Romanian War of Independence

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Romanian War of Independence (1877–1878)
Nicolae Grigorescu - Atacul de la Smardan.jpg
The Attack of Smârdan (oil on canvas, Nicolae Grigorescu)
Date 1877–1878
Location Balkans
Result Romanian / Russian victory
Treaty of San Stefano, Treaty of Berlin
Territorial
changes
Northern Dobruja passed from Ottoman Empire to Romania
Southern Bessarabia passed from Romania to Russian Empire
Belligerents
Romania Romanian Principality
Russian Empire Russia
Flag of Stiliana Paraskevova.svg Bulgarian volunteers
 Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Romania Carol I
Russian Empire Grand Duke Nikolai
Ottoman Empire Ahmed Muhtar Pasha
Ottoman Empire Ghazi Osman Pasha
Strength
Romania 66,000 troops[1]
190 cannons
Russian Empire 280,000 troops (European front)
500 cannons[2]
Flag of Stiliana Paraskevova.svg 7,000 Bulgarian volunteers[1]
Ottoman Empire 186,000 troops[1]
210 cannons
Casualties and losses
Romania 4,302 dead and missing
3,316 wounded
19,904 sick[3]
Russian Empire 27,512 killed in battle, missing in action, and died of wounds
49,828 wounded
46,000+ non-combat deaths, mostly from disease
(during the entire Russo-Turkish War)[4]
151,750+ killed, wounded, or captured
(during the entire Russo-Turkish War)[4]
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The Romanian War of Independence is the name used in Romanian historiography to refer to the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish war, following which Romania, fighting on the Russian side, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. On April 16 [O.S. April 4] 1877, Romania and the Russian Empire signed a treaty at Bucharest under which Russian troops were allowed to pass through Romanian territory, with the condition that Russia respected the integrity of Romania. The mobilization began, and about 120,000 soldiers were massed in the south of the country to defend against an eventual attack of the Ottoman forces from south of the Danube. On April 24 [O.S. April 12] 1877, Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire and its troops entered Romania through the newly built Eiffel Bridge.

Overview[edit]

On May 21 [O.S. May 9] 1877, in the Romanian parliament, Mihail Kogălniceanu declared the independence of Romania as the will of the Romanian people. A day later, the act was signed by Prince Carol I. The next day, the Romanian government canceled paying tribute to Turkey (914,000 lei), and the sum was given instead to the War Minister.

Initially, before 1877, Russia did not wish to cooperate with Romania, since they did not wish Romania to participate in the peace treaties after the war, but the Russians encountered a very strong Turkish army of 50,000 soldiers led by Osman Pasha at the Siege of Plevna (Pleven) where the Russian troops led by Russian generals suferred very heavy losses and were routed in several battles.[5]

War[edit]

Map of the Siege of Plevna
The battlefield of Plevna and Grivitsa
Romanian troops taking Grivitsa Strongpoint

Due to great losses, Nikolai Konstantinovich, Grand Duke of Russia, asked Carol I for the Romanian Army to intervene and join forces with the Russian Army.[5][6]

Prince Carol I accepted the Duke's proposal to become the Marshal of the Russian troops in addition to the Command of his own Romanian army, thus being able to lead the combined armed forces to the conquest of Plevna and the formal surrender, after heavy fighting, of the Turkish General Osman Pasha. The Romanian Army won the battles of Grivitsa and Rahova, and on 28 November 1877 the Plevna citadel capitulated, and Osman Pasha surrendered the city, the garrison and his sword to the Romanian colonel Mihail Cerchez. After the occupation of Plevna, the Romanian Army returned to the Danube and won the battles of Vidin and Smârdan.

On 19 January 1878, the Ottoman Empire requested an armistice, which was accepted by Russia and Romania. Romania won the war but at a cost of more than 10,000 casualties. Its independence from the Porte was finally recognised by the Central Powers on 13 July 1878.

Aftermath[edit]

The peace treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire was signed at San Stefano, on 3 March 1878. Russia did not keep its promises of the 4 April 1877 treaty (signed by the Russian consul Stuart Dimitri (and approved by the Czar Alexander II and the Romanian Prime Minister of the day Mihail Kogălniceanu) to respect Romania's territorial integrity.

However, the treaty was not recognised by the Central Powers and the 1878 peace conference in Berlin decided that Russia would give Romania its independence, the territories of Dobrogea, the Danube Delta and access to the Black Sea including the ancient port of Tomis (Constantza), as well as the tiny Snake Island (Insula Şerpilor), but Russia would nevertheless occupy as a so-called "compensation" the old Romanian Southern counties of Bessarabia (Cahul, Bolgrad and Ismail), which by the Treaty of Paris of 1856 (after the Crimean War) were included in Moldavia. Prince Carol was most unhappy by this imposition of Russian occupation of Romanian territories that seriously breached the Russo-Romanian treaty of 4 April 1877; he was finally persuaded by Bismarck (in now-published original letters exchanged at that time) to accept this compromise with Russia in view of the great economical potential of Romania's direct access to the Black Sea and its ancient ports at the expense of Bulgaria.[7]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Istoria Militară a Poporului Român (The Military History of the Romanian People), Centrul de Studii și Cercetări de Istorie și Teorie Militară, Editura Militară, București, 1987 (Romanian)
  2. ^ Мерников А. Г., Спектор А. А. Всемирная история войн. — Минск: 2005. — С. 376.
  3. ^ Scafes, Cornel, et al., Armata română în războiul de independență 1877–1878. București, Editura Sigma, 2002, p. 149
  4. ^ a b Kaminskii, L. S., și Novoselskii, S. A., Poteri v proșlîh voinah (Victimele războaielor trecute). Medgiz, Moscova, 1947, pp. 36, 37
  5. ^ a b http://www.archive.org/stream/reminiscencesofk00kremiala "Reminiscences of the KING OF ROMANIA", Edited from the original with an Introduction by Sidney Whitman, Authorized edition, Harper& Brothers: New York and London, 1899
  6. ^ The telegram of Nikolai to Carol I (translated in Romanian): "Turcii îngrãmãdind cele mai mari trupe la Plevna ne nimicesc. Rog sã faci fuziune, demonstratiune si dacã'i posibil sã treci Dunãrea cu armatã dupã cum doresti. Între Jiu si Corabia demonstratiunea aceasta este absolut necesarã pentru înlesnirea miscãrilor mele" ("The Turks, massing together the largest army at Pleven, are laying us waste. I ask you to make mergers, demonstrations and if it is possible cross the Danube with the army as you wish. Between Jiu and Corabia this demonstration is absolutely necessary to facilitate my movements.)
  7. ^ http://www.archive.org/stream/reminiscencesofk00kremiala "Reminiscences of the KING OF ROMANIA", Edited from the original with an Introduction by Sidney Whitman, Authorized edition, Harper& Brothers: New York and London, 1899, pp.15-20.