100 years have passed since the London Peace Conference of 1913, which resulted in the Treaty of London. Following the First Balkan War and the demise of Ottoman rule in the Balkan peninsula, an international summit made up of the six Great Powers of the time (Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy and Russia) gathered in London’s Ritz Hotel with a two-fold objective: one was to negotiate peace between the newly victorious Balkan League (Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro) and the Ottoman Empire, and the other was to decide the new territorial shapes of the western Balkans. More specifically, the following:
- Being the last to declare independence from the Ottoman Empire, Albania’s territories were yet to be determined
- The Bosnian territory of Sanjak of Novi Pazar which had been under Austro-Hungarian control since the Treaty of Berlin of 1878
- The territories of Kosovo, Macedonia and Thrace (which incorporated land in all Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey)
It is safe to claim that the Treaty of London had multiple serious repercussions, where a few months later the Second Balkan War broke out witch resulted in the signing of the Bucharest Treaty. However, it was not only the immediate aftermath which is most significant, but rather the continuous conflicts that marred the fragile region for decades to come, be it the Bosnian, Croatian and Kosovo wars, the seemingly never ending disagreement between Greece and Macedonia over the former’s name which is blocking Macedonia’s path to both NATO and the EU, as well the delineation of the Albanian-Greek borders in regards to the regions of Northern Epirius; these divergences are still echoed to this day.
To mark 100 years of the London Peace Conference, King’s College London has organised a series of events, which will take place between 16th-17th May. There were be seminars, talks and round-table events chaired by academics from all over Europe and the United States and ambassadors from Balkan states in the UK to discuss the various political, economic, ethnic and security implications of the Treaty and the role it played in the region. The full schedule and details for this unique event can be found here.
Map courtesy of International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan War