Although the Russian started losing prestige at the end of the Crimean war in 1848, it was not until the Russo-Japanese War that they truly started to decline in the eyes of the western countries. For some time Russia was a major world power in the western world with strong victories, one even dismantling the Swedish empire in the Great Northern War. Due to this Tsar Nicholas the second started thought nothing of the newly modernized Japanese army. After negotiations and land disputes went south between the Japanese and Russian empires, Japan declared war and besieged Port Arthur, which was soon taken. Nicholas believed the might of Russia would eventually win; however, after many naval defeats, the he surrendered with a "humiliating peace". The two powers signed the treaty of Portsmouth with President Theodore Roosevelt as a mediator in Kittery, Maine. This loss was a shock to many in the western world, boosting the prestige of the Japanese Empire while diminishing Russia's. The picture below is the delegates from both countries meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.