The Treaty of Paris
The Treaty of Paris was a truce to the Eastern Question, not a real peace. One clause in the treaty made the Black Sea neutral and closed it to all warships. A second forbade the building of fortifications and the presence of armaments on the shores of the Black Sea. The Black Sea became a military 'no-go' area to prevent Russia intimidating Turkey. These two clauses restored the status quo but proved only to be a truce which lasted until 1870 when Russia began to re-fortify the Black Sea and the Allies were unable to stop them.
Russia and Turkey
Russia was made to give up her claim to be the protector of the Sultan's Christian subjects. This return to the status quo requires Russia to abandon religious excuses to interfere in the Turkish Empire, but Russia failed to honour this clause: In 1876 the Turks savagely crushed a Bulgarian rising using the Bashi-Bazooks. Following these 'Bulgarian Atrocities', Russia acted the part of protector of the Slavs and Christians and invaded Turkey. In Britain, the atrocities led to Gladstone's Midlothian campaign (1879). In 1878 Bismarck called the Berlin Conference which created an autonomous 'small' Bulgaria, and put Germany on the diplomatic map.
Europe and Turkey
Although the Sultan was made to promise to reform his Empire and to become less dependent on the Powers, he did nothing, and the Ottoman Empire continued to crumble and disintegrate — which was the cause of the Bulgarian rising. Turkey was dismembered piecemeal in the nineteenth century as European areas won independence:
- Moldavia and Wallachia became the Kingdom of Romania in 1861
- Bulgaria became autonomous in 1878
- Austria-Hungary took over the administration of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1878
Russia was made to move out of the Black Sea area by being deprived of parts of Bessarabia.
Last modified 18 May 2002