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Balkan War (Napoleonic Age)

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Previous:

Greek Revolution

Balkan War
Beginning:

16 April 1851

End:

6 December 1854 (three years, seven months, 20 days)

Place:

Balkans
— Ottoman Empire
— Austrian Empire
Mediterranean Sea
Black Sea
Middle East
— Palestine
— Egypt

Outcome:

Allied victory

Major battles:
Combatants

Flag of France.svg French Empire
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
Flag of Germany.svg German Confederation
Flag of the Kingdom of Naples (1811).svg Kingdom of Naples
Flag of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.svg Kingdom of Italy
Bandera de España 1808-1813.svg Kingdom of Spain
Flag of Russia.svg Russian Empire
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Austrian Empire (1851–1852)

Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg Ottoman Empire

Commanders

Flag of France.svg Napoléon II
Flag of France.svg Marshal Achille Baraguey d'Hilliers
Flag of the United Kingdom Queen Victoria
Flag of the United Kingdom Field Marshal FitzRoy Somerset
Flag of Germany.svg President Bernhard II
Flag of the Kingdom of Naples (1811).svg King Achille I
Flag of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.svg Viceroy Auguste de Beauharnais
Bandera de España 1808-1813.svg King José II
Flag of Russia.svg Alexander II
Flag of Russia.svg Admiral Pavel Nakhimov
Flag of Russia.svg Admiral Vasily Zavoyko
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Franz Joseph I
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Field Marshal Ferenc Gyulay

Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg Abdülmecid I
Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg Field Marshal Omar Pasha
Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg Lieutenant General Abdülkerim Nadir Pasha
Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg Vice Admiral Patrona Osman Pasha

Strength

Flag of France.svg 102,000
Flag of the United Kingdom 47,000
Flag of Germany.svg 75,000
Flag of the Kingdom of Naples (1811).svg 59,000
Flag of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.svg 43,000
Bandera de España 1808-1813.svg 49,000–53,000
Flag of Russia.svg 250,000+
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg 102,000
Total: Over 720,000

Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg 550,000 or more

Casualties and Losses

Flag of France.svg 12,000
Flag of the United Kingdom 2,400
Flag of Germany.svg 3716
Flag of the Kingdom of Naples (1811).svg 6000–8000
Flag of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.svg 6000
Bandera de España 1808-1813.svg 4300
Flag of Russia.svg 54,000
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg 35,000–50,000
Total: About 130,000

Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg 130,000–145,000

The Balkan War was a major European conflict fought from 16 April 1851 to 6 December 1854, in which the Ottoman Empire was defeated by a pan-European alliance led by Napoléon II's French Empire. It was the first major European war since the War of the Seventh Coalition, fought almost 40 years previously in 1815. It was the first major instance of "modern" or "total" warfare, as the telegraph, modern medicine, rifles, railroads, and explosive naval shells were all used on a widespread scale by all involved parties. Napoléon II, leader of the European coalition, hammered out an eventual but very costly Allied victory. The Ottomans, resurgent and growing once again in power and influence since the early 1830s, were contained. The Emperor of the French, who traveled alongside the French army and commanded it in several battles, would later die of tuberculosis, which he contracted during the war.

The war was the culmination of a series of diplomatic standoffs between the Ottoman Empire and various Western powers, the most prominent of which included Russia, France and Spain. Abdülmecid I, a diplomatically aggressive ruler, refused to back down over territorial disputes with the Russians in the Caucasus and over economic quarrels with the French and Spanish in the Mediterranean. After a French warship in Alexandria Harbor was fired upon and boarded and its crew captured (some of whom were executed), France quickly gathered together a coalition of European countries and declared war on the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans, alone in the conflict, fought staunchly for three and a half years before being soundly defeated. Despite the brutal and excessive nature of the war, the peace terms were surprisingly lenient, allowing the Ottoman Empire to continue its economic growth largely unmitigated following the conclusion of the war.


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