Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss

(Battles of the Danube and Black Sea)

HART, Laurent Joseph: Belgium, 1854, Bronze, 72 mm
Bust of Sultan Abdul Medjid Khan surrounded by eight cartouches bearing the names of commanders and statesmen of the allied powers, which are inscribed from the top clockwise: RIZA. OMER.; CAMBRIDGE; BARAGUEY; DUNDAS. HAMELIN; RECHID. KEBRESLI.; ST. ARNAUD. RAGLAN.; REDCLIFFE; NAPOLEON Around, ABDUL-MEDJID-KAHN EMPEREUR DES OTTOMANS (Abdülmecid Khan, Emperor of the Ottomans)

Winged Victory, seated, holding a wreath, inscribing a pyramid with the inscription:   VICTOIRE. NAPOLEON. 1854. LA MER NOIRE ET LE DANUBE SERONT LIBRAS (Victory of Napoleon 1854.  The Black Sea and the Danube Shall be Free); In the background, the dome and minaret of a mosque; in the foreground, a serpent and an olive tree.  Around,  LA FRANCE ET L'ANGLETERRE UNIES POUR LA DEFENSE DU DROIT. (France and England United for the Defense of Rights)
Exergue: DIEU LE VEUT (It is God's Will)
Signed: HART, FECIT.
 Page-Divo, 125/215;  Forrer II, p. 435;  Eldem 171;  Weiss BW155

The Crimean War (1853-1856) was a conflict between Russia and an alliance made up of Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia-Piedmont. It began when Russia occupied the Ottoman territories of Moldavia and Wallachia, forcing Turkey to respond by declaring war. In 1854, at the Battle of Sinope in the Black Sea, Russia, under Tsar Nicholas I, destroyed the Turkish fleet of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Medjid, and France and Britain then joined the Turks and declared war against Russia.  After the allies forced the Russians to evacuate Sevastopol and Austria threatened to join the allies, Nicholas' successor Tsar Alexander II surrendered Russia's claim on the Ottoman Empire at the Treaty of Paris (1856). 

The immediate cause of the Crimean War was religious in nature, in particular the rights of Christians in the Holy Land, which at that time was controlled by the Ottoman Empire;  the French supported the Roman Catholics, while Russia supported the Eastern Orthodox Church.

This medal commemorates the allied operations in the Danubian region, leading to the ousting of the Russian army from Moldavia and Wallachia, as well as from the western shores of the Black Sea.  The Winged Victory is seen writing history, celebrating the military successes attributed to the French Emperor Napoleon III. (Eldem)
The Crimean War is known for the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade and is noted as the war in which the nurse Florence Nightingale made her entrance into history and folklore. (O'Brien)

Abdul Medjid (Mehjid) (1823-1861) was the sultan of Turkey during the period of the Crimean War. During his reign he was responsible for carrying out several reforms to improve the lives of his constituents. He enacted provisions that all classes of the sultan's subjects should have security for their lives and property; that taxes should be fairly imposed and justice impartially administered; and that all would have full religious liberty and equal civil rights. These provisions, however, were opposed by the governing classes and the ulema, or privileged religious teachers, and were not put fully into force.  He was succeeded by his brother Abdul Aziz in 1861. 

Link to CRIMEAN WAR (World History by Alexander Ganse)