Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




From 330 to 1453 A.D., Constantinople became first the strategic position on the land route from the west to the east and then the important trading center of the eastern Empire. During this period the Italian cities had to cope with the "Question of the Straits" among themselves. For them, it was merely a commercial question. For the Greeks it was an important question since the city needed to be defended against the onslaught of the Moslems by means of the city's strong walls and by the active fleet in the Straits.

The conquest of the Straits by the Turks, beginning around the middle of the fourteenth century lasted for about an hundred years. They accomplished this conquest in 1453. Gradually the Turks were able to extend their control over the entire Black Sea Area, and until that time the Black Sea was not entirely closed to trade. However, beginning in 1475 and lasting until 1774, the Black Sea was considered as a "virgin sea". Not until Russia had established herself upon the northern shores of the Black Sea did Turkey give up her exclusive control over all shipping within that body of water. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, all of the important countries of Europe had gained permission to pass their commerce through the Straits into the Black Sea. The problem of commercial freedom during peace time was pretty well settled, but Turkey through her control was able to prevent foreign warships from using the Straits and from entering the Black Sea.

The purpose of this paper is to give an account of the events which took place during the years 1914-1923 in the establishment of a "New Regime of the Straits."



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