• Bicentennial Greece

On This Day August 30, 1827: Ottoman Empire Rejects the Treaty of London

The Ottoman Empire, believing it would win the war, rejects the Treaty of London put forth by Great Britain, France, and Russia

During the summer of 1827, the European Powers of Great Britain, France, and Russia began to seek a form of mediation between the Greeks and the Ottomans. After several discussions and the formation of many protocols seeking an end to the Revolution, the European Powers drafted and signed the Treaty of London. The purpose of the Treaty, as stated in its preamble, was to re-establish peace in the interest of "sentiments of humanity" and "tranquility of Europe." The Treaty called for an immediate armistice and would create Greece as a "dependency of Turkey."

In August, the Treaty was proposed to Greece and the Ottoman Empire. The Greeks accepted the Treaty and the armistice, while the Ottoman Empire was given 14 days to return an answer. Believing that "the war was as good as won," and believing in its superior military power, the Ottoman Empire saw no need to mediate. On August 30, the Ottoman Porte rejected the Treaty and continued with the war.

However, the rejection of the Treaty, in the eyes of the European Powers, gave them a justification to intervene on behalf of the Greeks. This intervention in the Greek War of Independence marked several milestones for European history. First, the intervention by the European Powers is regarded as the first armed intervention on humanitarian grounds in world history, Additionally, the intervention represented a global shift in European politics, as the three largest European powers in that era were now united for the first time.

With no ability to secure peaceful mediation, the European Powers turned to military intervention and provided officers, equipment, and forces on behalf of the Greeks and their revolutionary cause. This would later lead to the Battle of Navarino and prove as the turning point in the previously dwindling Greek War of Independence, resulting in ultimate victory for the Greeks.

Sources and Further Reading:

1. The Treaty of London can be read in its entirety here.

2. St. Clair, William. "Athens and Navarino." That Greeks Might Still Be Free: The Philhellenes in the War of Independence. 2008.

3. Heraclides, Alexis. "Intervention in the Greek War of Independence, 1821-32." Humanitarian Intervention in the Long Nineteenth Century: Setting the Precedent. Manchester University Press, 2015.

Photos above are of the Ambassadors of the European Powers to the Ottoman Empire during the Treaty of London. From left to right, Stratford Canning (Britain), Armand Charles Guilleminot (France), and Alexander Ivanovich Ribopier (Russia).

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