First Balkan War

Imperial Europe

Europe 1913.0423

First Balkan War

Imperial Europe (23 April 1913)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

Seeing how weak the Ottoman Turks were in their fight against Italy, an alliance of Balkan states launched an invasion of Ottoman Europe in October 1912. The Turks immediately made peace with Italy, but still lost almost all of their European possessions.

Main Events

Montenegro starts Balkan War

In collusion with Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria, the Kingdom of Montenegro declared war on the Ottoman Empire, starting the First Balkan War. The Montenegrin declaration helped draw the bulk of Ottoman forces westward and away from Thrace, which would become the main theater of the war.

Ottoman Empire declares war on Serbia and Bulgaria

Treaty of Ouchy

The Kingdom of Italy signed the Treaty of Lausanne/Ouchy with the Ottoman Empire at Ouchy, in the south of Lausanne, Switzerland. The treaty ended the Italo-Turkish War, with the Ottomans agreeing to withdraw from Trablus and Benghazi vilayets (Libya) in return for the Italian withdrawal from Rhodes and the other Aegean islands it had occupied during the war. Italy failed to follow through on this last point and instead kept control of Rhodes, in part because of the outbreak of World War I two years later.

Greece enters Balkan War

The Kingdom of Greece declared war on the Ottoman Empire, joining Montenegro, Serbia, and Bulgaria in the First Balkan War. The Greek Army of Thessaly immediately advanced on Thessaloniki, while Greek troops in Epirus marched on Preveza. At the same time, the Greek fleet sailed for the island of Lemnos, occupying it three days later.

Siege of Adrianople

All-Albanian Congress

To quell the 1912 Albanian revolt, the Ottoman Empire had agreed to the creation of an Albanian Vilayet on 16 September 1912. However, the outbreak of the First Balkan War in October brought an end to this plan as Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia swiftly began occupying Albanian territory. On 28 November, the All-Albanian Congress in Vlorë declared independence, establishing the Albanian Provisional Government and electing Ismail Qemali as President.

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