Crimean War


The Crimean War was fought between Imperial Russia and the Ottoman Empire who were allied with England, France, and Sardinia. The war arose due to Russia's disputing control of Holy Land sites and treaties, which Russia felt made it protector of Orthodox Christians within the Ottoman Empire. It lasted from 1853 to 1856.

Overview of the Crimean War

The situation in the Holy Land had been tense since before the time of the Crusades. Control over Holy sites was hotly disputed and often sparked skirmishes or outright war. In 1851 Napoleon III of France declared France to have authority over places in the Holy Land, which led to disputes regarding previously signed treaties granting authority over many sites. Fears of an expanding Russian Empire combined with long standing religions and ethnic tensions eventually produced one of the first modern wars.

Battle of the Alma

The first Battle in the war was at Alma, a River in Crimea. It resulted in an eventual victory for the English, and French forces. The Battle is also marked by oversights, which on both sides resulted in bloody fatalities. This would become a common theme for most of the battles during the Crimean war.

Battle of Balaklava

Despite its fame, the Battle of Balaklava was relatively small. It is renowned historically more for the military tactics and effects than its scale. It was marked by an unsuccessful Russian Calvary charge against the 'Thin Red Line' of British heavy brigade, and the subsequent charge of the British light Brigade against the Russians.

The Kerry Recruit

The Kerry Recruit is an Irish song that concerns a young man recruited to fight in the war. The song deals with the naiveté of those recruited, and the gruesome effects of modern war. It has since been famous during other wars, and remains a famous Irish ballad.

Outcome & Significance

The Crimean War is interesting in that three regions which were the centers of Protestantism, Catholicism, and Islam, and which had routinely warred against one another came together to confront what historians call 'The Eastern Question'. Outcomes of the war included changes in control of many Holy Sites. In some ways these set the stage for the First & Second Balkan wars. That said positive outcomes came in improvements to military medicine most notably by Florence Nightingale. Today Crimea is part of Ukraine, but host the Russian Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol.

The following links offer more detailed information, explanations, and photographs of the Crimean War: