War and Conflict

Greek War of Independence

What Was the London Protocol?

The 1830 decree recognized an independent Greek nation after the eight-year Greek War for Independence (1821–29). The London Protocol officially ended Ottoman-Turk rule of Greece, which had begun almost 400 years earlier.

In 1453 the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople (present-day Istanbul, Turkey), and they soon moved westward to bring the Greek peninsula under their control as well: By 1456 most of Greece had been absorbed into the Ottoman Empire. Hundreds of years later, in 1770, the Greeks tried to overthrow the Turks and were aided in this effort by Russian Tsarina Catherine the Great (1729–1796), whose aim it was to replace Muslim rule with Orthodox Christian rule throughout the Near East. But the effort was unsuccessful, and it was 50 years before the Greeks would rise again to assert their independence. On March 25, 1821, the Greeks, led by the archbishop of Patras, proclaimed a war of independence against the Turks. Soon, Egypt had thrown its military support behind the Turks, but even the combined force could neither defeat the Greeks nor squelch the revolution.

In 1827 Britain, France, and Russia, all sympathetic to the Greek cause, came to their aid. In October of that year a combined fleet of the three European powers defeated the Turk and Egyptian fleet in the Battle of Navarino, off the Peloponnese Peninsula. But the deciding moment came when Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire in 1828, and the Ottoman Turks turned their attention to fighting the Russians. The following year, the Egyptians withdrew from Greece. In March 1830 the London Protocol was signed by Britain, France, and Russia, recognizing an independent Greece. Weary from the fighting, the Ottoman Turks accepted the terms of the proclamation later that year.


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