponnese (Morea). Venice was saved from a greater defeat by the intervention of Austria in 1716. The Austrian victories led to the signing of the Treaty of Passarowitz in 1718, which ended the war.

Ithaque former French department (1797-1802)

Ithaque was one of three short-lived French departments of Greece. It came into existence after Napoleon's conquest in 1797 of the Republic of Venice, when Venetian Greek possessions such as the Ionian islands fell to the French Directory. It included the islands of Ithaca, Kefalonia and Lefkada, as well as the cities of Preveza and Vonitsa on the adjacent mainland. Its prefecture was at Argostoli. The islands were lost to Russia in 1798 and the department was officially disbanded in 1802.

<i>Frankokratia</i>

The Frankokratia, also known as Latinokratia and, for the Venetian domains, Venetokratia or Enetokratia, was the period in Greek history after the Fourth Crusade (1204), when a number of primarily French and Italian Crusader states were established on the territory of the dissolved Byzantine Empire.

Ioannis Kapodistrias Governor of the First Hellenic Republic

Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias, sometimes anglicized as John Capodistrias, was a Greek statesman who served as the Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire and was one of the most distinguished politicians and diplomats of Europe. After a long and distinguished career in European politics and diplomacy he was elected as the first head of state of independent Greece (1827–31). He is considered the founder of the modern Greek state, and the architect of Greek independence.

French rule in the Ionian Islands (1797–1799)

The first period of French rule in the Ionian Islands lasted from June 1797 to March 1799. Following the Fall of the Republic of Venice in May 1797, the Ionian Islands, a Venetian possession, were occupied by the French Republic. The French instituted a new, democratic regime and, following the Treaty of Campo Formio, annexed the islands to France, forming the three departments of Corcyre (Corfu), Ithaque (Ithaca) and Mer-Égée.

Venetian rule in the Ionian Islands colonial government of the Republic of Venice in the Greek islands (1363–1797)

The Ionian Islands were an overseas possession of the Republic of Venice from the mid-14th century until the late 18th century. The conquest of the islands took place gradually. The first to be acquired was Cythera and the neighboring islet of Anticythera, indirectly in 1238 and directly after 1363. In 1386, Corfu voluntarily became part of Venice's colonies. Following a century, Venice captured Zante in 1485, Cephalonia in 1500 and Ithaca in 1503. The conquest was completed in 1718 with the capture of Lefkada. Each of the islands remained part of the Venetian Stato da Màr until Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the Republic of Venice in 1797, annexing Corfu. The Ionian Islands are situated in the Ionian Sea, off the west coast of Greece. Cythera, the southernmost, is just off the southern tip of the Peloponnese and Corfu, the northernmost, is located at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea. In modern Greek, the period of Venetian rule over Greek territory is known as Venetokratia or Enetokratia and literally means "rule of the Venetians". It is believed that the Venetian period on the Ionian Islands was agreeable, especially compared with the coinciding Tourkokratia — Turkish rule over the remainder of present-day Greece.

Siege of Corfu (1716)

The Siege of Corfu took place on 8 July – 21 August 1716, when the Ottoman Empire besieged the city of Corfu, on the namesake island, then held by the Republic of Venice. The siege was part of the Seventh Ottoman–Venetian War, and, coming in the aftermath of the lightning conquest of the Morea by the Ottoman forces in the previous year, was a major success for Venice, representing its last major military success and allowing it to preserve its rule over the Ionian Islands.

Gouvia Place in Greece

Gouvia is a village and resort situated around Gouvino Bay in Corfu, Greece. It is situated around 8km North of Corfu town.

History of Zakynthos

Zakynthos is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the third largest of the Ionian Islands. Today, Zakynthos is a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and its only municipality. It covers an area of 405.55 km2 (156.6 sq mi) and its coastline is roughly 123 km (76 mi) in length. The name, like all similar names ending in -nthos, is pre-Mycenaean or Pelasgian in origin. In Greek mythology the island was said to be named after Zakynthos, the son of a legendary Arcadian chief Dardanus.

French rule in the Ionian Islands (1807–1814)

The second period of French rule in the Ionian Islands began in August 1807, when the Septinsular Republic, a Russian protectorate comprising the seven Ionian Islands, was occupied by the First French Empire in accordance with the Treaty of Tilsit. The French annexed the Republic but maintained most of its institutions for local governance. In 1809–10, the British occupied the southernmost islands, leaving only Corfu, Paxoi, and the mainland exclave of Parga in French hands. The British also imposed a naval blockade on the French-ruled islands, which began to suffer from famine. Finally, the British occupied Paxoi in late 1813 and Parga in March 1814. Following the Abdication of Napoleon, the French governor-general in Corfu, François-Xavier Donzelot, capitulated and the French garrison was evacuated. In 1815, the islands became a British protectorate, the United States of the Ionian Islands.

References

  1. Moschonas 1975, p. 382.
  2. Moschonas 1975, pp. 382–383.
  3. Moschonas 1975, pp. 383–385.
  4. Moschonas 1975, pp. 385–387.
  5. Moschonas 1975, pp. 385, 387.
  6. Moschonas 1975, pp. 389–392.
  7. 1 2 3 Moschonas 1975, p. 392.
  8. Moschonas 1975, pp. 392–393.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 Moschonas 1975, p. 393.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 Moschonas 1975, p. 394.
  11. Moschonas 1975, pp. 393–394.
  12. Moschonas 1975, pp. 394–397.
  13. Moschonas 1975, pp. 399–401.

Sources