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The Crimean War

By Robin Zimmermann
May 17th, 1999

The Near East situation was a bit uneasy in the mid-1800s. In 1850 the French President, Napoeon III, demanded control over churches and holy places in Palestine, then part of the declining Ottoman Empire, for the benifit of Catolic monks. And in 1853, the Russian monarch, Tsar Nicholas I, demanded contropl of holy places in Jerusalem, which is in Palestine.

The Turks, under advise from the British, refused the Russian ultamatum, and the Russians, in a technically legal but obviously hostile move, occupied the Turkish Balkans, north of the Danube River. The Turkish sultan declared war, and , with help from the French, British, and Sardinians, cleared the Balkans of the Russians.

The French and British decided to attack Sevastopol, and landed on the Crimean penninsula on the 14th of September, 1854. The first encounter with the Russians was on the 19th, and on October 25th, after the siege began, a battle was fought in Balaklava, in which the Charge of the Light Brigade occoured.

Disease was rampant throughout the campain, and during the winter cold and hunger augmented the suffering, which might have been far worse but for the work of British nurse Florence Nightingale.

On September 8th, 1855, Sevastopol fell, and in Febuary the war was ended by the Treaty of Paris. The war didn't help the situation all that much, and there were many unsolved problems left.

Report written by Robin Zimmermann on May 17th, 1999, and converted to HTML on May 19th, 1999.

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