The Balkans, Crete and Cyprus 1878–1912


Map Code: Ax00129

The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 heralded the final dismantling of Ottoman rule in southern Europe. The Treaty of San Stefano confirmed the independence of Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, while Britain acquired Cyprus. However, Austria-Hungary and Britain were concerned about Russian dominance in the Balkans, and the subsequent Congress of Berlin returned parts of Greater Bulgaria to the Ottomans, and made Bosnia-Herzegovina an Austro-Hungarian protectorate. This was a stop-gap solution and in 1885, the Bulgarian territories remaining under Ottoman control rebelled. Russia threatened to occupy Bulgaria, but was thwarted by Austria-Hungary wrecking their Triple Entente with Germany; Russia subsequently allied with France in 1894. Austria-Hungary also alienated Serbia with its failure to support territorial claims in Bulgaria. This was exacerbated when Austria-Hungary exploited the Young Turks’ revolution against the Ottomans to annex Bosnia-Herzegovina and its large ethnic Serb minority in 1908; Russia favoured its incorporation in a Greater Serbia.

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