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Edouard Louis Dubufe, Congrès de Paris, 1856, Palace of Versailles.

From Auguste Blanchard's copper-plate engraving after Edouard Dubufe's Picture

Treaty of Paris participants

The Treaty of Paris of 1856 settled the Crimean War between Russia and an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, Second French Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The treaty, signed on March 30, 1856 at the Congress of Paris, made the Black Sea neutral territory, closing it to all warships, and prohibiting fortifications and the presence of armaments on its shores. The treaty marked a severe setback to Russian influence in the region.

Provisions[edit | edit source]

The treaty admitted the Ottoman Empire to the European concert, and the Powers promised to respect its independence and territorial integrity. Russia gave up a little land and relinquished its claim to a protectorate over the Christians in the Ottoman domains. The Black Sea was demilitarized, and an international commission was set up to guarantee freedom of commerce and navigation on the Danube River.

Moldavia and Wallachia would stay under nominal Ottoman rule, but would be granted independent constitutions and national assemblies, which were to be monitored by the victorious powers. A project of a referendum was to be set in place to monitor the will of the peoples regarding unification. Moldavia received the south of Bessarabia (Budjak), creating a buffer between the Ottoman Empire and Russia in the west. Romania, which would later be formed from the two territories, would largely remain an Ottoman puppet-state

New rules of wartime commerce were set out: (1) privateering was illegal; (2) a neutral flag covered enemy goods except contraband; (3) neutral goods, except contraband, were not liable to capture under an enemy flag; (4) a blockade, to be legal, had to be effective.[1]

The treaty also demilitarised the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea, which belonged to the autonomous Russian Grand Principality of Finland. The fortress Bomarsund had been destroyed by British and French forces in 1854 and the alliance wanted to prevent its future use as a Russian military base.

Russian losses[edit | edit source]

The Peace of Paris confirmed Nicholas I's failures.

  • Russia lost territory it had been granted at the mouth of the Danube.
  • Russia was forced to abandon its claims to protect Christians in the Ottoman Empire in favour of France.
  • Russia lost its influence over the Romanian principalities, which, together with Serbia, were given greater independence.
  • In the long run the war marked a turning point in Russian domestic and foreign policy. Russian intellectuals used the defeat to demand fundamental reform of the government and social system.

Signing parties[edit | edit source]

File:Demilitarisation of Åland Islands, 150 yrs 5euro Obverse.JPG

150th Anniversary of Demilitarisation of Åland Islands commemorative coin

See also[edit | edit source]

  • The 150th Anniversary of Demilitarisation of Åland Islands was celebrated in Finland by issuing a high value commemorative coin, the €5 150th Anniversary of Demilitarisation of Åland Islands commemorative coin, minted in 2006. The obverse depicts a pine tree, very typical in the Åland Islands. The reverse design features a boat's stern and rudder, with a dove perched on the tiller, a symbol of 150 years of peace.
  • Berwick-upon-Tweed — an apocryphal story concerns Berwick's status with Russia

References[edit | edit source]

  • Baumgart, Winfried, and Ann Pottinger Saab. Peace of Paris, 1856: Studies in War, Diplomacy & Peacemaking (1981) 230pp
  • Edouard Gourdon, Histoire du Congrès de Paris, Paris, 1857, full text at google Print
  • Taylor, A.J.P. The Struggle for Mastery in Europe: 1848-1918 (1954) pp 83–97
  • Temperley, Harold. "The Treaty of Paris of 1856 and Its Execution," Journal of Modern History (1932) 4#3 pp. 387–414 in JSTOR

External links[edit | edit source]

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