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Dardanelles

european, war, defenses and batteries

DARDANELLES (ancient HELLESPONT), a narrow channel in the Turkish dominions, which connects the Sea of Marmora with the iEgean Sea and separates Europe from Asia. It is about 42 miles in length, varying in breadth from 1,400 yards to five miles. There is always a rapid current in the channel, the volume and velocity of which is much increased by the prevailing winds, which blow in the same direc tion with the stream for at least 10 months in the year. The modern name of this strait is derived from the castles, called the Dardanelles, built on its banks, at its southwest entrance; its ancient name, Hellespont, from Helle, daughter of Athamas, king of Thebes, who was fabled to have been drowned in it. Xerxes on his great expedition against Greece, in 480 ac, crossed this strait by means of two bridges of boats, constructed in the neighborhood of Sestos and Abydos. It is also renowned as the scene of the death of Leander, who, it is said, used to swim across from Abydos on the Asiatic side, at the narrowest part of the strait (but yet about a mile in width), to visit Hero of Sestos on the European side. This feat of swimming the channel was also performed by Lord Byron, who achieved it in 1 hour and 10 minutes. To protect Constantinople, coast batteries have been built since 1867, on both the Asiatic and the European side. These batteries have latterly been supplied with ordnance of recent type, such as the guns made by Krupp, and strength ened under German supervision. In 1770 the

Turkish defenses were almost in ruins. Warned by the condition of the batteries when a Russian squadron appeared before the castles, the Turkish government ordered the defenses repaired; but they were again allowed to be come almost useless until 1807. In that year a British squadron passed the Dardanelles and appeared before Constantinople, which until then had never seen an enemy's fleet. In 1854, during the Crimean War, the castles and other defenses of Constantinople were again put in repair. It had long been recognized that the Turks had a right to prevent any foreign ship of war from passing the Dardanelles, and in 1841 a treaty was signed between the five great European powers and the Porte, in which it was laid down that this was not to be permitted. The treaty was confirmed in 1856, the Sultan, however, retaining the right to permit certain vessels belonging to foreign governments to pass. By the Berlin treaty of 1878 the duty was again imposed upon the Sultan to prevent the passage of any foreign ship of war. This arrangement was modified in 1891, when Russia secured right of passage for her °volunteer For the Allied campaign in the Dardanelles, see WAR, EUROPEAN.