The Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774 was an armed conflict that brought Kabardia, the part of the Yedisan between the rivers Bug and Dnieper, and Crimea into the Russian sphere of influence. Though the victories accrued by the Russian Empire were substantial, they gained far less territory than otherwise would be expected. The reason for this was the complex struggle within the European diplomatic system for a balance of power that was acceptable to other European leading states, rather than Russian hegemony. Russia was able to take advantage of the weakened Ottoman Empire, the end of the Seven Years' War, and the withdrawal of France as the continent's primary military power (due to financial burden and isolationism). This left the Russian Empire in a strengthened position to expand its territory but also lose temporary hegemony over the decentralized Poland. The greater Turkish losses were diplomatic in nature seeing its full decline as a threat to Christian Europe, and the beginning of the Eastern Question that would plague the continent until the end of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century.
On 25 September 1768 the Ottoman Empire declared war onto the Russian Empire following the recent treaty between Ottomans and members of Bar Confederation. On 31 October 1768 the President of the Collegium of Little Russia (Malorossia) Pyotr Rumyantsev ordered the Kosh Otaman of Zaporizhian Host Petro Kalnyshevsky "все войско свое устроить… в военный порядок тот час, чтобы готовы вы были к внезапному ополчению" (all troops of yours prepare... in battle order at the same time that you will be ready to sudden mobilization).
|Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774)|
Allegory of Catherine's Victory over the Turks (1772),
by Stefano Torelli.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Ali Bey al-Kabir||Qaplan II Giray|
Less than 200,000At least 40,000 Kalmyk cavalry
The war followed external tensions within Poland. The true power behind the Polish throne was the Russian ambassador Nicholas Repnin and the Russian army, with King Stanisław August Poniatowski being a former favourite of the Russian Empress Catherine II. Repnin had forcefully passed the Perpetual Treaty of 1768 between Poland and Russia, which was highly disadvantageous to Poland and led to massive revolts by the nobility, church, and peasants. In one fortified town called Bar, near the Ottoman border, an armed confederation was created on 29 February 1768, led by a landed Polish noble named Casimir Pulaski. The Russian army heavily outnumbered the confederates and defeated them in the Podolia of Ukraine. On 20 June 1768, Russia captured the fortress of Bar and the majority of the surviving confederates fled over the Turkish border. Repnin easily suppressed the revolts, but he could barely keep up as they spread across the country, and Polish revolts would dog Russia throughout the war and make it impossible for Catherine II to keep control of Poland.
In the Ottoman Empire, revolts were widespread. Many noble factions had risen against the power of sultan Mustafa III and would proceed to break away from the Ottoman Empire. In addition to this decentralization of the Empire the Ottomans were also faced with the revival of a unified Persia, which rose to oppose the Turks in Iraq.
Upon the outbreak of the war the Ottomans seemed to have the upper hand as Russia was suffering from financial strain as a consequence of involvement in the Seven Years' War. The Turkish Navy capitalized on the inferiority of Russia's navy, even though it employed British officers to resolve this weakness. The Ottomans dominated the Black Sea, giving it the advantage of shorter supply lines. The Ottomans were also able to levy troops from their vassal state, the Crimean Khanate, to fight the Russians, but their effectiveness was undermined by constant Russian destabilization of the area. In the years preceding the war the Ottoman Empire had enjoyed the longest period of peace with Europe in its history (1747–1768). Nevertheless, the Ottoman Empire faced internal division, rebellion and corruption compounded by the re-emergence of a unified Persian leadership, under Nader Shah. One clear advantage for the Ottomans was its superior numbers as the Ottoman army was three times the size of its Russian counterpart. However, the new Grand Vizier Mehmed Emin Pasha would prove himself to be incompetent militarily. For a long time the Ottoman military was considered to be more technologically advanced than Europe; however, the period of peace preceding the war led the Ottomans to fall behind in this regard. The Russian army massed along the borders with Poland and the Ottoman Empire, which made it difficult for Ottomans troops to make inroads into Russian territory.
Not content to let the Polish enemy flee over the border, Cossacks followed them into the Ottoman Empire. Mustafa III received reports that the town of Balta had been massacred by Russian paid Zaporozhian Cossacks. Russia denied the accusations, but the Cossacks certainly razed Balta and killed whomever they found. With the confederates of Poland and the French embassy pushing the sultan along, with many pro-war advisors, the sultan on October 6 imprisoned Aleksei Mikhailovich Obreskov and the entire Russian embassy's staff, marking the Ottoman’s declaration of war on Russia.
After her victories in the war, Catherine II was depicted in portraits dressed in the military uniforms of Great Britain, which was initially a willing ally to Russia because of the trade between the two countries. Great Britain needed bar iron to fuel its ongoing Industrial Revolution as well as other products such as sailcloth, hemp, and timber, for the construction and maintenance of its Navy, all of which Russia could provide. When the tide of the conflict turned in Russia's favour, Britain limited its support, seeing Russia as a rising competitor in Far Eastern trade, rather than merely as a counterbalance to the French navy in the Mediterranean. While Russia remained in a superior position in the Black Sea, the withdrawal of British support left Russia unable to do anything more than cut down its own supply lines and disrupt Turkish trade in the area.
On September 17, 1769, the Russians began their initial campaign over the Dneister into Moldavia. The elite Ottoman Janissaries took heavy casualties from the Russians at Khotyn but managed to hold on, and the remainder of the Ottoman army panicked and abandoned the field and the Russians claimed the fortress. With the Ottomans in disarray the Russians took the capital of Moldavia (Jassy) on October 7. They continued the advance south into Wallachia, occupying its capital Bucharest on November 17. From the capital of Bucharest, the Russians fanned out through the principality, only later being challenged by Grand Vizier Mehmed Emin Pasha at Kagul on Aug 1, 1770. The Russians routed the Grand Vizier's forces and allegedly one-third of the Ottoman troops drowned in the Danube trying to escape.
By now, Russia had some troops spread out north of the Caucasus. In 1769, as a diversion, the Russians sent Gottlieb Heinrich Totleben south into Georgia. He besieged Poti on the Black Sea coast, but the affair was mismanaged, and Russian troops were withdrawn in the spring of 1772. It was the first time Russian troops had crossed the Caucasus. On the steppes north of the mountains, the later-famous Matvei Platov and 2000 men fought 25000 Turks and Crimeans. The Cossack village of Naur was defended against 8000 Turks and tribesmen.
During the war, a Russian fleet, under Count Alexei Grigoryevich Orlov, entered the Mediterranean Sea for the first time in history. It came from the Baltic Sea and was intended to draw Ottoman naval forces out from the Black Sea. In Greece, Orlov's arrival sparked a Maniot revolt against the Ottoman authorities. In 1771, however, the Russians abandoned Greece and the revolt was put down.
Just outside the city of Chesme on June 24, 1770, twelve Russian ships engaged twenty-two Turkish vessels and destroyed them with the use of fire ships. The defeat at Chesme demoralized the Ottomans, and bolstered Russian morale. Catherine II used this and other victories over the Turks to consolidate her reign over Russia domestically by commissioning medals in honour of the battle. Despite their naval successes, the Russians were unable to capture Constantinople because of Ottoman fortifications as well as European concerns that victory would upset the balance of power.
In 1771, Ali Bey al-Kabir, the Mamluk usurper of Egypt, allied with Zahir al-Umar, the autonomous sheikh of Acre, against their Ottoman overlords. The Egyptian general Abu al-Dhahab marched on Damascus, but the Ottoman governor, Uthman Pasha al-Kurji, convinced him to turn on his erstwhile master. Abu al-Dhahab then marched on Egypt and forced Ali Bey to flee to Zahir. Now, Count Orlov, with Catherine's approval, intervened and established friendly relations with the two anti-Ottoman rebels. The Russian fleet provided critical aid in the Battle of Sidon and it bombarded and occupied Beirut. The Russians surrendered Beirut to the pro-Ottoman emir of Mount Lebanon, Yusuf Shihab, only after being paid a large ransom.
In 1773, Yusuf Shihab entrusted the strengthening of Beirut's defences to Ahmad al-Jazzar. When the latter began to act independently, Yusuf got into contact with Zahir al-Umar to remove him. Zahir suggested that they enlist the Russians. The Russian squadron, under Captain Ivan Kozhukov, blockaded and bombarded Beirut while Zahir negotiated Jazzar's withdrawal. The latter then entered Zahir's service, only to rebel against him after a few months. In consequence, the Russians occupied Beirut for a second time, for four months, to force Yusuf to pay a ransom.
Prussia, Austria and Great Britain offered to mediate the dispute between Russia and the Ottomans to halt Russia's expansion. Austria managed to turn the situation to its advantage by gaining physical land concessions from the Ottomans with a treaty on July 6, 1771. The Austrians maintained their increased military presence on their border with Moldavia and Wallachia, and they increased a subsidy to the cash-starved Ottomans, who had been dabbling in tax farming) and offered unsubstantiated support to the Ottomans against Russia. Catherine II, wary of the proximity of the Austrian army to her own forces and fearing an all-out European war, accepted the loss of Poland and agreed to Frederick II’s plan to partition Poland. She secretly agreed to return the captured principalities back to the Ottomans, thereby removing Austria's fear of a powerful Russian Balkan neighbour. On April 8, 1772, Kaunitz, the Austrian equivalent of Minister of Foreign affairs, informed the Porte that Austria no longer considered the treaty of 1771 binding.
A ceasefire between Russia and the Ottoman Empire commenced on May 30, 1772, but real negotiations did not begin until August 8. The peace talks broke down almost immediately over the Crimea, but the truce was extended until March 20, 1773.
Both parties had reasons to expand the negotiations, primarily to do with both sides wanting to keep fighting on a single front. The Ottomans were now quelling rebellions from Egypt and Syria and also faced incursions from Persia. The Russians were facing a revival of a centralized Sweden, which had undergone a coup from King Gustav III.
On June 20, 1774, the Russian army, under the command of Alexander Suvorov, managed to rout the Ottoman Army near Kozludzha. Russia used the victory to force the Ottoman Empire to acquiesce to Russia's preferences in the treaty.
On July 21, 1774, the Ottoman Empire had to sign perforce the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca. The treaty did not overtly take away vast territories from the Ottomans – Poland had already paid the price of alienated territory. According to the treaty:
Russia quickly exploited Küçük Kaynarca for an easy excuse to go to war and take more territory from the Ottoman Empire.
This war comprised but a small part of the continuous process of expansion of the Russian Empire southwards and eastwards during the 18th and 19th centuries.
This minor battle took place on 3 September 1773 between Russia and the Ottoman Empire during the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774).
Alternative source (Chernyshev): Cruising as part of a squadron under Kinsbergen, on August 23rd and September 5th twice spotted an Ottoman force, but apparently the Ottoman force did not engage.Action of 4 July 1773
The action of 4 July 1773 was an engagement of the first Russo-Turkish War (1768–74), between naval units of Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire.
This indecisive battle took place on 4 July 1773 between 2 small Russian vessels under Jan Hendrik van Kinsbergen and 4 Ottoman ships.Andreas Eberhard von Budberg
Andreas Eberhard Freiherr von Budberg-Bönninghausen (Russian: Андрей Яковлевич Будберг; tr. Andrey Yakovlevich Budberg) (10 August 1750 – 1 September 1812) was a Baltic German diplomat who served as Foreign Minister in 1806–07.
His ancestors moved to Livonia in the 16th century from Westphalia. Budberg was born in Riga and entered the military service in 1759. He participated in the Russo-Turkish war 1768–1774. In 1783 Budberg was promoted to podpolkovnik. The same year Riga governor-general George Browne recommended Budberg to the Empress Catherine II as a diplomat. In fact, Budberg had been serving in the army as an infantry officer and had no diplomatic experience. Brown did it because he was a good friend of Budberg's parents.
In 1784 he was appointed a tutor to Catherine's grandson Alexander I and held this position until 1795. In 1793 Budberg was sent to Stockholm to arrange marriage of Catherine's granddaughter Alexandra Pavlovna and young king of Sweden Gustav IV Adolf. Initially consent was given, but later Gustav IV Adolf renounced the betrothal. Two years later Budberg was appointed ambassador in Sweden. In 1799 Catherine II died and Paul I succeeded her. Paul I disliked Budberg and soon he was forced to resign.
In 1804 Alexander I appointed him to the State Council. Budberg was known for his distrust of Napoleon and in 1806 he became Minister of Foreign Affairs. However, in 1807 when the treaties of Tilsit were signed, he resigned and retired from politics.Battle of Aspindza
The Battle of Aspindza (Georgian: ასპინძის ბრძოლა) was fought on 20 April 1770 between the Georgians, led by king of Kartli-Kakheti Erekle II, and the Ottoman Empire. The Georgians won a victory over the Turks. The Georgian king asked Russian general Totleben for aid in the battle of Aspindza; in return Erekle would do his best to cultivate good relations with Russia. General Totleben agreed to help. As soon as the small army of Erekle and large army of Totleben were about to meet and merge, Totleben and his army changed course and returned to Russia. Totleben's plan was to let the Ottoman Empire completely destroy the Kartli-Kakhetian army along with the king. Russia, then, could easily incorporate the kingdom into the country. Erekle, along with his outnumbered army, was devastated. Nevertheless, the morale of the Georgians managed to override the Ottoman Turks, and the battle ended with a Georgian victory.
The battle is the subject of the patriotic ode "On the Battle of Aspindza" by Besiki.Battle of Chesma
The naval Battle of Chesme took place on 5–7 July 1770 during the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774) near and in Çeşme (Chesme or Chesma) Bay, in the area between the western tip of Anatolia and the island of Chios, which was the site of a number of past naval battles between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Venice. It was a part of the Orlov Revolt of 1769, a precursor to the later Greek War of Independence (1821–29), and the first of a number of disastrous fleet battles for the Ottomans against Russia.Battle of Kagul
The Battle of Kagul (Russian: Сражение при Кагуле, Turkish language:Kartal Ovası Muharebesi) was the most important land battle of the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774 and one of the largest battles of the 18th century. It was fought on 1 August 1770 (21 July at Julian Calendar), in Moldavia, near the village of Frumoasa (now Cahul, Moldova), just a fortnight after the Russian victory at Larga.
Under contribution of Pyotr Melissino, the Russian commander Pyotr Rumyantsev arranged his army of 40,000 soldiers in solid squares and surprisingly chose to go on the offensive against the allied forces of the Khanate of Crimea and the Ottoman Empire, which consisted of 30,000 Ottoman infantry and 45,000 Ottoman cavalry. About 80,000 Crimean Tatar cavalry were deployed within 20 km from the battlefield but they did not engage in battle.
The comparatively small Russian army assaulted the Ottomans and put them to flight. The Russian casualties were 1,000, while casualties on the Ottoman side amounted to over 20,000 soldiers killed and wounded. In the wake of this victory, the Russians captured 130 Ottoman cannons and overran all major fortresses in the region - İsmail (now Izmail), Kilya (now Kilia), Akkerman (now Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi), İbrail (now Brăila), İsakça (now Isaccea), and Bender.
In commemoration of the victory, Catherine II of Russia ordered the Kagul Obelisk to be erected in Tsarskoe Selo, while Frederick II of Prussia sent to Rumyantsev a congratulatory letter in which he compared the Russian victory to the deeds of the Ancient Romans.On the same day four years later, Russian and Ottoman empires signed the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca, ending the war.Battle of Kerch Strait (1774)
These battles took place during the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774, on 20 June and 9 July (Old Style) 1774 south of Kerch, Crimea.
On 20 June an Ottoman force of 5 battleships, 9 frigates and 26 galleys and xebecs surprised a Russian force, under Vice-Admiral Senyavin, of 3 frigates, 4 16-gun vessels, 2 bombs and 3 small craft and tried to cut it off. The Russians anchored just outside the Kerch Strait and sailed toward Kerch the next day.
On 9 July, the Ottomans, needing to destroy the Russian ships so their land army could cross the Kerch Strait, attacked, but abandoned the effort after it was found that the Russian bombs had a greater range. The Ottoman force that day consisted of 6 battleships, 7 frigates, 1 bomb and 17 galleys and xebecs.Battle of Kozludzha
Battle of Kozludzha (also known as the Battle of Kozluca) fought on 20 June (Old Style - June 9) 1774 near the village of Kozludzha (now Suvorovo, Bulgaria) was one of the final and decisive battles of the Russo-Turkish War (1768–74). The Russians managed to rout the Ottoman army, scoring a major victory. This battle, alongside several others in this campaign, established the reputation of the Russian general Alexander Suvorov as a brilliant commander of his era.The Ottoman forces are estimated at about 40,000. Russian numbers were much lower, 8,000 men in total. The Ottoman forces were demoralized due to previous defeats and had poor logistics (including a year of withheld back pay).The Russian army under Generals Alexander Suvorov and Mikhail Kamensky encountered the Ottoman forces of General Abdul-Rezak Pasha. After scouts reported to Suvorov, he immediately ordered the attack. The Russian army, divided into four squares, attacked the Ottomans. Ottoman cavalry charges were repulsed by the Russians, while a Russian cavalry attack from the rear resulted in the capture of all of the Ottoman artillery. Russian artillery fire is also said to have been highly devastating to the Ottoman forces. Casualties were 3,000 for the Ottomans and 209 for the Russians. The Russians captured the Ottoman camp with its supplies, while the Ottomans abandoned Kozludzha and retreated to Shumla, where they were soon blockaded, suffering from further defeats and attrition.The Russian victory was one of the major reasons why a month later, on 21 July, the Ottomans were forced to sign the unfavorable Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca.Battle of Larga
The Battle of Larga was fought between 65,000 Crimean Tatars cavalry and 15,000 Ottoman infantry under Kaplan Girey against 38,000 Russians under Field-Marshal Rumyantsev on the banks of the Larga River, a tributary of the Prut River, in Moldavia (now in Moldova), for eight hours on 7 July 1770. It was fought on the same day as Battle of Chesma, a key naval engagement of the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774.
The battle was a decisive victory for the Russians who captured 33 Turkish cannons and the vast enemy camp. For this victory, Rumyantsev was awarded the Order of Saint George of the 1st Degree. Two weeks later, the Russians scored an even greater victory in the Battle of Kagul.Battle of Nauplia (1770)
Fought during the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774, this indecisive battle took place on 27 and 28 May 1770 at the entrance to the Argolic Gulf, Greece, when a Russian fleet under John Elphinstone engaged a larger Ottoman fleet. No ships were lost on either side, and casualties were small.Battle of Patras (1772)
This battle took place on 6, 7 and 8 November 1772, during the Russo-Turkish War (1768–74) in the Gulf of Patras, Greece, when a Russian fleet under Konyaev defeated an Ottoman force of frigates and xebecs, destroying all 9 frigates and 10 out of 16 xebecs and losing no ships.Fyodor Ushakov
Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov (Russian: Фёдор Фёдорович Ушако́в, IPA: [ʊʂɐˈkof]; 24 February [O.S. 13 February] 1745 – 14 October [O.S. 2 October] 1817) was the most illustrious Russian naval commander and admiral of the 18th century.Ivazzade Halil Pasha
Ivazzade Halil Pasha (1724–1777) was an Ottoman statesman who served as Grand Vizier in 1769. He was the son of Grand Vizier Ivaz Mehmed Pasha. He was of Albanian origin.He took part in Russian Wars under the title of serdar-i ekrem (Commander General of the Army).
After he had been excused from military service, he was sequentially appointed to the governorship of the Sanjak of Eğriboz (eastern Central Greece), the Eyalet of Bosnia, the Eyalet of Salonika, and the Eyalet of Sivas.Katsia II Dadiani
Katsia II Dadiani (Georgian: კაცია II დადიანი; died 1788), of the House of Dadiani, was Prince of Mingrelia from 1758 to 1788. His rule was dominated by complicated relations with the Kingdom of Imereti, which claimed suzerainty over all of western Georgia. In efforts to further his precarious sovereignty, Dadiani easily switched sides, allying himself, alternatively, with the Imeretians, Russians, and Ottomans, as exemplified by his vacillating position during the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774).Mikhail Kakhovsky
Count Mikhail Vasilyevich Kakhovski (Russian: Михаил Васильевич Каховский; 1734–1800) was a senior Russian general who led the imperial army to a rapid and brilliant victory in the Polish–Russian War of 1792. After mauling Józef Poniatowski's forces in the Battle of Dubienka, he marched into Warsaw. This victory precipitated the Second Partition of Poland and brought Kakhovsky the Order of St. Andrew.
Kakhovsky also took part in many other wars waged by Catherine the Great, including the first and second wars against Turks. After the First Partition of Poland he was put in charge of the Mogilev Governorate. Later in life he served as Governor General of Nizhny Novgorod and Penza.Mustafa III
Mustafa III (; Ottoman Turkish: مصطفى ثالث Muṣṭafā-yi sālis; 28 January 1717 – 24 December 1773) was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1757 to 1773. He was a son of Sultan Ahmed III (1703–30) and was succeeded by his brother Abdul Hamid I (1774–89). He was born in Edirne Palace. His mother was Mihrişah Kadın.Orlov revolt
The Orlov revolt (Greek: Ορλωφικά, Ορλοφικά, Ορλώφεια) was a Greek uprising in the Peloponnese and later also in Crete that broke out in February 1770, following the arrival of Russian Admiral Alexey Orlov, commander of the Imperial Russian Navy during the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774), to the Mani Peninsula. The revolt, a major precursor to the Greek War of Independence (which erupted in 1821), was part of Catherine the Great's so-called "Greek Plan" and was eventually suppressed by the Ottomans.Qaplan II Giray
Qaplan II Giray, Qalpan Khan Girai II (died 1770) was a Crimean khan of the late 18th century.Yuri Vladimirovich Dolgorukov
Prince Yuri Dolgorukov (November 2 (13) 1740 - 8 (20) November 1830) was a Russian general in chief and military governor of Moscow from May to November 1797, as well as the author of a set of military memoirs.