The Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) was a conflict in which Russia lost to an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, Egypt, Tunisia, France, Britain and Sardinia.
The Ottoman Empire, with the support of Egypt, declared war on Russia in October 1853 and within weeks suffered a major defeat that gave Russia control of the Black Sea.
|On November 18, 1853, the ‘Pervaz-i Bahri’ (a 10–gun paddle wheel steamer), was forced to strike her colors after a running battle with the Russian paddle wheel Frigate ‘Vladimir’ (painting by Alexey Bogoliubov).|
|12 days later the Egyptian Imperial Fleet was destroyed at Sinope along with the Ottoman fleet|
|The destruction of the Ottoman fleet at Sinope by|
Key to Russia's control of the Black Sea was its naval base at Sevastopol, on the Crimean peninsula.
Fuad Pacha, then Minister of Foreign Affairs in Constantinople,
|"Fuad-Pacha, Kialib Effendi of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Ottoman Empire and Minister Plenipotentiary at the Congress of Paris"|
called upon Napoleon III of France
|Portrait of Napoleon III (1808-1873)|
and Queen Victoria of England
|Earliest known photograph of Victoria, here with her eldest daughter, c. 1845|
to join the Ottoman Empire in an alliance signed by Sultan Abdulmecid I
|The Allies: Sultan Abdulmecid I of the Ottoman Empire, Queen Victoria, and President of France Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte.|
against Emperor Nicholas I of Russia.
|Emperor Nicholas I. Portrait by Franz Krüger|
The British and French fleets entered the Black Sea on January 3, 1854, to protect Turkish transports. On March 28 Britain and France declared war on Russia.
|British soldiers leaving for the Crimean War, February 1854|
In September 1854 the allies landed troops in Russian Crimea, on the north shore of the Black Sea,
and began a yearlong siege of the Russian fortress of Sevastopol.
|Map of the French (blue) and British (red) lines during the siege. The defenders' positions are in green.|
|Siege of Sevastopol by Franz Roubaud|
|The siege of Sevastopol|
On January 26, 1855, the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont
|Sardinia in 1860|
headed by Emperor Victor Emanuel II
|Emperor Victor Emanuel II would assume the title King of Italy on 17 March 1861 and become the first king of a united Italy. The Italians gave him the epithet Father of the Fatherland (Italian: Padre della Patria)|
joined the alliance and sent 10,000 troops. Finally, on September 11, 1855, three days after a successful French assault on the Malakhov, a major strongpoint in the Russian defenses,
|Attack on the Malakoff by William Simpson, published shortly after the battle.|
the Russians blew up the forts, sank the ships, and evacuated Sevastopol.
Russia accepted preliminary peace terms on February 1, 1856. The Congress of Paris worked out the final settlement from February 25 to March 30.
|Edouard Louis Dubufe, Congrès de Paris, 1856, Palace of Versailles.|
The resulting Treaty of Paris, signed on March 30, 1856, guaranteed the integrity of Ottoman Turkey and obliged Russia to surrender territories at the mouth of the Danube.
Russian battleships were banned from sailing the Black Sea, which drastically decreased their influence over the essential warm water port and the Danube River was opened to the shipping of all nations.
Fuad Pacha represented the Ottoman Empire at the Congress of Paris. He offered this exceptional meerschaum pipe to a genovese Admiral who participated in the naval battles and siege of Sevastopol.
The pipe stands 24 inches (60cm) tall.
|From Vienna, Austria. (ex-Ramazzotti Collection)|
Its silver cap is masterfully chiseled and inlaid with semi-precious stones.
Forty characters in bas-relief ornate the bowl and stem, depicting an epic battle reminiscent of the glorious feats of the legions of the Roman Empire.