Bucharest, Treaty of

views updated Jun 08 2018


The Treaty of Bucharest brought the Turkish war of 18061812 to an end. Having advanced the Russian frontier to the Dniester River in 1792, Catherine the Great intended to include Moldavia and Wallachia within a Dacian Kingdom under one of her favorites. The immediate occasion for the war, however, were the intrigues of Napoleon's ambassador at Constantinople, General Horace Sebastiani, who dismissed two pro-Russian princes in violation of protective rights obtained by the tsar in 1802. Catherine's grandson Alexander I opened hostilities in 1806 when sixty thousand men, initially led by General Mikhail Kamensky and later by Mikhail Kutuzov, crossed the Danube. This campaign proved desultory, even though in 1807 a Russian administration replaced the Greek Princes nominated by the Turks. When Napoleon met Tsar Alexander I at Tilsit (1807) and later at Erfurt (1808) to partition the Ottoman Empire, the former was willing to concede control of both principalities to Russia but was unwilling to give up Constantinople, the ultimate prize the French emperor had sought. In consequence, the good relations between the two emperors deteriorated. When it became apparent that Napoleon was planning a coalition for an invasion of Russia in 1812, the tsar, unwilling to fight Turks and French on two fronts, sent a delegation under General Count Alexander de Langeron, General Joseph Fonton, and the Russian ambassador to Constantinople, Count Andrei Italinsky, to negotiate with the Turks in Bucharest. The latter were represented by the Grand Vizier Ahmed Pasha, the Chief Interpreter (Drogman) Mehmed Said Galid Effendi, and his colleague Demetrius Moruzi. They met at the inn of a wealthy Armenian Mirzaian Manuc. The talks were confrontational: the Turks unwilling to cede one inch of territory, the Russians demanding the whole province of Moldavia. In the end, Sir Stratford Canning, a young English diplomat who replaced the vacationing English ambassador Sir Robert Adair, made a diplomatic debut that earned him a brilliant career on the eve of the Crimean War. He argued that the Turks lacked the resources to continue the war, while the Russians needed the troops of Admiral Pavel Chichagov (taking over Kutuzov's command) who returned to Russia to face the Napoleonic onslaught. In the end, Canning cited an obscure article of the Treaty of Tilsitt (article 12) negotiated by the Russian Chancelor Peter Rumyantsev as an acceptable compensation. This territory, misnamed by the Russians "Bessarabia" (a name derived from the first Romanian princely dynasty of Wallachia, which controlled only Moldavia's southern tier), advanced the Russian frontier from the Dniester to the Pruth and the northern mouth of the Danube (Kilia). This represented a gain of 500,000 people of various ethnic stock, 45,000 kilometers, five fortresses, and 685 villages. By sacrificing the coveted prize of both principalities and withdrawing the army from Turkey, the tsar was able to confront Napoleon on a single front. This, according to General Langeron, made a difference at the battle of Borodino (1812).

Not content at having saved most of the Moldo-Wallachian provinces, the Turks, who had no legal right to a territory over which they exercised de jure suzerainty, vented their frustration by hacking their chief interpreter Moruzi to pieces and hanging his head at the Seraglio. From a Romanian standpoint, the cession of Bessarabia to Russia in 1812 marked a permanent enstrangement in Russo-Romanian relations, which continued in the early twenty-first century with the creation of a Moldavian Republic within the Russian Commonwealth.

See also: romania, relations with; russo-turkish wars; turkey, relations with


Dima, Nicholas. (1982). Bessarabia and Bukovina: The Soviet Romanian Territorial Dispute. New York and Boulder, CO: East European Monographs.

Florescu, Radu. (1992). The Struggle Against Russia in the Romanian Principalities (18211854). Munich: Romanian Academic Society.

Jewsbury, George F. (1976). The Russian Annexation of Bessarabia 11741828. New York: East European Monographs.

Radu R. Florescu

Bucharest, Treaty of (1812)

views updated May 23 2018


treaty ending the ottomanrussian war by which russia returned territory to the empire.

After six years of war between the Ottoman Empire and Russia, the Treaty of Bucharest was concluded between 16 and 18 May 1812. With Napoléon Bonaparte, emperor of France, prepared to attack Russia, Tsar Alexander I renounced Russian rights to the Romanian principalities and evacuated most of the Black Sea coast territory that Russia had won during the war, excepting Bessarabia. The treaty also contained a provision for autonomy of the Serbs, who had rebelled against the Ottomans.

see also bonaparte, napolÉon; russianottoman wars.


Anderson, M. S. The Eastern Question, 17741923. London: Macmillan, 1966.

Shaw, Stanford, and Shaw, Ezel Kural. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. 2 vols. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 19761977.

Zachary Karabell

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Treaty of Bucharest

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Treaty of Bucharest