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Russo-Turkish War, 1768-74

Russo-Turkish war of 1768 - 1774 followed the internal tensions within Poland where there was the strife between the nobility and the king, former favorite of the Russian Empress. The king was dependent on the support from the Russian troops.

A detachment of Cossacks in Russian service entered Balta (on Ottoman territory) during the pursuit of a Polish oppositionary force. The Ottoman Empire accused the troops to have conducted the slaughter of its subjects in the town of Balta, a charge denied by the Russian authorities.

Following this border incident at Balta the Turkish Sultan declared war on Russia on September 25 1768.

The Turks formed the alliance with the Polish oppositionary forces of Bar Confederation, while Russia was supported by England, who offered naval advisers to the Russian navy.

The Polish opposition was defeated by Suvorov who was then transfered to the Turkish theatre of operations where in 1773 and 1774 he won several minor and major battles following the previous grand successes of the Russian field marshal-general P.A.Rumiantsev. The naval operations of the Russian Baltic Fleet in the Mediterranean yielded even more spectacular victories under the command of A.G.Orlov. Greece and then, in 1771, Egypt and Syria rebelled against the Ottoman rule while the Russian fleet totally destroyed the Turkish Navy.

On July 10 1774 the Ottoman Empire signed the peace treaty according to which the Crimea gained its independence from the Turks, and Russia received the contribution of 4,5 million rubles and two key-seaports allowing the direct access to the Black Sea.

This war was but a small part of the continuous process of expansion of the Russian Empire towards the South and the East during the 18th and 19th century.