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  • The Crimean War, also known in Russian historiography as the Eastern War of 1853–1856 was a conflict in which Russia lost to an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia. The immediate cause involved the rights of Christian minorities in the Holy Land, which was controlled by the Ottoman Empire. The French promoted the rights of Catholics, while Russia promoted those of the Orthodox Christians. The longer-term causes involved the decline of the Ottoman Empire, and the unwillingness of Britain and France to allow Russia to gain territory and power at Ottoman expense. Russia lost the war and the Ottomans gained a twenty-year respite from Russian pressure. The Christians were granted a degree of official equality and the Orthodox gained control of the Christian churches in dispute. The Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia in October 1853 and suffered a major defeat that gave Russia control of the Black Sea. The Russian threat to the Ottoman Empire required control of the Black Sea, and the key was the Russian naval base at Sevastopol, on the Crimean peninsula. The allies realized that if they captured Sevastopol, they would control the Black Sea and win the war.

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