9 January 1792

The Treaty of Jassy between Russian and Ottoman Empire is signed.

Treaty of Jassy Jan. 9, 1792, pact signed at Jassy in Moldavia, at the conclusion of the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–92; it confirmed Russian dominance in the Black Sea. The Russian empress Catherine II the Great had entered the war envisioning a partition of the Ottoman Empire between Russia and Austria and a revival of the Byzantine Empire in Istanbul.

Catherine organized her forces to get a window in the Black Sea. Turkey’s Sultan was opposed to Catherine’s intervention. With the French encouragement, the Sultan declared war against Russia in 1768. The armies of Russia easily overran Moldavia, and the Turks had to run away. The Russians thus occupied Wallachia in 1770.

They also captured Azov and encouraged the Greeks to rebel against the Sultan. The Turks had no way but to accept a treaty in 1774. This treaty ended the war.

By this treaty, Russia received Azov and Kinburn, and restored other provinces on the condition that they be better governed. She was also recognized as the spiritual protector of the orthodox Christian subjects of Turkey. This gave Russia an opportunity to interfere in Turkey’s affairs and thus marked the opening of the Eastern question in the 19th century. Russia gained the right of free navigation in the Black Sea and on the Danube and also the use of Turkish harbors. Thus the treaty marked the starting point of Russian expansion in the Near East.

Catherine’s lust of aggrandizement did not stop with this. With the help of Austria, she wished to make further acquisitions at the expense of Turkey. In 1787, war was declared against the Turks. Turkey was exposed to the simultaneous attack of its two most powerful neighbors. She again suffered a series of reverses and signed the Treaty of Jassy in 1792. Turkey gave up her hold on the northern coast of the Black Sea upto the river Dniestes which henceforth became the boundary between Russia and Turkey. By the annexation of Crimea, Catherine got the “window” in the Black Sea region.

The city of Odess is said to occupy the site of an ancient Miletian Greek colony that disappeared between the 3d and 4th cent. In the 14th cent. the site, then under Lithuanian control, became a Crimean Tatar fortress and trade center called Khadzhi-Bei. In 1764 it passed to the Turks, who built a fortress to protect the harbor. It was captured by the Russians in 1789.

By the Treaty of Jassy in 1792, Turkey ceded the region between the Dniester and the Buh to Russia, which rebuilt Odessa as a fort, commercial port, and naval base. The city that developed around the fort grew rapidly as the chief grain-exporting center of Ukraine; its importance was further enhanced with the coming of the railroad in the second half of the 19th cent. It was a free port from 1819 to 1849, and in 1866 it was linked by rail with Kiev, Kharkiv, and the Romanian city of Jassy. Industrialization began in the latter part of the 19th cent.

Odessa was a center of émigré Greek and Bulgarian patriots, of the Ukrainian cultural and national movement, of Jewish culture, and of the labor movement and social democracy. The city’s first workers’ organization was founded in 1875. Odessa was the scene in 1905 of a workers’ outbreak led by sailors from the battleship Potemkin. When Turkey closed the Dardanelles to the Allies in World War I, the port of Odessa was also closed and was later bombarded by the Turkish fleet. Following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, the city was successively occupied by the Central Powers, the French, the Reds, and the Whites until the Red Army definitively took it from General Denikin in 1920 and united it with the Ukrainian SSR. Odessa suffered greatly in the famine of 1921-22 after the Russian civil war.