Crimean war facts

Crimean War Causes, Timeline, and Summary

The Crimean War was fought on the Crimean peninsula along the northern coast of the Black Sea. The belligerents in this war were Russia on one side against the French Empire, Ottoman Empire, Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Sardinia on the other. Here is the Crimean War summary, along with its timeline and causes.
Crimean War and Nursing
The soldiers wounded in this war were treated by Florence Nightingale. She pioneered modern nursing during this war. Both, the nursing by Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War are two prominent happenings from the Victorian Era.

Earlier in 2014, Crimea was in the headlines owing to the stand-off that had been going on for a long time between Russia and Ukraine over controlling the peninsula. This, however, is not the first time that this region is at the center of a conflict. In the 19th century, a war was fought on the Crimean peninsula, known as the Crimean War.

The Crimean War was fought against Russia by an alliance of the French Empire, Ottoman Empire, Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Sardinia, and lasted for three years, from 1853 to 1856. This article looks into the causes of this war and its timeline, along with a Crimean War summary.

  • Map of Crimea
  • Location of Crimea
  • Battle of Alma
  • Battle of Alma
  • Sevastopol Siege
  • Siege of Sevastopol
  • Battlefield Crimea
  • Soldiers during the Crimean War
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Statue of Florence Nightingale
  • George Brown
  • Lt. Gen. George Brown of Great Britain
  • Prince Menshikov
  • Prince Menshikov of Russia

Causes of the Crimean War

Various powers have sought to gain control of Crimea for a long time. Control over this region means control over Black Sea ports that are located on this peninsula. These ports provide quick access to the Eastern Mediterranean, Balkans, and Middle East, thus providing Central and Eastern Europe access to the Caucasus region. The area around the border of Europe and Asia is known as the Caucasus region. The peninsula is thus important from a trade point of view as well.

The Ottoman Empire had occupied the Crimean Peninsula since the second half of the 15th century. They had annexed it from the Byzantine Empire. Towards the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire had started to decline. This coincided with the rise in Russian expansion towards the south. The main reason behind this expansionist policy of Russia was to move to the warmer areas in the south where the ports did not freeze, unlike in the north. Russia put its focus on Crimea, claiming that it had become the 'sick man of Europe'.

The issue has a religious backdrop as well. The Ottoman Empire also had control of the Holy Land. Protecting the rights of the Christian minority there can also be seen as one of the issues that led to the Crimean War.

Why Did the British Participate in the Crimean War?

The British were not happy with the expansion that Russia was seeking. As mentioned earlier, the Crimean ports had strategic importance. Britain did not want the Russians to get control over this area. Russian occupation of the peninsula would have, sooner or later, challenged the role of Britain in the Eastern Mediterranean. From Crimea, the Russians also had an opportunity to move towards Western Europe or India. British participation in the war was more against Russia and less in favor of the Ottoman Empire. This move by Britain can be seen as a move to tip the balance of power in their favor.

Participation of France in the War

The reason of French involvement in the war has a religious background. Russia had seen itself as the protector of Orthodox Christianity. France, on the other hand, was a proponent of Catholicism. The French interest in the war was to oppose Russian domination, that would come at the expense of the Ottoman Empire on the Holy Land. The French had plans to enforce their beliefs in the Holy Land, and this had contributed to the increasing tensions between the two countries.

Why did Sardinia Participate in the Crimean War?

The Italians had no direct interests of their own to protect in the Crimean War. The Kingdom of Sardinia had entered the war on the side of the Ottoman, French, and British trio alliance. This was mainly done to garner the favors of the French Empire. The Italians were hoping the French would support them in banishing the Austrians from Italian soil, and the unification of the Kingdom of Italy.

Crimean War Timeline
2 MarPrince Menshikov arrives in Constantinople with Russian demands.
21 MayPrince Menshikov severs ties with Turkey and returns to Russia.
31 MayTurkey receives an ultimatum from Russia.
8 JunA fleet from Great Britain approaches Dardanelles.
3 JulThe Russian army crosses the Pruth river and invades Moldova.
27 SepTurkey demands that Russia leaves and goes back.
5 OctTurkey declares war on Russia.
28 OctAt Kalafat, the Turkish army crosses the Danube river.
30 OctA fleet from Great Britain enters Bosphorus.
4 NovTurkey defeats Russia at Oltenița.
30 NovRussia destroys a naval squadron of Turkey at Sinope.
4 JanAnglo-French fleets enter the Black Sea.
8 JanDobruja is invaded by the Russian army.
11 JanAllies warn Russia to return its ships to Sevastopol from the Black Sea.
10 FebA delegation from Great Britain meets Tsar Nicholas I to negotiate.
23 FebA guard from Great Britain sets sail for Turkey.
27 FebRussia served with ultimatum to withdraw forces from Moldova and Walachia in six days.
10 MarTroops from France head towards Turkey.
11 MarRussia served ultimatum by Anglo-French forces to withdraw from Danube principalities.
28 MarGreat Britain along with France declare war on Russia.
5 AprBritish fleets arrive at Gallipoli.
14 AprRussia capture Silistra.
18 AprVictory for the Turks at Rohova.
20 AprAustria and Prussia declare their neutral stand in the war.
22 AprBombardment of Odessa.
28 MayThe allied forces leave for Varna.
23 JunThe Siege of Silistra is abandoned by Russia.
26 JunAllied fleets arrive near St. Petersburg.
28 JunAn order to invade Crimea given to British forces.
7 JulThe Turks defeat the Russians at Giurgiu.
28 JulRussia is defeated by Turkey at Bayezid.
13 AugBomarsund is besieged by Allies.
16 AugRussian forces surrender to the Allies at Bomarsund.
21 AugThe British naval fleet bombards Kola in the White Sea.
30 AugAt Petropaulovsk, the British fleet faces failure.
5 SepThe Allied forces leave for Crimea.
14 SepThe Allied forces land unopposed at Kalamata Bay, north of Sevastopol.
19 SepAt the river Bulganek, the Allied forces face Russian troops.
20 SepThe Battle of Alma takes place.
23 SepRussian troops scuttle their ships to block entrance to the harbor at Sevastopol.
24 SepAllied forces begin the siege of Sevastopol.
26 SepBritish forces arrive at Balaklava.
17 OctSevastopol faces its first bombardment.
25 OctThe Battle of Balaklava takes place.
20 Oct'Little Inkerman' attack of Russian troops.
5 NovThe Battle of Inkerman takes place.
17 JanEupatoria, located north of Kalamata Bay, is attacked by Russia.
26 JanSardinia joins the war on the Allies side.
24 FebFailure of French attack on Sevastopol.
15 Mar Conference of Vienna commences.
9 AprSevastopol is bombarded for the second time.
26 AprConclusion of Conference of Vienna.
25 MayAllied forces capture Kerch and Yenikale.
5 JunFinnish boat crews are massacred by Russian forces at Hanko, Finland.
6 JunSevastopol is bombarded for the third time.
16 JunFirst attack on Kars, Armenia, by Russian forces.
17 JunSevastopol bombarded for the fourth time.
18 JunThe attack on Malakov and Redan is defeated.
14 JulTurkish commander asks permission to withdraw his troops and focus on Asia Minor.
7 AugKars attacked for the second time by Russia.
16 AugAllied forces defeat Russian troops at Tchernaya.
17 AugBombardment of Sevastopol for the fifth time.
5 SepSixth bombardment of Sevastopol.
9 SepRussian troops evacuate Sevastopol.
29 SepRussian forces attack Kars, where they are defeated by Turkish commander Omar Pasha.
17 OctRussian forces evacuate Ochakov after the Allied forces capture the Fortress of Kinburn.
26 NovSurrender of Turkish forces is accepted by Russia.
29 JanBombardment of Sevastopol by Russia.
24 FebCommencement of the Paris Peace Conference.
29 FebArmistice in Crimea.
30 MarSigning of the Treaty of Paris, which officially brings the Crimean War to an end.

Effects of the Crimean War

This war claimed the lives of over a million soldiers and civilians of the conflicting parties. It had brought forth a glaring need of change in the Russian system, which in turn led to many reforms. As a result of this war, Europe was able to witness a very long period of peace. The historical significance of the Crimean War lies the fact that, since its conclusion, Europe has flourished and prospered. Sardinia, having been a part of the Allied forces, received French support in uprooting the Austrians from Italy. In fact, the unification of Italy and Germany was catalyzed by this war.

The battles of Balaklava, Tchernaya, and Sevastopol are few of the important battles of the Crimean War, in which, after a long battle of three long years, the Allied forces had managed to emerge victorious by defeating Russia.