The Eastern Question in Europe and Asia


In the late-19th century, European politics were troubled by what had come to be called the “Eastern Question,” the fate of the 600-year Ottoman Empire. Once encompassing the Ottoman heartland of Anatolia (present-day Turkey), most of the Arab Middle East, and the Balkan Peninsula, by 1886 the empire had shrunk dramatically as a result of wars with European powers, Russia in particular, and revolts by subject peoples. This 1886 map, published in London, shows the Turkish Empire as comprised mainly of Albania, Thrace, Crete, Anatolia, and parts of the Arab world, notably present-day Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Railroads, roads, telegraphs, mountain passes and their height in feet (one foot = 30.5 centimeters), and the summits of mountain ranges—all geographic features with military implications—are shown. Tables at the bottom of the map list the major religions of the world and the number of their adherents, and the principal states with a stake in the Eastern Question and their land area, population, and the size of their peacetime and wartime armies. The states covered are the United Kingdom, Austria-Hungary, Greece, Russia, Turkey, China, India (at that time part of the British Empire), and Persia (present-day Iran).

Last updated: July 20, 2015