Crimean War

What was the Crimean War?

  • It was a war fought by an alliance of Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia against Russia. It broke out in October 1853, and Britain and France became involved in 1854 and the war ended 2 years later in February 1856.

What caused the Crimean War?

  • Russia was expanding into the Danube region which is present-day Romania. Danube was under Turkish control at the time. Turkey and Russia went to war in 1853 over it, and the year after Britain and France got involved because they feared Russia would expand rapidly.
  • Britain and France did not like to see Russia pushing down into the Danube region. They feared Russia would continue pushing down, and eventually come into British India through Afghanistan.
  • Religious tensions also played a part. Russia made an issue of the fact that the holiest sites in Christianity – Jerusalem, Bethlehem etc – were under Turkish control.
  • Russians wanted to be able to exercise protection over the Orthodox people of the Ottoman Empire.
  • There was also a dispute between Russia and France over the privileges of the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches in the holy places in Palestine.

Main Events

  • The battle of Sinope:
    • Russia sinks Ottoman ships at Sinope in the Black Sea
  • Start of the Crimean Invasion:
    • 60,000 British and French troops arrive: the key target was the Russian naval base of Sevastopol
  • The Battle of Alma:
    • The British and French defeated Russian forces at the Alma River near Sevastopol
  • The start of the siege of Sevastopol:
    • The first British and French bombardment in the city of Sevastopol.
  • The Battle of Balaclava:
    • Desperate to break the siege, the Russians advanced on the British supply base at Balaclava with 25,000 men
  • The Battle of Inkerman:
    • An unsuccessful Russian attack on British forces near Sevastopol.
  • The end of the Siege of Sevastopol:
    • The Russian evacuated Sevastopol; the British and French finally attain their target.
  • Armistice in Crimea:
    • British, French and Ottoman victory
  • The Treaty of Paris:
    • Russia regained the land that had been occupied; the Black Sea was neutralised.

 

What are the Effects of the Crimean War?

  • Russia lost, because the Europeans had modernized militaries which the Russians lacked.
  • First modern war very mechanized and marked the transition from traditional to modern warfare. There was a lot of use of new weaponry and technology.
  • Russian Expansion was ended (especially in the Ottoman Empire).
  • Embarrassment: no longer a significant military power and became behind in the race to industrialization.
  • Europeans start having a strong influence, especially Britain and France.
  • Urbanization occurs in result of influence and new reforms.
  • The Ottoman Empire becomes too dependent on European loans.
  • The Ottoman Empire’s power continues to decline until it’s end in 1922.
  • Austria becomes the mediator for peace (Treaty of Paris 1856; ended the Crimean War. Signed between Russia on one side and France, Great Britain, and Turkey/O.E on the other).

 

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The First Anglo-Afghan War Simplified

  • Afghanistan has seen a lot more warfare in modern times compared to other countries.
  • Interventions and invasions from other countries has been a constant threat there since the 1800’s.
  • The Soviet Union in the 1980’s and The US in the 2000’s have both seen what it is like to fight in Afghanistan.
  • However the first Western power to attack Afghanistan was Britain.
    • It treated the war as a buffer towards the growing Russian Empire.
    • Which resulted in the First Anglo-Afghan War
    • Anglo means English.
  • Throughout history, Afghanistan has been divided into different ethnic and tribal divisions.
    • All having their own identity, culture, languages, rules.
  • So basically unity amongst the nation was hard to achieve.
  • Afghanistan also was a tension point between Safavid Persia on the West, and Mughal India to the East.
  • However with all the tensions an Afghan State was forming, under Ahmad Shah Durrani, and he established a kingdom in Kandahar.
  • He included ethnic groups in his administration to avoid ethnic civil war.
  • But the rise of both Russian and British Empires were the problem for the Afghan State in the 1800s.
  • The British had control over parts of India, and Russia slowly entered the Central Asian Turkic areas that were around Afghanistan’s northern borders.
  • For the British, Russia’s growth was a threat, and they were afraid that Russia would invade Afghanistan and find a way to invade India through Afghanistan, since it was less mountainous there. (Himalayas everywhere else – secure border)
  • So the British tried to stop that from happening, so if they could get the Emir (king) Dost Mohammad Khan who ruled Kabul, to keep good relations w/ Russia, and stop them from invading, Britain India would be secure.
  • 1830s- however Dost Mohammad’s diplomatic skills were weak – Russians allied w/ Persia to invade Afghanistan, but the British to stop that from happening thought that full on invading Afghanistan would be better, so they overthrew Dost Mohammad Khan, and established a new Emir – Shah Shujah Durrani – (pro-British).
  • Late 1838-and beginning of 1839 Britain with 20,000 soldiers invaded Afghanistan.
    • The British were more strong when it came to equipment, technology, and training, whereas the Afghans had warriors called Ghizais, but they were not full time loyal soldiers, and had the ability to abandon the battles and blend in as normal citizens.
  • 1839- Kandahar was lost, and fell to the British in April.
    • 500-1200 Afghans were killed, and only 17 British were killed in the siege.
    • Tried to save Kabul, but army started to abandon, only 3000 men offered services.
  • British power in Kabul brought changes to the living conditions of people – lack of food and supplies, inflation, and religious ppl were almost worthless.
  • 1841 – Angry people, about 15,000 started a big protest in Kabul, and the civilians who were actually warriors also picked up weapons and fought. They very quickly weakened many of the British troops there because they were well spread out.
  • Commander of British forces – General William Elphinstone noticed the weakness on his side, and managed an agreement of  retreat to Jalalabad to the East, with an army of 4,500 and followers of 12,000, and left Kabul in 1842.
  • However Ghilzais weren’t a part of the agreement, so they ambushed and harassed the British on their way, and it was winter, so many of them died due to the climate.
  • When they arrived to Jalalabad, only 1 man survived.
  • Afghanistan had a huge victory, by defeating Elphinstone’s huge army.
    • Gov. in Kabul collapsed, and Shah Shujah Durrani was assassinated in 1842
    • Dost Mohammad Khan came back to retake position of emir.
    • National unity started in Afghanistan.
    • Xenophobia started among the Afghans.
    • First Anglo-War gave Afghanistan the reputation of “the graveyard of empires” meaning that it is unconquerable.