Convention of London (1840)
|Signed||15 July 1840|
|Signatories|| United Kingdom
The Convention of London of 1840 was a treaty with the title of Convention for the Pacification of the Levant, signed on 15 July 1840 between the Great Powers of United Kingdom, Austria, Prussia, Russia on the one hand, and the Ottoman Empire on the other.
The treaty summarized recent agreements concerning the Ottoman Empire and its second war with Muhammad Ali's Egypt. It was brought about by the Great Powers' fear of the destabilizing effect an Ottoman collapse would have on Europe. In return for the Ottomans declaring the Dardanelles closed to all non-Ottoman warships in peacetime, the signatories offered to Muhammad Ali and his heirs permanent control over Egypt and the Eyalet of Acre, provided that these territories would remain part of the Ottoman Empire. If he did not accept withdrawal of his forces within ten days he should lose the offer in southern Syrian; if he delayed acceptance more than 20 days, he should forfeit everything offered. He also had to return, to Sultan Abdülmecid I, the Ottoman fleet which had defected to Alexandria. Muhammad Ali was also to immediately withdraw its forces from Arabia, the Holy Cities, Crete, the district of Adana, all within the Ottoman Empire.
The European powers agreed to use all possible means of persuasion to effect this agreement, but Muhammad Ali, backed by France, refused to accept its terms in the time given. This led to the Oriental Crisis of 1840 during which British and Austrian forces attacked Acre, defeating his troops late in 1840. Muhammad Ali's forces faced increasing military pressure from Europe and the Ottoman Empire, fought a losing battle against insurgents in its captured territories, and saw the general deterioration of its military from the strain of the recent wars.
Muhammad Ali finally accepted the terms of the Convention and the firmans subsequently issued by the sultan, confirming his rule over Egypt and the Sudan. He withdrew from Syria and Crete and sent back the Ottoman fleet. The London Convention and the firmans were the legal basis for Egypt's status as a privileged Ottoman province. Later Egyptian nationalists cited them to discredit claims for the British occupation.
- Geoffrey G. Butler, Simon Maccoby, The Development of International Law, p. 440
- Goldschmidt, A.; Johnston, R. (2004), Historical Dictionary of Egypt (3rd ed.), American University in Cairo Press, p. 243
- Berger, M. (1960), Military Elite and Social Change: Egypt Since Napoleon, Princeton: Center for International Studies, p. 11
- Rich, N. (1992), Great Power Diplomacy, 1814-1914. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
- Convention between Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and Turkey for the pacification of the Levant (text of the treaty, published in William Cargill: The Foreign Affairs of Great Britain; Google Books)