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Treaty of Berlin (1878)

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Title: Treaty of Berlin (1878)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Congress of Berlin, Russo-Turkish War (1877–78), Treaty of San Stefano, Eastern Rumelia, Principality of Serbia
Collection: 1870S in Romania, 1878 in Austria, 1878 in Austria-Hungary, 1878 in Bulgaria, 1878 in France, 1878 in Russia, 1878 in the Ottoman Empire, 1878 Treaties, 19Th Century in Montenegro, 19Th Century in Serbia, Anti-Bulgarian Sentiment, History of Adjara, History of Bulgaria, History of Romania, Ottoman Georgia, Peace Treaties of Russia, Treaties of Austria-Hungary, Treaties of the French Third Republic, Treaties of the German Empire, Treaties of the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946), Treaties of the Ottoman Empire, Treaties of the Russian Empire, Treaties of the United Kingdom (1801–1922)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Treaty of Berlin (1878)

Treaty of Berlin
Treaty between Great Britain, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and Turkey, for the Settlement of the Affairs of the East
Southeastern Europe after the Congress of Berlin
Context Congress of Berlin, after the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78)
Signed 13 July 1878 (1878-07-13)
Location Berlin, German Empire

The Treaty of Berlin was the final act of the Congress of Berlin (13 June – 13 July 1878), by which the United Kingdom, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Abdul Hamid II revised the Treaty of San Stefano signed on 3 March the same year.[1] The most important task of the Congress was to decide the fate of the Principality of Bulgaria established in the Treaty of San Stefano,[2] even though Bulgaria itself was excluded from participation in the talks at Russian insistence.[2][3] At the time, being non-existent on the world map, Bulgaria was not a subject of international law, neither were the Bulgarians themselves. This exclusion was already an established fact in the Constantinople Conference of the Great Powers, held one year before without any Bulgarian participation.


The plenipotentiaries at the Congress were:[4]


The treaty formally recognized the independence of the de facto sovereign principalities of Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, together with the autonomy of Bulgaria - though the latter de facto functioned independently and was divided into three parts: the Principality of Bulgaria, the autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia, and Macedonia, which was given back to the Ottomans,[5] thus undoing Russian plans for an independent—and Russophile—"Greater Bulgaria". The Treaty of San Stefano had created a Bulgarian state, which was just what Great Britain and Austria-Hungary feared most.[6]

The Treaty of Berlin confirmed most of the Russian gains from the Ottoman Empire specified in the Treaty of San Stefano, although the valley of Alashkerd and the town of Bayazid were returned to the Ottomans.[7]

The three newly independent states subsequently proclaimed themselves kingdoms: Romania in 1881, Serbia in 1882 and Montenegro in 1910, while Bulgaria proclaimed full independence in 1908 after uniting with Eastern Rumelia in 1885. Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia in 1908, sparking a major European crisis.

The Treaty of Berlin accorded special legal status to some religious groups; it also served as a model for the Minorities System that was subsequently established within the framework of the League of Nations.[8] It also vaguely called for a border rectification between Greece and the Ottoman Empire, which occurred after protracted negotiations in 1881 with the transfer of Thessaly to Greece.

In the "Salisbury Circular" of 1 April 1878, British Foreign Secretary, the Marquess of Salisbury, made clear his and his government's objections to the Treaty of San Stefano and the favorable position in which it left Russia.[9] Historian A. J. P. Taylor wrote: "If the treaty of San Stefano had been maintained, both the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary might have survived to the present day. The British, except for Beaconsfield in his wilder moments, had expected less and were therefore less disappointed. Salisbury wrote at the end of 1878: "We shall set up a rickety sort of Turkish rule again south of the Balkans. But it is a mere respite. There is no vitality left in them."[10]

The Kosovo Vilayet remained part of the Ottoman Empire. Austria-Hungary was allowed to station military garrisons in the Ottoman Vilayet of Bosnia and Sanjak of Novi Pazar. The Vilayet of Bosnia was placed under Austro-Hungarian occupation, though formally remaining a part of the Ottoman Empire until being annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908. The Austro-Hungarian garrisons in the Sanjak of Novi Pazar were withdrawn in 1908, following the annexation of the Vilayet of Bosnia and the resulting Bosnian crisis, in order to reach a compromise with the Ottoman Empire (the Ottoman government was struggling with internal strife due to the Young Turk Revolution in 1908, which also paved the way for the loss of Bosnia and loss of Bulgaria in the same year.)

See also


  1. ^ Hertslet, Edward (1891), "Treaty between Great Britain, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and Turkey, for the Settlement of the Affairs of the East, signed at Berlin, 13th July 1878", The Map of Europe by Treaty; which have taken place since the general peace of 1814. With numerous maps and notes, IV (1875–1891) (First ed.), London:  
  2. ^ a b Krasner, Stephen D. (1999). Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy.  
  3. ^  
  4. ^  
  5. ^ Jelavich, Barbara (2004). Russia and the Formation of the Romanian National State, 1821–1878.  
  6. ^ Crampton, R. J. (2005). A Concise History of Bulgaria.  
  7. ^ Schem, Alexander Jacob (1878). "Chapter IX [Third Book]: The Berlin Congress". War in the East: An Illustrated History of the Conflict Between Russia and Turkey, With a Review of the Eastern Question. H.S. Goodspeed & Co. pp. 685–700. 
  8. ^ Buergenthal, Thomas (July 1, 2002). International Human Rights in a Nutshell (Third ed.).  
  9. ^ Walker, Christopher J. (1980), Armenia: The Survival of A Nation, London: Croom Helm, p. 112
  10. ^  

Primary sources

  • European commission for Eastern Roumelia (1880). Report presented to the international commission at Constantinople [European commission for Eastern Roumelia as to the state of Macedonia since the treaty of Berlin. 
  • Medlicott, W. N. (1963). The Congress of Berlin and After: A Diplomatic History of the Near East Settlement, 1878–1880 (Second ed.). London: Frank Cass. 

Further reading

  • Millman, Richard (1979). Britain and the Eastern question, 1875–1878. Clarendon Press.  
  • Yavuz, M. Hakan; Sluglett, Peter, eds. (2012). War and Diplomacy: The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 and the Treaty of Berlin. University of Utah Press.  
  • Goldfrank, David M. (2003). "Berlin, Congress of". In Millar, James R. Encyclopedia of Russian History. Macmillan Reference USA.  
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