Treaty of Balta Liman

Treaty of Balta Liman

The Treaties of Balta Liman were both signed in Balta-Liman (near Istanbul) with the Ottoman Empire as one of its signatories.



The Treaty of Balta Liman was a commercial treaty signed in 1838 between the Ottoman Empire and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, regulating international trade. Duties were set at 7 % on imports, 16 % on exports, and 8 % on transiting goods. The Ottomans also agreed to the abolition of all monopolies. In 1831, Mehmet Ali of Egypt's son Ibrahim Pasha led a successful military expedition into Syria, established himself as governor, and set to modernize the country. There was concern in the United Kingdom about the possibility of the establishment of an independent state allied to Russia against the Ottomans and Qajar Persia (the independence and territorial integrity of both the Ottoman Empire and Persia were seen as vital to British interests in the region). There were also numerous complaints of British businessmen who were subject to duties levied on good transshipped across the Ottoman Empire and arbitrary levies by local pashas. When Muhammad Ali refused to implement the agreement because of the threat this posed to his nascent industrialisation project, Sultan Mahmud II gave him a year's grace period, after which Muhammad Ali still refused to comply. In 1840, the Ottomans, with British assistance, attacked and reasserted control over Syria. The price paid for the help was a high one though, as the treaty had initiated a new commercial era for British interests and continued dominance of the Ottoman Empire.[1]


The Convention of Balta Liman of May 1, 1849 was an agreement between Russia and the Ottomans regulating the political situation of the two Danubian Principalities (the basis of present-day Romania), signed during the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1848. Moldavia, which had been placed under Russian occupation in late spring 1848 following a revolutionary attempt, and Wallachia, where a liberal Provisional Government had briefly assumed power before facing a common Ottoman-Russian reaction, were confirmed their previous status of Ottoman suzerainty and Russian protectorate (first established in 1831-32 by the Regulamentul Organic). Minor provisions were added, signifying a relative increase in Ottoman influence — namely, hospodars were no longer elected by the local National Assemblies for life, and instead appointed by the Porte for seven-year terms. A common military presence was maintained until 1851. The document led to the appointment of Barbu Dimitrie Ştirbei as hospodar of Wallachia and Grigore Alexandru Ghica as hospodar of Moldavia. The Convention was rendered void by the Crimean War (during which the Principalities fell under Austrian occupation), and the statutory system itself was annulled by the 1856 Treaty of Paris.[2]


  1. ^ Gelvin, p. 77.
  2. ^ Hitchins, pp. 335-336.

See also


  • James L. Gelvin, The Modern Middle East , Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Keith Hitchins, Românii, 1774-1866, Humanitas, Bucharest, 1998 (translation of the English-language edition The Romanians, 1774-1866, Oxford University Press, USA, 1996).

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