Constantinople Mahmud I (1730-1754) succeeded Ahmed III. At St Petersburg
Catherine I succeeded her husband, Peter the Great (1725-172 7).
The Russian government continued the policy of seeking access to
the "warm seas" begun by Peter the Great. Allied with
Austria, the Empress Anna (1730-1740) went to war against Turkey
and, unlike Austria, won splendid victories: in 1737 Ochakov was
taken and in 1739 Moldavia was occupied. For the first time the
Russians began to entertain the notion of taking Constantinople
and re-establishing the ancient Byzantine Empire. This time Mahmud
was more successful against Austria.
He recaptured Belgrade and soon (1739) peace
was declared there through the intercession of France. It was the
most favourable treaty which the Porte had ever managed to obtain.
The Turks kept Belgrade, the Russians lost the right of navigation
on the Black Sea. They would henceforth be forced to carryon trade
there with foreign ships flying the Turkish flag. However they regained
the right to keep a permanent ambassador at Constantinople and the
Tsarina was acknowledged by the Sultan.
everything changed when Catherine II (1762-1796) was crowned. Under
the sway of her favourite, Gregory Alexandrovich Potemkin, the 'Semiramis
of the North' turned her attention to the southern regions of her
Empire. By ukase on 15th December 1783, the Tsarina annexed all
regions designated as "Ukraine", which means in Russian
"border lands". With one stroke of her pen she abolished
the office of the Hetman, the
Sultan Mustafa II (1757-1774) did not allow himself to be deceived
by their intentions. After a long interval he declared war on Catherine
II in 1768. It was a devastating war, lasting for six years and
fought on both land and sea. It was all the more devastating because
the Tsarina had declared the intention of "doing away with
Turkey once and for all" and had refused to accept any foreign