11/30 – The Battle of Sinop

“The Battle of Sinop” by Ivan Konstantinovič Ajvazovskij. (Wikipedia)

On this day in 1853, the naval Battle of Sinop took place between ships from the Ottoman Empire and the Imperial Russian Navy. The engagement was part of the Crimean War; the conflict was a result of the Ottoman Empire (or, the Turkish Empire) falling into debt and disrepair, and Russia’s desire to fill the power vacuum. Russian Naval ships found the Ottoman fleet moored in a defensive posture at Sinop, a Black Sea port. With some skillful maneuvering, Russian Admiral Stepanovich Nakhimov boxed in the enemy vessels and sank or grounded 11 of them. Nearly 3,000 Turks were killed in the “ambush”. With this victory, Russia’s new and untested Navy now had control of the Black Sea – it also provided justification for the British and French to declare war on Russia. The Crimean War ground on for 2 ½ years and saw hundreds of thousands killed; in the end, no side achieved a satisfying victory but Russia in particular was humiliated. The corruption and inefficiency of Russia that was exposed by the war was an important starting point for much of the anti-Tsarist sentiment that resulted in the October Revolution.

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