Hi there, Geeks!
Geeked on History was never meant to be a show about current events, so I’ve found myself having to make some decisions about the future of the podcast given what’s been happening in the news. I keep this giant master list of topics that I want to cover at some point, and over the last week, I’ve felt the urge to push this particular topic up on the schedule.
Since Friday of last week, there has been an ongoing crisis in an area that not many people in the United States know much about.
On February 28th, 2014 the news has reported that elements of the Russian military have invaded a region in South-Eastern Ukraine called Crimea. Crimea is a very old territory, and has been disputed for many years by both Russian and Ukrainian interests. The most famous contest over this area was the Crimean War.
The Crimean war lasted some 2 years and change starting in October 1853 and ending in February 1856.
The original Crimean War is a bit of a complex conflict that I hope to cover in greater detail in the podcast (there I said it!) that will be coming out soon, so in this blog post I wanted to point out a little about the strategic significance of the Crimean region.
Here is a picture of the region surrounding the Black Sea. Crimea is circled in red, and the arrow you see in the lower left is pointing to the reason that Crimea has always been so important to Russian interests.
Sevastopol is home to a very important port to Russia that allows an outlet into the Black Sea from which they can launch seabound vessels.
Let’s zoom in on the arrow now:
The red area is the Bosphorus strait, which dumps seagoing vessels into the sea of Marmara, which uses the Dardanelle strait as an outlet to the Aegean Sea. The Aegean Sea then connects you easily to all of Southern Europe, so if Russia controls the port in Crimea, they have a much more direct and faster trade route through this path, than they do going overland through a number of different countries.
Hopefully this short preview gives you enough back-story to understand why this region is going to play such an integral role when you hear about it in the news.
Keep your ear to the ground for the upcoming podcast on the Crimean war, and make sure you all stay geeky!