Russo-Turkish War (1828–29)
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|Part of Russo-Turkish Wars|
Battle of Akhalzic (1828), by January Suchodolski
| Russian Empire
|100,000 men, initially|
The Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829 was sparked by the Greek War of Independence. The war broke out after the Sultan closed the Dardanelles to Russian ships and revoked the Akkerman Convention in retaliation for Russian participation in the Battle of Navarino.
At the start of hostilities the Russian army of 100,000 men was commanded by Emperor Nicholas I, while the Ottoman forces were commanded by Hussein Pasha. In April and May 1828 the Russian commander-in-chief, Prince Peter Wittgenstein, moved into Romanian Principates Wallachia and Moldavia. In June 1828, the main Russian forces under the emperor crossed the Danube and advanced into Dobruja.
The Russians then laid prolonged sieges to three key Ottoman citadels in modern Bulgaria: Shumla, Varna, and Silistra. With the support of the Black Sea Fleet under Aleksey Greig, Varna was captured on 29 September. The siege of Shumla proved much more problematic, as the 40,000-strong Ottoman garrison outnumbered the Russian forces. As the latter were harassed by Turkish troops and ill-equipped, many of its soldiers died of disease or exhaustion. The campaign turned to be an embarrassing one for Russia, considered a great military power, as its troops had to withdraw to Moldavia with heavy losses without having captured Shumla and Silistra.
As winter approached, the Russian army was forced to leave Shumla and retreat back to Bessarabia. In February 1829 the cautious Wittgenstein was replaced by the more energetic Hans Karl von Diebitsch, and the Tsar left the army for St Petersburg. On 7 May, 60,000 soldiers led by Field Marshal Diebitsch crossed the Danube and resumed the siege of Silistra. The Sultan sent a 40,000-strong contingent to the relief of Varna, which was defeated at the Battle of Kulevicha on 30 May. Three weeks later on 19 June, Silistra fell to the Russians.
Meanwhile Ivan Paskevich advanced on the Caucasian front defeated the Turks at the Battle of Akhalzic and captured Kars on 23 June and Erzurum, in north-eastern Anatolia on 27 June, the 120th anniversary of the Poltava.
On 2 July Diebitsch launched the Transbalkan offensive, the first in Russian history since the 10th-century campaigns of Svyatoslav I. The contingent of 35,000 Russians moved across the mountains, circumventing the besieged Shumla on their way to Constantinople. The Russians captured Burgas ten days later, and the Turkish reinforcement was routed near Sliven on 31 July. By 22 August, the Russians had taken Edirne, reportedly causing the Muslim population in the city to leave. The Ottoman palace in Edirne, Saray-i Djedid-i Amare, was heavily damaged by Russian troops.
The Treaty of Adrianople
Faced with these several defeats, the Sultan decided to sue for peace. The Treaty of Adrianople on 14 September 1829 gave Russia most of the western shore of the Black Sea and the mouth of the Danube. Turkey recognized Russian sovereignty over parts of northwest present-day Armenia. Serbia achieved autonomy and Russia was allowed to occupy Moldavia and Wallachia (guaranteeing their prosperity and full "liberty of trade") until Turkey had paid a large indemnity. Moldavia and Wallachia remained Russian protectorates until the end of Crimean War. Archaic slavery[clarification needed] was abolished during this period. The Straits Question was settled four years later, when both powers signed the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi.
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