Turkey 1860-1923 – The Ottoman Empire

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This map shows the developments in the Ottoman Empire in the second half of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century. The history of the Ottoman Empire in this period is one of decline. The Ottoman Empire lost most of its territory to be confined, eventually, to the current borders of Turkey. The Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878 had implications well beyond the loss of part of Armenia to Russia. Montenegro, Romania and Serbia became independent and Bulgaria gained self government. Bosnia Herzegovina was occupied by Austria and Cyprus was occupied by Great Britain. In 1881 Tunisia became a French protectorate and Thessaly was ceded to Greece. In 1882 Great Britain invaded Egypt to protect its interests in the Suez canal. De jure Egypt remained part of the Ottoman Empire until 1914, de facto it became a British protectorate in 1882. In 1897 after a local rebellion, Crete was placed under international supervision. In 1908 the instability caused by the Young Turks, allowed Bulgaria to proclaim its independence. In 1911-1912 Italy, in the Turco-Italian war, seized Cyrenaica and Tripolitania – later formed into Libya – and the Aegean Islands. The Balkan wars, in 1912-1913, meant the loss of Macedonia to Serbia. Western Thrace was lost to Bulgaria, later to be transferred to Greece. Albania gained independence. WWI resulted in the loss of the remaining Ottoman possessions in the Middle East. A small compensation was the recapture of the part of Armenia that was lost to Russia in 1878. A more detailed map of the developments between 1914 and 1923 is provided in the map Turkey 1914-1923.

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