Facts About the Crimean War

Here are some facts about the Crimean War. Hopefully you’ll find them useful.

  • The Crimean War took place between October 1853 and February 1856.

  • The war was between Russia on one side and Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) and the Kingdom of Sardinia on the other.
  • The causes of the war and the reasons for conflict are really complex, but in general terms, it was about who would control the territories of the Ottoman Empire. The British and Russians were disputing who would control the Dardanelles (a channel of water in Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara). Russia and France were in conflict over the guardianship of Palestinian holy sites, and Turkey was objecting to the demands made on it by Russia.
  • Much of the fighting took place on the Crimean Peninsula (located in modern-day Ukraine, on the northern coast of the Black Sea.
  • Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole nursed and cared for the wounded soldiers of the Crimean War. (Click on their names to find out more about them)
  • The Battle of Balaclava (1854) is a particularly famous battle of the Crimean War because it featured the Charge of the Light Brigade in which the Light Cavalry Brigade, commanded by the Earl of Cardigan, charged a heavily defended part of the battlefield. The assault was very brave, but was unsuccessful and resulted in over 70% of the men losing their lives.
  • Peace talks began in 1856 and the war came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. The Black Sea was named a neutral territory -no warships were allowed on it and no-one could build defences around the coast.
  • It is estimated that more than 300,000 soldiers were killed during the war.
  • The last survivor of the Crimean War was Timothy the Tortoise. Timothy was actually a female tortoise and she died in 2004 (aged about 165). She was ship’s mascot on the HMS Queen which took part in the bombardment of Sevastopol.

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