Article 9 of the 1856 Paris Peace Treaty, concluded at the end of the Crimean War, obliged the Ottoman Empire to grant Christians equal rights with Muslims. Before the treaty was signed, the Ottoman government issued an edict, Hatt-ı Hümayun, which proclaimed the principle of the equality of Muslims and non-Muslims,and produced some specific reforms to this end. For example, the jizya tax was abolished and non-Muslims were allowed to join the army.
However, some key aspects of dhimmi status were retained, including that the testimony of Christians against Muslims was not accepted in courts, which granted Muslims effective immunity for offenses conducted against Christians. Although local level relations between communities were often good, this practice encouraged exploitation. Abuses were at their worst in regions with a predominantly Christian population, where local authorities often openly supported abuse as a means to keep Christians subjugated.
The Romanian War of Independence is the name used in Romanian historiography to refer to the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish war, following which Romania, fighting on the Russian side, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. On April 16 1877, Romania and the Russian Empire signed a treaty at Bucharest under which Russian troops were allowed to pass through Romanian territory, with the condition that Russia respected the integrity of Romania. The mobilization began, and about 120,000 soldiers were massed in the south of the country to defend against an eventual attack of the Ottoman forces from south of the Danube. On April 24 [O.S. April 12] 1877, Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire and its troops entered Romania through the newly built Eiffel Bridge.
The War .
Due to great losses, Nikolai Konstantinovich, Grand Duke of Russia, asked Carol I for the Romanian Army to intervene and join forces with the Russian Army.
Prince Carol I accepted the Duke's proposal to become the Marshal of the Russian troops in addition to the Command of his own Romanian army, thus being able to lead the combined armed forces to the conquest of Plevna and the formal surrender, after heavy fighting, of the Turkish General Osman Pasha. The Romanian Army won the battles of Grivitsa and Rahova, and on 28 November 1877 the Plevna citadel capitulated, and Osman Pasha surrendered the city, the garrison and his sword to the Romanian colonel Mihail Cerchez. After the occupation of Plevna, the Romanian Army returned to the Danube and won the battles of Vidin and Smârdan.
On 19 January 1878, the Ottoman Empire requested an armistice, which was accepted by Russia and Romania. Romania won the war but at a cost of more than 10,000 casualties. Its independence from the Porte was finally recognised by the Central Powers on 13 July 1878.
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