Today in European history: the Mongols sack Kiev (1240)

So describing the siege of Kiev as the “end” of Kievan Rus’ is kind of a cop out, akin to identifying Odoacer’s conquest of Rome in 476 as the “end” of the Western Roman Empire. It’s not not true, and it is a sort of dramatic punctuation mark on which to hang a basic understanding… Continue reading Today in European history: the Mongols sack Kiev (1240)

Today in World War I: the Battle of Sarikamish ends (1915)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
The Battle of Sarikamish was an overwhelming Russian victory whose outcome put the Ottomans on the defensive in World War I’s Caucasus theater of operations right up until the 1917 October Revolution took Russia out of the war altogether. Its military impact was fairly substantial–World…

Today in European History: the Russians capture Plevna (1877)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
If you think the state of Russo-Turkish relations is bad these days…well, actually it’s kind of good lately. But historically that hasn’t always been the case. Consider that the Russian Empire, one of the precursors of modern Russia, and the Ottoman Empire, the precursor of…

Today in European History: the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774)

The Treaty of Karlowitz (1699) marked the end of the Ottoman Empire’s tenure as the heavyweight military power in Eastern Europe (though it still remained competitive). Then passed several decades where the Ottomans won some, probably lost more, but still sort of held their own. But the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca, signed on this date… Continue reading Today in European History: the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774)

Today in European history: the Battle of the Kalka River (1223)

The astute reader might remember this battle from such blog posts as “Today in European history: the Mongols sack Kiev (1240).” Or not, I wouldn’t blame you. The 1240 siege of Kiev occurred on the Mongols’ second incursion into the eastern European steppe, the one that was intended to conquer territory. The first incursion amounted… Continue reading Today in European history: the Battle of the Kalka River (1223)

Today in European history: the Skirmish at Bender (1713)

The Ottoman Empire of 1713 wasn’t the Ottoman Empire of 1513 or even 1613, but it was still a formidable enough power that it could play an active role in European affairs. The so-called “Skirmish at Bendery” (known in Swedish as the Kalabaliken i Bender, from the Turkish word kalabalık or “crowd”) shows that the… Continue reading Today in European history: the Skirmish at Bender (1713)

Today in World War I: the Battle of Sarikamish ends (1915)

The Battle of Sarikamish was an overwhelming Russian victory whose outcome put the Ottomans on the defensive in World War I’s Caucasus theater of operations right up until the 1917 October Revolution took Russia out of the war altogether. Its military impact was fairly substantial–World War I might have been much different if the Ottomans… Continue reading Today in World War I: the Battle of Sarikamish ends (1915)