Today in World History: October 17th

The First Balkan War was expanded upon on this day in 1912 when the nations of Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria joined Montenegro in the war against the Ottoman Empire. With the Empire’s previous hold on the region, the Balkan countries were of a relatively young age, yet the Empire continued to hold lands in Europe. The countries, determined to expel the Ottomans from the region, created the Balkan League, a coalition against the Ottomans that led to the war. After months of battles, the Balkan League managed to defeat the Ottoman Empire; already deeply in decline following the previous centuries of consistent defeats. The nations agreed to the Treaty of London in May of 1913, creating the independent nation of Albania, and dividing all Ottoman territories except for Istanbul in Europe. Despite the agreement, Serbia took most of the territorial gains, leading to Bulgaria’s resentment and the beginning of the Second Balkan War, which was fought instead between the members of the Balkan League. Along with Ottoman territories in Europe, islands in the Aegean Sea, including Crete, were given to the Great Powers of the time to have their fate decided upon.

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