Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 5 of the Viscountdown! Dec.24th

Merry Christmas Eve! Today's viscountdown factoid is about the Phanariots. This is part one of two items I'll mention here about the Phanariots. First, what is a 'Phanariot?' The Phanariots were a group of powerful Christians living in the Ottoman Empire. They often held government positions, controlled business and trade. Many were wealthy and involved in shipping. At one time in the early 19th century, the Phanariots were responsible for controlling 600 ships between the Black Sea and Venice. However, some Phanariots were interested in breaking away from Turkish rule and establishing their own powerful Christian State.

During Valerian's time abroad, he worked with the Phanariots. At first, Britain was sympathetic to the 'idea' of the Phanariots' cause, but later as it became apparent that a strong Christian state in the east would create issues for Turkey that boded ill for British water rights and a British passage to India, Britain changed sides. The second half of the book, deals with Valerian's involvement in that switch and how it led to tarnishing his love of diplomacy. Today's link is a chance to read more about the Phanariots and their role in the Eastern Question. I'll be taking the 25th off for Christmas, but the link on the 26th, will be about the Uprising in Negush so stay tuned! Learn more about the Phanariots!

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