Battle of Adrianople (1829)
The Battle of Adrianople was one of the last clashes of the Russo-Turkish War (1828/29) ; in fact, hardly any real fighting took place in this decisive action. With the Peace of Adrianople , the war ended only a few weeks later.
A dispute had been smoldering between the Russian Tsar and the Ottoman Sultan for some time after Russia, as the protective power of the Orthodox Greeks, supported their struggle for independence . After Russia's participation in the Battle of Navarino and the defeat of the Ottoman-Egyptian fleet, the dispute escalated. The Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II closed the Bosphorus for the passage of Russian ships into the Black Sea, thereby terminating the Akkerman Agreement (1826). This brought Russian trade with the Mediterranean countries to a standstill. The Ottoman army and navy were already weakened by the fighting against the Greek revolutionaries and the structures were not stable due to a military reform, so that the Russian military saw its chance to gain control of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles and possibly by an attack on the Ottoman Empire to force further territorial gains in Greece and the Balkans. In addition to the Balkans, Russia also wanted to increase its influence on the Caucasus. One of the main concerns of Russia was to strengthen the border with the Ottoman Empire. Although this was not an urgent reason for the war, territorial gains should also be possible here through a victory.
When the fighting broke out, the Russian army consisted of 92,000 men and the Ottoman armed forces of around 150,000 soldiers under the command of Hussein Pasha. In June 1828, the Russians crossed under the command of Count Wittgenstein , the Danube and blew the Dobrogea ago. The siege of the Shumen fortress turned out to be difficult, as the 40,000-strong Ottoman garrison in the city was able to resist the Russians for a long time. In mid-July, the Russian fleet under Admiral Greigh arrived and landed reinforcements on the Black Sea coast in order to be able to block the garrisons of Silistria and Varna .
The newly appointed Commander-in-Chief General Diebitsch decided to bypass the strong fortress line after leaving stronger troops behind. At the end of May 1829 the Russian fleet under the admirals Greigh and Heiden began to block the straits at Constantinople and interrupted all shipments. The offensive initiated at the beginning of July across the Balkans then allowed Diebitsch to advance towards Adrianople without great effort. Nevertheless, the way there was difficult for the Russian soldiers and a siege of the city was not easily possible for the soldiers, exhausted by the march. Instead of giving the soldiers a break, Diebitsch pushed his soldiers forward, hoping to get the defenders to believe that a strong Russian army was on the march.
In fact, there was hardly any real fighting. The Ottoman defenders were surprised and frightened by the appearance of the Russian army on August 8, 1829 at their gates. After brief fighting, the city capitulated. The Russian tactics worked and so the tsar was able to take the European capital of the Ottoman Empire quickly and bloodlessly.
One reason for the city's quick surrender could have been the fact that there were many former members of the Janissaries in the Adrianople garrison , which the Sultan had recently dissolved and thus curtailed their power. Many of the janissaries deserted after the appearance of the Russian armed forces. Many of these soldiers were later arrested for instigating an uprising against the Sultan in Constantinople.
The Ottoman palace was badly damaged in the fighting.
Despite the advice of his advisors to consider a peace after the loss of Adrianople, the Sultan decided to keep fighting, but eventually realized that the war was lost as the Russians drew nearer to Constantinople. Turkish negotiators reached the city on August 17th, 1829 and began negotiating a peace treaty, which was finally signed on September 2nd.
The treaty changed the territorial ownership of Russia and the Ottoman Empire in Europe and the Caucasus. Although the boundaries barely shifted, the changes were not insignificant. In the Caucasus, the Russians got some strategically important points and a small port. All other conquered areas were returned to the Ottomans. The more decisive changes affected the Balkans, particularly the Moldavia and Wallachia , although here too large areas and the city of Adrianople were returned to the Ottoman Empire. The two regions had previously been administered by the Ottomans and were only allowed to enjoy little autonomy. According to the Treaty of Adrianople, the regions were allowed to administer themselves and were Russian protectorates , even if they remained Ottoman territory. Serbia was granted greater autonomy and the Ottoman administration was almost abolished. In addition, the Ottoman fortresses in the Balkans were razed along the Danube, thus softening the Ottoman defensive wall and thereby reducing its influence.
Russian access to the Dardanelles has also been reorganized. Their merchant ships were granted unrestricted access, as were ships from trading partners of other nations trading with Russia. This gave the Russian Empire an opportunity for unrestricted trade. With unrestricted access to the Dardanelles, the Ottomans lost an important leverage in negotiations.
Some Caucasian commanders only learned of the end of the fighting days after the peace agreement. Even after the official peace agreement in the Caucasus, there were other minor fighting.
- Shirley Elson Roessler, Reny Miklos: Europe 1715-1919: from Enlightenment to World War . Rowman and Littlefield, Oxford 2003, ISBN 0742527662
- W.ED Allen, Paul Muratoff: Caucasian Battlefields: a History of the Wars on the Turco-Caucasian Border 1828-1921 . Battery Press, Nashville 1999, ISBN 0898392969
- Patrick Balfour Kinross: The Ottoman Centuries: the Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire . Morrow Quill, New York 1977, ISBN 0688080936
- Alexander Bitis: Russia and the Eastern Question: army, government, and society: 1815-1833 . Oxford University Press, New York 2006, ISBN 0197263275