Berlin, Congress of

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Berlin, Congress of

Congress of Berlin, 1878, called by the signers of the Treaty of Paris of 1856 (see Paris, Congress of) to reconsider the terms of the Treaty of San Stefano, which Russia had forced on the Ottoman Empire earlier in 1878. Great Britain and Austria-Hungary were the powers most insistent on revision; Russia submitted the treaty to revision only after Great Britain threatened war and Bismarck had offered to mediate as "honest broker." He was chairman of the congress. Disraeli represented Great Britain; Count Andrássy, Austria-Hungary; William Henry Waddington, France; Aleksandr Gorchakov, Russia; Count Corti, Italy; and Alexander Karatheodori, the Ottomans. The agreements reached in the Treaty of Berlin and the accompanying British-Turkish pact deeply modified the Treaty of San Stefano. Montenegro, Serbia, and Romania were recognized as independent states; Romania, however, was forced to cede S Bessarabia to Russia in return for the less favored Dobruja. Greater Bulgaria, which had been created at San Stefano, was divided into N Bulgaria, a principality under nominal Ottoman suzerainty; Eastern Rumelia, to be governed, with certain autonomous rights, by a Christian appointee of the Ottoman emperor; and Macedonia (including Adrianople), under unrestricted Ottoman sovereignty. Bosnia and Herzegovina, original cause of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, were assigned to Austria-Hungary for administration and military occupation. In Asia, Russia acquired Ardahan, Batum, and Kars from the Ottomans. Cyprus was to be under temporary occupation by Great Britain through a separate agreement, and Crete was promised constitutional government. Other provisions included an important rectification of the Greco-Ottoman boundary, the demilitarization of the lower Danube, and the protection of the Armenians and other religious minorities in Turkey. Russia was antagonized by Bismarck's handling of the conference, thereby bringing to an end the first Three Emperors' League.

See R. Albrecht-Carrié, The Concert of Europe (1968).

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