Russia and the Ottoman Empire went to war in October 1853 over Russia's rights to protect Orthodox Christians. Russia gained the upper hand after destroying the Ottoman fleet at the Black Sea port of Sinope; to stop Russia's conquest France and Britain entered in March 1854. Most of the fighting took place for control of the Black Sea, with land battles on the Crimean peninsula in southern Russia. The Russians held their great fortress at Sevastopol for over a year. After it fell, peace became possible, and was arranged at Paris in March 1856. The religion issue had already been resolved. The main results were that the Black Sea was neutralised—Russia would not have any warships there—and the two provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia became largely independent under nominal Ottoman rule.