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These vivid comments by Terrick Hamilton, secretary at the British embassy in Constantinople during the ambassadorship of Lord Strangford, evoked the escalating crisis that engulfed the Ottoman realm in the early 1820s. At a tense but pivotal moment in Ottoman history, the Empire of Sultan Mahmud II faced daunting internal and external pressures triggered by war, revolt, sectarian strife, the erosion of effective ruling institutions, and European penetration. The Greek insurrection against the Sublime Porte broke out in 1821 in the Danubian Principalities, the Peloponnese, and other Greek-inhabited areas, morphing into a prolonged and costly conflict between Ottoman troops and Greek rebels on both land and sea. War between Russia and Turkey loomed, largely over Ottoman actions that abrogated Russian‒Ottoman treaty stipulations, including agreements that protected Greek Christians from Ottoman reprisals. Ottoman restrictions on shipping disrupted European trade in the Black Sea and the Levant, which in turn fueled an upsurge in piracy against Ottoman and European commercial navigation.


Published in Archivum Ottomanicum 35 (2018): 155-71

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