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    Greece Western Intervention
    Source: The Library of Congress Country Studies

    In European Great Power politics after the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815, maintenance of the status quo was the first priority. In such an atmosphere, the attention of the Great Powers (primarily France and Britain) could be drawn most quickly by situations that disrupted their common economic interests. Indeed, in 1823 the war in Greece had already begun curtailing commerce in the eastern Mediterranean, but the European powers realized that the defeat of the Ottoman Empire would leave a power vacuum over a very large, strategically important region. Therefore, they moved cautiously to ensure an advantageous position after the anticipated collapse. These calculations balanced Britain and France against Russia, the third Great Power, whose proximity to Ottoman territory had long caused fears in London and Paris that the Russian Empire might reach the Mediterranean Sea.

    The involvement of Egypt in 1825 was a turning point because Egyptian control of the Peloponnesus was unacceptable to the French and British. Thus motivated, the Great Powers, with Britain taking the lead, began to search for a diplomatic solution. In the summer of 1825, the British-sponsored Act of Submission set the conditions for a Greek state that would be an autonomous part of the Ottoman Empire but under the protection of Britain. Two years later, the Treaty of London stated that France and Britain would intervene militarily if the Porte refused to negotiate a satisfactory settlement after its military success in the second phase of the war. The combined British and French fleets eventually decided the issue by destroying the Turco-Egyptian fleet at the Battle of Navarino in October 1827. Navarino created the conditions for a new Greek state. The exact boundaries, nature, and disposition of that state remained to be determined, but nonetheless by the spring of 1828 a free Greece had been established.

    Data as of December 1994

    NOTE: The information regarding Greece on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Greece Western Intervention information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Greece Western Intervention should be addressed to the Library of Congress.

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