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Europe After Napoleon Index
Europe After Napoleon : The Congress of Vienna
TWO CENTURIES OF REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE
Europe After Napoleon
Nationalist Revolutions after 1820
The Greek revolt against the Ottoman Turks
The Greek revolt against the Ottoman Turks was to be one of the decisive events of the history of Europe in the 19th century. Greek independence was achieved by the intervention of Russia, France and Britain, but the motives for their involvement were very different.
Britain and France had no objections to the independence of the Greeks. On the contrary, public opinion was very much in favour. Many young, idealistic Englishmen and Frenchmen, the most famous is certainly Lord Byron, actually went to fight. Both Britain and France were worried about the possible outcome because the Greek Orthodox revolt was actively supported by Orthodox Russia.
The Greeks achieved their independence in 1827 because of the intervention of Russia, France and Britain. Whereas Russia desired the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Britain and France intervened in order to make sure that that it did not collapse. If it did, then Russia would have easy access to the Mediterranean Sea from the Black Sea via the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. For both Britain and France the Mediterranean Sea was of vital strategic importance and, after 1830, Russia was seen as the great danger to peace in Europe.
The Revolutions in Latin America
The revolutions in Latin America were to have very important long-term consequences. When they broke out, the member states of the Holy Alliance, led by Russia, considered it their duty to protect the " legitimate " ruler (who was God's representative), by crushing the rebellions. In 1823 three of the five members of the Quintuple Alliance, Russia, Austria and Prussia even started to plan sending a multi-national across the Atlantic to defeat the rebellions, which were led by the legendary Simon Bolivar.
US President Monroe
Although France was a member of the Holy Alliance, the government o Louis XVIII was very unhappy with the idea and refused to have anything to do with it. Britain's reaction was even more hostile. Britain issued a warning that if a fleet of ships carrying an army attempted to sail from Europe to South America it would be attacked by the Royal Navy and sunk. At this point the president of the United States, James Monroe intervened to support Britain. He declared, in the famous "Monroe Doctrine" of 1823, that any interference by European powers in the affairs of the American continent would be regarded "as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition to the United States", in other words, an act of war. The expedition was abandoned.
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