Ottoman and Russian Empires: 19th century

Late Ottoman Empire

1789-1807 Sultan Selim III ; undertakes military reform leading to Janissary uprising.
1798 Napoleon in Egypt
1805-1848 Muhammad Ali controls Egypt
1808-1839 Sultan Mahmud II

Mahmud II’s proposed military reform sparks Janissary uprising; Janissary massacred beginning substantial reforms

1826-1839 Mahmud II reforms: European style military, secondary education (undermining mosque schools), land reform, postal service, telegraph, road-building
1828-1829 Russian-Turkish War: Russian protectorate rejected by Concert of Europe
1830 Greece independent
1839-1876 Tanzimat (“reorganization”) era, including legal reform (undermining ulama), primary and secondary schooling
1867 Serbian independence
1876 Reformist coup installs Sultan Abd al-Hamid (r. 1876-1909), but he dissolves parliament and constitution, exiled liberals. Continued military and police reform, but political repression.
1882 Ottoman Empire defaults on foreign loans; foreign administration of debt
1889 Ottoman Society for Union and Progress (a.k.a. theYoung Turk Party) established: “universal suffrage, equality before the law, freedom of religion, free public education, secularization of the state, and the emancipation of women.” (BZ 909)
1909-1918 Young Turk Era: Sultan Mehmed V Rashid a figurehead for Young Turk rule. Arab and Slavic resistance to Turkification creates serious tensions
1919 Ottoman Empire broken up into Turkey and League of Nations Protectorates

Late Russian Empire

1828-1829 Russian-Turkish War: Russian attempt to establish protectorate rejected by Concert of Europe
1853-1856 Crimean War: Russia v. Britain, France, Sardinia, Ottomans
1861 Tsar Alexander II (r. 1855-1881) liberates serfs: “it is better to abolish serfdom from above than to wait until the serfs begin to liberate themselves from below.” (BZ 913)
1864 zemstvos (local assemblies) created, representing all classes, but subordinate to tsar and dominated by nobility
Judicial revision including appellate courts, trial by jury, private attorneys “whose professional standards contributed to a decline in judicial corruption.” (BZ 913)

Anarchist and socialist activity in the countryside met with harsh repression
Russification and pogroms intensify

1876 Land and Freedom Party, a splinter group off the Narodniki (populist) land reform movement, begins to promote assassination to prompt reform
1881 Alexander II assassinated by Land and Freedom party terrorist wing (People’s Will).
1892-1903 minister of finance Sergei Witte’s industrialization program emphasizing railways (including Trans-Siberian), savings banks, protective tariffs, foreign investment in industrial resources (steel, coal, petroleum).
1894-1917 Reign of Tsar Nicholas II: oppressive but otherwise weak.
1897 Trade unions and strikes outlawed; work day limited to 11.5 hours.
1904-5 Russo-Japanese War ends with obliteration of Baltic Fleet in Tsushima Straits
1905-7 Bloody Sunday massacre of workers petitioning for elected assembly leads to widespread unrest and formation of the Duma
1917 Communist Revolution

© 2004 – Jonathan Dresner

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