11 Intriguing Facts About the Crimean War

By the 1850s, Napoleon’s reign was a fading memory and the First Environment War was extra than half a century away. But Europe noticed no scarcity of bloody conflicts in the interim, and a single of the most crucial was a clash of empires in Crimea. Waged among Oct 1853 and February 1856, the Crimean War was a battle between Czarist Russia on a person facet and the mixed forces of Good Britain, France, Sardinia, and the Turkish Ottoman Empire on the other. Here’s an 11-point crash system that need to provide you up to pace. 

From 1517 to 1917, the mostly Islamic Ottoman Empire managed Jerusalem. Two of the area’s religious minorities, Roman Catholics and Jap Orthodox Christians, viewed as areas of Jerusalem to be holy and wished guaranteed access to those people web-sites. The Orthodox Christians discovered an ally in Czar Nicholas I of Russia, who invaded Turkish holdings in current-day Romania in June 1853 to place tension on Ottoman rulers. The czar justified the invasion as needed to safeguard the legal rights of Orthodox Christians—but it was no mystery that the czar also wanted to grab Turkish territories for Russia. Nicholas I saw the Ottoman Empire as a susceptible goal he as soon as named it “a unwell gentleman, a very unwell person.”

The Crimean War’s formal get started date was Oct 5, 1853, just one day right after the Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia. Because Russian growth threatened French and British industrial pursuits, both of those of those people superpowers allied themselves with the Ottomans, joining the fray in March 1854. A different ally, the Kingdom of Sardinia, entered the war in 1855. This bygone nation, which encompassed the island of Sardinia and areas of the Italian mainland, took up arms in opposition to Russia as a way to strengthen its diplomatic partnership with France.  

The Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Catherine the Great in 1783, was even now element of the Russian Empire when the war started. The diamond-formed landmass extends into the Black Sea and its port city of Sevastopol was a major foundation of operations for the Russian navy—so when Britain and France joined the Ottoman trigger towards Russia, their forces headed straight for Crimea. About 60,000 allied troops reached the peninsula involving September 14 and September 16, 1854. Months later, they introduced an 11-month siege of Sevastopol that raged until finally September 1855. And the Crimean War wasn’t restricted to Crimea itself: In addition to the battling in modern-day Romania, naval battles took spot in the White Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the North Pacific.

In their 2004 reserve War Epidemics: A Historic Geography of Infectious Conditions in Army Conflict and Civil Strife, 1850-2000, M.R. Smallman-Raynor and A.D. Cliff create that an estimated 155,000 British, French, Turkish, and Sardinian troops lost their life in the Crimean War. Lots of came down with dysentery, typhoid, or cholera. Mary Seacole, a British-Jamaican nurse, compensated her very own way to Crimea during the war (just after the British isles War Business office refused her providers) and developed a lodge for wounded soldiers near the Crimean settlement of Balaklava. In other places, at a British armed forces healthcare facility in Turkey, the trendsetting nurse Florence Nightingale dramatically enhanced the facility’s sanitation requirements. Nicknamed “the Woman with the Lamp” by the press, she was also an early knowledge analyst with a penchant for pie charts. 

War photography arrived of age for the duration of the fight in Crimea. Illustrations or photos of fight camps and weary soldiers taken by witnesses formed general public opinion. No Crimean War photographer is extra celebrated nowadays than Roger Fenton, whose series of 360 pictures shot concerning March 8 and June 6, 1855, astonished the British media. A single image, called The Valley of the Shadow of Dying, resonated with the critics. It exhibits a dirt roadway littered with stray cannonballs, the desolate aftermath of the shelling at Sevastopol. Yet, in 2007, Oscar-profitable documentary filmmaker Errol Morris advised that somebody experienced rearranged the cannonballs throughout the highway, prolonged after they’d been fired, maybe to improve the dramatic impact of the graphic.

Painting showing the Battle of Balaklava

The Fight of Balaklava / Hulton Archive/GettyImages

On October 25, 1854, in the course of the Fight of Balaklava, the 676 guys in the British mild cavalry experienced orders to retrieve guns captured by the Russians. But their recommendations were being confusing, and the unit was misdirected into an exposed place surrounded by Russian artillery. While fatally outgunned, the light brigade was purchased to demand right into enemy fireplace. Survivors later explained “riding into the mouth of a volcano” and observing their comrades’ bodies torn apart by cannonballs. Russian troops routed the cavalry, killing 107 and wounding 187 adult males in addition 400 horses. The disaster was immortalized in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s December 1854 poem “The Cost of the Mild Brigade,” which starts:

“‘Forward the Light-weight Brigade!’
Was there a person dismayed?
Not while the soldier realized
An individual experienced blundered.
Theirs not to make reply
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die
Into the valley of Loss of life
Rode the six hundred.”

Czar Nicholas I created pneumonia after attending a wedding day in St. Petersburg and died on March 2, 1855, at age 58. His eldest son, Alexander II, succeeded him as czar and went on to oversee Russia’s defeat in the war his father experienced instigated.

Timothy the Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise enjoyed a adorned vocation with the British Royal Navy. Taken from a Portuguese ship in 1854, Timothy sailed aboard the HMS Queen in the course of the siege of Sevastopol as the vessel’s mascot. It was the 1st of many naval campaigns Timothy joined in advance of she (indeed, she) retired and went to reside at Powderham Castle in Devon, England. When the 11-pound tortoise handed absent in 2004, she was somewhere around 160 a long time old.

Stretching from the Sevastopol battlefront to a British military camp eight miles absent, the Grand Crimean Central Railway transported hefty guns, crucial supplies, and wounded troopers. Building started out in February 1855 and lasted for 8 months. “Although the railway was speedily and merely constructed, it proved crucial, in particular in the rainy period when the ground was muddy, as long as the railway alone did not succumb to the mud,” historian Yakup Bektas wrote in Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the Record of Science in 2017 [PDF].

On September 8, 1855, the allies last but not least took Sevastopol. Russia entered peace negotiations the pursuing year, which culminated in the 1856 Treaty of Paris that officially finished the Crimean War. Beneath the treaty, the Black Sea was declared a neutral territory, off-limitations to all warships, Russian or or else. Keen to distance himself from the humiliating defeat, Czar Alexander II employed the ensuing decades to have out domestic reforms. His major accomplishment was the abolition of Russian serfdom—a method of forced labor that gave the nobility electric power about personnel certain to distinct plots of land—in 1861. Russian legislation shielding serfdom experienced been in force given that 1649, and by the 2nd half of the 19th century, serfs designed up 34.4 % of Russia’s populace. The fear of a populist rebellion drove Alexander II to action he argued, “It is much better to abolish serfdom from earlier mentioned than to hold out for the time when it will get started to abolish alone from down below.”

Colonized by Russia in 1741, Alaska was as soon as a rewarding supply of seal and sea otter pelts for Russian traders. But the huge territory was sparsely populated and tricky to protect. That second level was underscored throughout the Crimean War, when British forces attacked Petropavlovsk, an outpost in Kamchatka just across Bering Strait from Alaska. Russia made the decision to offer Alaska prior to a further empire could get it by pressure and handed it to the United States for $7.2 million (about $130 million right now) in 1867, just one of the major land bargains of all time. Alaska obtained statehood on January 3, 1959.

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