Treaty of Adrianople Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Treaty of Adrianople was the first in a series of nineteenth century treaties through which the Slavic peoples of the Balkan peninsula gained their independence from the Turkish-ruled Ottoman Empire.

Summary of Event

After capturing Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman Turks extended their empire into Europe by marching up through the Balkan peninsula and subjecting local inhabitants to Ottoman rule. The peak of their advance into Europe was marked by their siege of Vienna Vienna;siege of (1863) in 1683, followed by their defeat by a European army that ended their advance. In the centuries that followed, Europeans gradually retook the lands conquered by the Ottoman Turks until, by 1913, Turkey’s European territories had been reduced to a small hinterland surrounding Constantinople. The Treaty of Adrianople was an important stage in this reconquest of the Balkans by European Christians. Adrianople, Treaty of (1829) Turkey;Treaty of Adrianople (1829) Balkans;Treaty of Adrianople Ottoman Empire;Treaty of Adrianople Ottoman Empire;and Balkans[Balkans] Balkans;and Ottoman Empire[Ottoman Empire] Serbia [kw]Treaty of Adrianople (Sept. 24, 1829) [kw]Adrianople, Treaty of (Sept. 24, 1829) Adrianople, Treaty of (1829) Turkey;Treaty of Adrianople (1829) Balkans;Treaty of Adrianople Ottoman Empire;Treaty of Adrianople Ottoman Empire;and Balkans[Balkans] Balkans;and Ottoman Empire[Ottoman Empire] Serbia [g]Ottoman Empire;Sept. 24, 1829: Treaty of Adrianople[1460] [g]Balkans;Sept. 24, 1829: Treaty of Adrianople[1460] [g]Turkey;Sept. 24, 1829: Treaty of Adrianople[1460] [g]Mediterranean;Sept. 24, 1829: Treaty of Adrianople[1460] [c]Diplomacy and international relations;Sept. 24, 1829: Treaty of Adrianople[1460] [c]Wars, uprisings, and civil unrest;Sept. 24, 1829: Treaty of Adrianople[1460] Karageorge Obrenović, Miloš Muḥammad ՙAlī Pasha Alexander I Nicholas I

With the end of their military advance into Europe, the character of the Ottoman regime began a slow decline that lasted for more than two centuries. The top administrative posts in the empire were generally reserved for Muslims, Islam;and Ottoman Empire[Ottoman Empire] Ottoman Empire;and Islam[Islam] and only Muslims (or, in the case of the famous Janissaries, Janissaries Muslim converts from Christianity) could serve in the army. For governing some of the outlying regions, the Ottoman rulers adopted a semifeudal system, under which estates were granted to individuals who assumed some administrative responsibilities in the territory. Increasingly, however, this system became corrupt, as appointees bought their appointments and then sought to recoup their expenses by exploiting the inhabitants of the area.

In situations in which the Ottoman rulers could not find suitable parties to carry out local administrative duties, they relied on the Greek Orthodox Church, to which they turned over many civil responsibilities, often including tax collection. Even ecclesiastical positions were frequently purchased.

As corruption in the Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire;corruption in increased, the lot of ordinary Christian peasants under Ottoman rule worsened. The legal system was effectively reserved for Muslims, so Christians had little hope of legal redress. Many Christians held their lands as sharecroppers, turning over more than 50 percent of their crops to their landlords. When their financial burdens became more than they could handle, they often fled into the mountains to join bands of brigands who supported themselves by raiding the countryside. The lack of law and order, the corruption of the administration, both local and central, and the possibility of help from outside, from either Austria or Russia, finally prompted some of the subject peoples of the Ottoman Empire to rebel during the early decades of the nineteenth century.

The first Ottoman subjects to rebel during the early years of the nineteenth century were the Serbs. Serbia Living at a great distance from Constantinople, separated from the capital by difficult mountainous terrain, and encouraged by the Austrians, Serbian peasants under the leadership of Karageorge Karageorge broke out into revolt in 1804. Their revolt was quickly suppressed, and their leader fled first to Austria and then to Russia. Although Russia at first denied assistance to the rebels, relations between Russia Russia;and Turkey[Turkey] Turkey;and Russia[Russia] and Turkey soon deteriorated, and Russia declared war on Turkey in 1809.

When Napoleon launched his ill-fated attack on Russia in 1812, however, it became important for Russia’s Czar Alexander I to concentrate on protecting his homeland. In the Treaty of Bucharest signed between Turkey and Russia in 1812, the Ottoman government agreed to grant autonomy to the Serbians Serbia . However; as Russia’s position grew more precarious with the advance of Napoleon I’s army into Russia, the Turks ignored the terms of the treaty. The Turks made Miloš Obrenović Obrenović, Miloš , a native Serbian, the leading local official, or knez, in Serbia. In November of 1815, they recognized him as the principal knez in Serbia. Shortly thereafter, Obrenović arranged the murder of Karageorge Karageorge when the latter sought to return home. This act led to a lethal feud between the two Serbian families that would later supply monarchs for the Serbian throne.

Meanwhile, the Great Britain;and Ottoman Empire[Ottoman Empire] British had entered the picture. They wanted to ensure that no great power would become dominant in the eastern Mediterranean because such a power might threaten their position in India, so they had established a major naval presence in the area. In the postwar settlement of 1815, they acquired a protectorate over the Ionian islands as well as the island of Malta Malta , which became a permanent major base for the British Royal Navy Royal Navy;Malta base .

By the 1820’s, unrest among the Christian inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire;and Greece[Greece] Greece;and Ottoman Empire[Ottoman Empire] had spread to the Greeks. For more than a century, the Greeks had occupied a privileged position within the empire. Thanks to their exceptional ability to master foreign languages, they had supplied most of the lesser government officials. They were avid traders and had built extensive commercial ties throughout the empire, particularly with the north shore of the Black Sea Black Sea;and Ottoman Empire[Ottoman Empire] , even after this area had been ceded by the Ottoman government to Russia.

In 1821, Greeks living in the province of Moldavia Moldavia -Wallachia Wallachia began to rebel against Ottoman rule but were quickly put down by the Turks. Meanwhile, however, Greeks living in the Morea, part of classical Greece, had begun a more effective revolt. Turkish authorities responded by massacring Greeks throughout their empire, particularly Greeks living in Constantinople. Even the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church was hanged. In January of 1822, the leaders of the revolt in the Morea proclaimed an independent Greece. In June of that same year, a motley Greek navy was able to defeat the Turkish navy. Navy, Ottoman Under pressure from numerous classical enthusiasts in Great Britain, not least the poet Lord Byron Byron, Lord [p]Byron, Lord;and Greece[Greece] , the British government recognized the independence of Greece and lent the rebels money.

The Ottoman government looked about for help and found it in its semiautonomous ruler in Egypt, Muḥammad ՙAli Pasha. Muḥammad ՙAlī Pasha [p]Muḥammad ՙAlī Pasha[Muhammad Ali Pasha];and Greece[Greece] Between 1825 and 1827, an army trained in European methods of warfare and commanded by Ali’s son Ibrahim completely suppressed the Greek revolt in the Morea.

In the 1827 Treaty of London Treaty of London (1827) , Great Britain, France, and Russia agreed to impose a settlement of the Greek situation on Turkey, but the Ottoman government refused the great powers’ offer of mediation. In October, the British responded by destroying the Turkish navy Navy, Ottoman at Navarino Bay. In January, 1828, Russia declared war on Turkey, and a Russian army began marching toward Constantinople. By August, the Russians had reached Adrianople, just north of Constantinople. On September 24, 1829, the Turks signed the Treaty of Adrianople.


The Treaty of Adrianople confirmed the autonomy of Serbia, Moldavia-Wallachia, Moldavia Wallachia and Greece (in the 1830 Treaty of London, Britain, France, and Russia agreed to total independence for Greece). Russia withdrew its army from the Balkans and restored the area to Turkish control. However, it collected a large indemnity from Turkey and confirmed its possession of parts of the Caucasus that it had recently occupied. The settlement revealed Turkey’s weakness to all the world. It would not be long until other ethnic groups in the Balkans would win their independence.

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Brewer, David. The Greek War of Independence. New York: Overlook, 2001. Useful survey of the Greek struggle against the Ottoman Empire.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Castellan, Georges. History of the Balkans: From Mohammed the Conqueror to Stalin. Translated by Nicholas Bradley. Boulder, Colo.: East European Monographs, 1992. Although the translation is often poor and there are typographical errors, this is a useful survey of Balkan history.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Djordjevic, Dimitrije, and Stephen Fischer-Galati. The Balkan Revolutionary Tradition. New York: Columbia University Press, 1981. Djordjevic discusses the revolutionary movements of the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries and the formation of states in the Balkans.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Fahmy, Khaled. All the Pasha’s Men: Mehmed Ali, His Army, and the Making of Modern Egypt. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Examines the military reforms and recruitment policies of Muḥammad ՙAlī, whose army suppressed the Greek revolt in the Morea.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Jelavich, Barbara. History of the Balkans. 2 vols. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Authoritative survey of Balkan history by a leading American authority on the subject.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Jelavich, Charles, and Barbara Jelavich. The Establishment of the Balkan National States, 1804-1920. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1977. Detailed account of the gradual elimination of Turkish control in the Balkans.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Roesse, David E. In Byron’s Shadow: Modern Greece in English and American Literature from 1770 to 1967. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2001. Discusses the beginnings of the Greek War of Independence against Ottoman rule in the context of English-language literature.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Stavrianos, L. S. The Balkans, 1815-1914. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965. Compact account of Balkan history that is well suited for students.

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Related Articles in <i>Great Lives from History: The Nineteenth Century, 1801-1900</i>

Alexander I; Lord Byron; Nicholas I; Muḥammad ՙAlī Pasha; Alexander and Demetrios Ypsilantis. Adrianople, Treaty of (1829) Turkey;Treaty of Adrianople (1829) Balkans;Treaty of Adrianople Ottoman Empire;Treaty of Adrianople Ottoman Empire;and Balkans[Balkans] Balkans;and Ottoman Empire[Ottoman Empire] Serbia

Categories: History