Drought (1873) and floods (1874) produced discontent and famine among the peasantry in the Balkans which culminated in several uprisings against Ottoman rule.
Ottoman suppression of the revolts led to war with Serbia in 1876. To free the Christians of the Balkans Russia initiated the Russo-Turkish War (1877-8). The war ended in defeat for the Ottomans.
Austria and England opposed increased Russian influence. Bismarck mediated terms at the Congress of Berlin, as a result of which Rumania, Serbia and Montenegro became independent; Russia obtained Bessarabia; England received Cyprus; and Austria was given administrative rights over Bosnia and Herzogevina.