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5 CIRCULAR 28, 1903)




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Statistical Data Un Events Uccurring Prior To And During The Ilinden Insurrection Ivan Mihalloff, 1-1acedonia'slilse lI'or reedo;n. 1903 (Indianapolis: F Central Committee of the M.P.O., 1953), p.33-34. A. Pre-ILINDEN Statistics (taken from Accordin~ to the statistics comoiled by th~ Turkish government covering the period of 1893 to the middle of 1903, that is, ~rior to IMRO's Ilinden Insurrecti.Jn there were: Arrested •••••••••••••.•••••.•.•••.••••• 3,764 Tortured ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 2.503 Died fro~ torture •••••••••••••••••••••• 22 Beaten ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 90

Exiled ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• durned ncuse s , •••••••••••••••••••••••

Killed (unanned civilians) ••••••••••••• 354 Wounded (unarmed civilians) ••••.••••••• 95 Sentenced to die •••••••.••••••••••••••• 28 Sentenced for life ••••••••••••••••••••• 49 Sentenced from 3 to 15 years ••••••••••• 454

Burned alive •••• o •• oo ••••••••••••••••• °illagedhouses •••••••••••••••••••••••• 825 Raped women and girlso•o ••••••••••••••• 146

103 · • 385 • o7

In reality the sacrifices and the numbe r of v Lct.ums has been much greater than indicated by the ~ statistics. The vfficial report of the lMRU-- Le Memoire de 1 '~ganisation Interieure (1893-1903) -- records that as many as 132 skir~ took olace in the ueriod from 1898, that is, five years after the la~~ching of IMRO, to the middle of 1903, prior to the insurrection. The following table shows the n~r of ,ski~nishes, the opposing number of combatants, and the nu.~ber killed on e3ch side: 4,262 Troops (engaged) ••••••• o •••••••••••••• 74,235 Killed (insurgents)o ••••• o •••• o••••••• 513 Killed (troons) ••••••••••••••••••••••• 4,373
0 ••••••

Skir:n:ishes •••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Ir.sur gent s (engaged) ••••••••••••



Statistics On the Ilinden Insurrection


From the time of the declaration of the I1inden Insurrection, August 2, 1903, until its fall, November 2, 1903, there occurred 239 skirmishes, 994 insurgents and 5,328 'I'urk soldiers killed. The total numbe r of the insurgents was about 27,000 a~ainst a Turkish army of over 2)~,OOO. C. Statistics On The Suopression of The Ilinden Insurrection

During the suooreseion of the insurrection there ~ ~OO Bulgarian villages destroyed ~ "l"Urk,ishengeance, 12,000 houses burned, S~ v wo.nen~, 4,700 iRhabitants slain, and 71,000 left without roofo Such was the balance sheet of the h~roic climax of the IHR,0 during the ;.facede-,aian Ilinden Insurrection.

S II 0

S T l'l. V l'l.

volume No. II

Auq u s t; 1978

Issue No. 12

Contents Page No.

2. 3.

The 75th Anniversary Chronology

of Ilinden Events

4 6

of Pre-Ilinden

The ILINDEN INSURRECTION in the Kostour District (Larry Koroloff) The ILINDEN INSURRECTION in the Lerin District (Angela Vassos) Ilinden Folksongs from the Lerin and Kostour Regions The ILINDEN INSURRECTION in the Resen Region (Evan Kolaroff) The ILINDEN INSURRECTION in the Seres Region (Evan Kolaroff) Participation of the Non-Bulgarian Macedonians in Ilinden (Larry Koroloff) Major Figures in the Ilinden (Margaret Boyadjieff) The Kroushovo Republic (Angela Vassos) All Talk And No Action (Ilinden and the Great (Nick Stefanoff) THE ILINDEN INSURRECTION (Nick Stefanoff) Powers) Uprising



5. 6.

19 20




22 25 33

9. 10. 11.

36 49



The 75th Anniversary of Ilinden Everyone whose roots go back to Macedonia has heard of ILINDEN. Who among us has not been to an Ilinden picnic, out in the fresh air? Who has not eaten barbecued lamb or danced the horo to an old-fashioned orchestra or competed in the races or the shoe-kicking contest? Yes, most of us are familiar with the term Ilinden, but unfortunately, few of us knOw exactly what Ilinden is, why it happened, who the organizors were, or where exactly it took place. Without a doubt, Ilinden is the most glorious chapter in the struggle of the people of Macedonia for freedom. Exactly 75 years ago, on the feast of the Prophet Elijah· (August 2, 1903), the population of Macedonia and the Adrianople PrOVince, (Southern Thrace) rose up in revolt against the Sultan. An ill-equipped mass of peasants decided that it was better to die with dignity, than to live as virtual serfs, exploi ted by their 'I'ur-k.ilandlords. sh The great significance of the Ilinden Insurrection does not lie in its tactical successes. Yes, it is true that the freedom fighters liberated the towns of Kroushevo, Klissoura and Neveska, and that they controlled most of 50uthwestern Macedonia for three weeks or more. But the revolt was in the end mercilessly crushed by the Turks. The real importance of the Illnden Insurrection lies in the spirit of determination it created in the people to continue struggling for freedom. Despite great material losses, despite murder, rape and hunger, our forefathers did not lose heart. This remarkable fact is noted by the British journalist H. N. Brailsford in his book Macedonia where he writes; The first surprise was that this population rose at all, and rose en masse. The second surprise, to my thinking more startling than the first, was that all the sufferings of the autumn produced no reaction whatever against the Committee or its leaders. The peasantry remained loyal to the organisation which plunged it in all this misery. Among the ashes of comfortable villages, or in the wards of the hospitals where the Relief Society had gathered the wounded women and children, there were moments when one felt tempted to curse the whole idea of insurrection, to think that no provocation could justify a population in facing such risks, to doubt whether any


In Bulgarian

nIlinden" means "the feast of the Prophet Blijah".


gain in fr-eedorr. could warr~ t the mere p!lysiCSl pain invol\1ed in ~J.nllingit. But t eSe l1ere an outsider s reflections. They seldom entered the heads of the ~acedonians themselves. One heard no recriGinations t no blame of the Committee, no regrets for ~, apparently wasted,effort. In the hospital in Castoria the patlents in the msn IS uar-d , recovering slowly from diseases induced by hardship and exposure, would taD; almost gaily of their future plans ar.i of the struggle they meant to r€ne·,'l soon as health and springtime so should bring the oP90rtunlty. In Ochrlda, ~here abject poverty and the tyranny of the Alb3.nians h2S mad.e the Bulgarian villegers peculiarly spiritless, ignorant, and degre.ded, I have known even old men declar~ that stould the Committee give the order to carch o~ce more in the summer they would ~~esitatingly obey. hor was this atti:'ude altogeth0r difficult to explain. CenturieG of 0P9ression have schooled the Bulgariar~s to suffer.1 Sadly I a foreign powe r has been trying to capi talize 01}. the spirit of Ilinden. It has been publishing books, holding celebrations, stag mg sp~c)'" in honour" of Ilinden. ~ This is a perver ston of the ideals of Ilinden. Those that cHed during Ilinden , lost their lives for the freedom of Macedonia, not for a Communist Yugoslavia. Since 1978 marks the 75th anniversary of Illnden, the editorial staff of S~O STAVA has decided to devote the entire August issue to this great event. This special Ilinden issue does not claio to b0 a co~plete history of the uprising: It is only our modest contribution to mark the anniversary of this great event •. \>!e ope that our readers will find it h interesting and infor:native. If we succeed in kindling in some of our readers a spark of interest in Ilinden, our goal will have been met. We respectfully dedicate this issue to all who lost their lives for the freedom of Macedonia during the Ilinden Insurrection. In preparing our materials for the Ilinden issue of SHO STAVA, we were greatly aided by the works of Mr. ~eter Atzeff and l'lr. Chroist AnBstasoff. Mr. Peter Atz~ff, for mal},y years President of the Central Committee of the M.P.O., was responsible for compillng the IIMakedonski Almanahu, which was the source of nucn va Luab Le information about llinden. Mr. H. N. Brailsford. Macedonia. Its Races and Future, (Methuen and Co., London, 19~ p. 166.


-3Anastasoff, also a member of the Central Committee of the M.ll.V. fur many years, is a pioneer in providing information in English on the Macedonian Question. His book, The Tragic Peninsula was much used in our research. The Editorial Committee of "Sho s tava"

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.Free and- Independent



August_!lJ 18514 - ThCJuSa11Cl8 of pe oj.Le ccc e tv 2eEer. fer U.E: conse cr-a t i on of :..,ts. Cyril and. tt,ettl'Yiy Cr.urcr, , :.r.e;;:; are Dame Gr-oue v , l-e r-e 'I'c ahe v , Lozancnev ar,c o tne r s t vr.: p Lan atra tegy fur revolu tionary ac ti 'i i ty in l'
- Leaders of I.loi.R.v.visit most cities ar~j, tOlf.IlS of Macedonia and the hdrianople "' Laye t. Local r evo Iu t i cnar-y i commi ttees I komi teti I are formed. !;ew memce rs of tne <..rganizatiOl: swear an oath o~ a Bible. revolver and dagger, to u~fold ideals of I.M.R.O. 1894-18517

November 14, 1897 - Turkisn officials investigatir~ toe ~urder of a wealthy Turk in the village of Vinltsa, ~strict of nochany, discover the exlstance of the vrganization. r.any people ir. tne Kochany , Shtip, Radovish, Kriva Palanka and l<,ale~hevo areas are tortured by the Turks trying to extract informatlon from them about the Organization. September 2 1900 _ The legendary Apostol Petkov and ~is de~cnment wage a 'battle wi th Turkish troops in the Ghevgnell Distr~ct of Southern Macedonia.
"d the February 7 , 1901 - The Turks uncover the 1 en to1ty of hey members of I.M.R.O. IS Central Committee. Docto~ Hr~sto Tatarc f Ivan Hadji-Nikolov and Pere Toshev are lmprlsoned.

I M H U member defects to July - Au~st 1901 - Ivancho, an .... Ozora in the ~ostour the Turks and OO"trays the leaders and or-gana d tawed or Region. Thousands of villag~rs are arreste~, co~tinues its work. tortured. But the vrgan.izatlon survives an

May 22, 1902 -

Dame Grouev

is ~xiled

to Asia Minor.

Lefterov and Doncho September 5, 1902 - petachments.of saev'f Troskovo, ~ouaaritsa 1 hattIe Turkish troops near the vll ages 0 in the Gorna Joumaia Distric~.




January I. 190J - The village detachment of Velgoshti, Ohrid aIstrict battles Turkish troops. January 4, 190i - Historic Soloun Cong~ convenes. Representatives 0 provincial Revolutionary Committees meet with the Central Committee of I.M.R.O. It is decided to proclaim a general uprising sometime during 190). The exact date is to be set later. February 22, 190) - The detachments of Sl. Arsov, 1-'. Strezov and N. Kokarev fight Turkish troops at L'uboyno, Prespa District. March 5. 190) - The detachment of G. Radev battles with TUrkish soldiers near Gorno Brodi, district of ~eres. l'larch 190) - The village of Zhervi, district of Voden, is 9. burned to the ground by Turkish troops.

April 16, 1903 in Solaun.

A group of revolutionaries blows up the ottoman

April 17, 1903 - The bands of Chernopeyev, Dechev and Mazneykov ba~le with Turkish soldiers near Leska, ~istrict of KoChany. April 2~, 190) - Skirmish between the detachment of Alekso of Poroy and Turkish troops near the village of Igoumenets, district of Petrich. April 27 1903 - The ship f1Guadalquivir" is sunk in Soloun harbour by a group of revolutionaries.

~4. 190) - Gotse Delchev, the great I.M.R.U. activist ~ies battling the Turks near the village of Banitsa, district Qf Seres. tray 5, 1903 District is discuss and which still - Historic Congress of the Bitolta Revolutionary convened in the village of Smilevo. Delegates plan strategy for the Insurrection, the date of remains a secret.

May 22,190) - The village of Smurdesh, district of ~ostour,. is burned to the ground by the Turks. May 24, 190) _ Detachment of Mazneykov battles Turkish troops near the village of Dodlno, district of Badovish. May - June 1.903 _ Battles with Turkish troops are fo~t at . Mount Padalishte, Enidji-Vardar District; at Negrinovtsl.. RadOV1Sh District; at Golak, Gorna Joumaya District; in the mo~talns above Stroumitsa; at Gradabor, district of Soloun; at psoderl., district of Ler1n; at Zhelevo, district of Kostour. July==28, 12.Q2 _ The General Staff issues a circular letter announcing the date of the Insurrec~ion - August 2. the Feast of the Prophet Elijah - ILINDEN.

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~hc . o ..tour Di::;ti.'ict i 3 one of 'th o ',lost scenic n~1d r-u,' cr} ar o... 0.- 'outJY'c.:;ter.1 ,S ace coru a. .ic cau- ..r: of this ii1ountainou'" ~'h'"_ .... TT'''' J ~ T II .,,.}L1~ cr.'r, ,.-,r· t"'-r-""l'1 1.. \.. .l.f ..v' u..u flO t' Jt~LG a ('""J.::r101:' of C1D...JE:' ~J:?t'·:CC.1 'Ghc frcecJ.Ol.l fiLhters 811U ,.'url:i::.:h ~_;oldior::;: :_"';,'0:18 2.G ill 01V0C - .icn , 'omen and ch i Lur-on, :.11 ClfT')Gct" ~ '1' • ~ OJ: 'Gr1~,-, 8};)lC 8 tIt' l~UL.[_ e .18 '_,uccGsse:; 01. the f'::-:;e(o:.1 fi')1t0l:'S-their f'a i Lur-e e , the' 'ho1c8G..1e de ctr-uc't i on ;1ich fo1lo''/'::~~ the' upr-Lc.i n lere for')ver ill-::,rained in the 1.1L1c.L; of the par'1 . it Irr"'-'1.1l_:.H :'lC!VOr t·· 1 Cl;>::U1GS. ·.L1::! 8~)lr1 0 f l'Jft them. 'i'he "r.cit':r'", late: ~r2..t1(blotlv;r, 'l'::veta .akr i ova-v ctz-ev ska , who ·.'itnessocl ti1GSe hi stoz-Lc ev errt s 2.8 a, teena,=,f';r, vi r-ecourrt cd them -'GO her fc:...-;li1ymor-e than sb~ty :,rears later 1 [13 if they happened onl~l './'2 s t er-day . '.l'he sy s't emati c campat r,n Oi1 tI1e part of th g .l'ur!~;:; 'Go burn the villa:_'es and destroy t~1e har-ve s t of those 110 hac revolted force( 'chou aande from the .. ostour ,1ecion to iLQi78..te to Crmada and 'th e Jai t'3d ..:>tates. lJnfortunately, "e, the de nccridarrt s of tho;;€! v ho sacr-i r.i cco their property, their ')osse.:>8ioTIs and sODetL2e:: their Li, ve s , ne,:.-lccted 1')2.3t. Don't "e o ::c our par-errt a and (_ -.CLl..l1Cparent::; fe'·; :.linute'J to' a fZ_'liliarize our se Lvo s '.'i tIl their noble and heroic strv..ce:le?
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20r sevcr-eL io1011th8')rior to the IIL'ld811 Insv.Tr~ction, )o!_)ul2.tio.1 of the ~~0'3tour District har' be en f'eve r.i sh Ly "I ... "):i:":n2..r1./.'1':- . ..LOi~ 'Gi18 on.: ;:-~, . cc« Lay. '2..1 .Li'l~0 C!. l' SJ"~l' CJ.C • iG.o ('2' v i de~ I..L ~ U lTto n ~0~1(.:::;. :;:.1 812c11zone -'chc:I'':: orc oevcT2.1 villa' e Q tacfL'Jc"1ts 2.l1c1 a . voyvo da ' (co::1.'llC)_n(,cl~) s appo i rrted for . 'a each cor s to co-oruinato th ac t i vi ties of the v LLl.a,... dotache ~1e~1t3. 'l11c -,O;·1C:::1 schcc Lt.eacncr s :)ii1broider3cl the 'battle ::.:ta:lr::ard ,~-'.'-~" .... " al 0-'- ('':,J_ b,,++l- ! ~'-ta'_"'(10::l-rr1'" :lor SO:1J }'ortu..ll.ats I y, S<::V2r H_.C,_ ...... 0 1 ave aurv i VG(~ 11 ey . :ers. red, '.·i th the: .ao tto 01 :11ilC1c:n • _ --;'-,~oo,10' or Dcath - Gii1'bToidZ:Y'ecl cold. in l."ollo' •'In.::.., ~<;;u I.. • th is 2. list of the !,~ili t2.ry ZO:l.3S in the I·:ostour 1:cL10n, '!J. the COillIllL1dcrs for each zone. th~
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- Di cho .... ndonov'" .J.1urdesh - i ; tanas .~v,r3hal:ov then 8tIJryo :::;teryo s:;::i ':iSLle 1.':1 - IVa:.l Popov (11) ':-1 a tsa r "! (5) .Ju,r:'OL~icheny- 'l..rO 1 , -""OU"lOV a .!.L.Ll u ~6) ~.o!~e11J - ..i~ol2. _U1?.reyev (7) ,iestr<:>.rt1 - !!E;:ola ~LrlE;tOY ( J J :';:-1i ch en: - '~t3ryo 2a:Jhov ( 9) hoao. aLly - "i tr o Vlw1.o . . h ,.ho~tly Defore th e in a -::~al~ z ~ Jicho ... C"'..Ol cv 1~}as l,~l' _~ .... lle~ Ilino.'S.n =!l~-Ul~rection.'lbei1Y
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( 1) (2) (3)

-7In addition there was a Revolutionary Staff for the entire Kostour District. It was headed by the legendary Vasil Chekalarov of Smurdesh, assisted by Pando Kl'ashev, Lazar Pope-Traikov and M. Nikolov. The Circular Letter issued by the General Staff of I.N.R.O. announcing the date of Ilinden Insurrection reached the Kostour District quite late on the eve of Ilinden. The Kostour Revolutionary Staff was high up on the wooded slopes of Mount Osoyo which rises to the east of the village of Drenoveny. Lazar PopeTraikov quickly composed the following announcement: The Insurrection is proclaimed today. Macedonia is in open battle with the tyrant. On the other side of Mount Veach, the struggle began early today. We invite everyone capable of bearing arms according to the established order to join the ranks of the fighters! Long live an Autono!llousMacedonia which is fighting for its freedom! Long live the fightersl The men of Drenoveny were summoned to make copies of this urgent appeal and take them to the various military zones of the Kostour Region. Several men were sent to Kostour to burn down the inns where Turkish troops were quartered, but the ~en were unable to complete their mission. ' August 2, the first day of the uprising was spent mobilizing the hostour District's forces. During the night, the telegraph lines linking Kostour to the outside world were severed. There were plans to liberate the town of Kostour, but on August J, it was decided to call off the plan because the freedom fighters were hopelessly outnumbered. But August J provided the first military victory of the uprising •. About one hundred and fifty insurgents attacked the Turkish army post in the village of Visheny. After a three hour battle, the "komiti" forced the Turks to flee in panic to Kostour. The retreating Turks left behind guns, much ammunition, as well as rice, sugar and other supplies.

The village of Visheny, where the freedom fighters won their first military Victory.



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-uby Lh rovolu Liorw.ry fr<.lo the town of' Kllooo1..lrl:l. BoonuG t.ll llU'ld. oonalsied of only ono hundrou and flft:.y flghtc~a th t t.nok WUB r-e pu Laeu by tho 'l'urkluh garri (Jon. on tho next <.1.4/ how v r , six hundr d froodom f1p;hl.;oru convo z-geu on Klloaoura. I Th y ovorwhelmod fA dotuohmont of Turkish troopo whioh was alao on 1to way to Kl1l:190Ura, and. oapturod r i rteon wagonloada of 8UPl)11s, 'l'h'l'urkioh garrison was a 3-4 hour battle Thon, in milt tary formation, mar-chang to tho tune of a patriotic •. song, with flags waving, tho freedom figntero made their triumphant e:ntry into Kl1osoura. 'rhore, they were joyously welcomed by the town's Arumanlan population. Chokalarov, Kl'aohev and Popov made spe oh explain1ng I.M.H.O. "s ideals and the people of KlloBaura wore inv1ted to join the struggle. In his memOirs, lvan popov wroto of the spirit of freedom which reigned in KliaBoura,

On AURUO L 4 ~
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Klissoura was ours for more than 23 days •••• We and also the people from the surrounding Buigarian v111ages went to market in Klis60ura as in our own town. Until August 14 (old style) we were fully in oontrol. Day and night, we t~umpeted sang and the flags which were unfurled could be seen from Kostour.J On August 5, the band of Lazar .Pope-'l'raikovurrounded the s village of Zhervany. The people of this village, though they spoke nothing but Bulgarian, had been forcibly converted to Islam, and were fanatioal Moslems who oppressed and maltreated the Bulgarian Christians of the surrounding villages. Pope-Traikov asked the Moslems to surrender their arms and remain neutral during the insurrection. The residents af Zherveny answered Pope-Tra1kov by opening fire, killing two of his men and wounding four others. Realizing the danger that this village posed to the struggle, Pope-Tralkov ordered it burned down. On August 8, the oombined bands of Chekalarov, Popov and Kl1ashev - a force of some 700 men - gathered in the village of Smurdesh. The next day, August 9, these men were to attack the town of Bilishoha, while the band of Lazar Pope-Tralkov was to oapture the Alban1an Moslem v1l~ge of Kapeshchltsa. The fanatical Moslems of Billshoha and Kapeshoh1tsa had aided the Turks in the pillage and burn1ng of Smurdesh several months before. The oommanders po1nted to the ruins of the once oomfortable homes of Smurdesh as an example of what kind of danger these two settlements posed to the 1nsurreot10n. On the way tc ,8111shcha, the freedom f1ghters were jub1lantly received by ~he population of Vumbel and Vurbnik. The day was very hot, the ohildren of these two villages ran to bring the 1nsurgents drinks of oold mountain water. B1lishcha however, was not taken. About 900 TUrkish soldiers and 300 armed. Albanian Noslems were entrenched in strategio posit1ons.above the town and in homes on the townls outskirts After a short battle, the Revolutionary Staff decided that the ~ost of taking Billshcha was too high and the insurgents returned to Smurdesh.

-9On August 10, the freedom fighters in Smurdesh were informed that a force of Turkish soldiers, backed up by artillery had come from Kostour the previous day and burned down the village of Dumbeny. The Turks then installed themselves and their artillery in the hills above Dumbeny. But the freedom fighters, who knew the various nooks and crannies of these mountains managed to sneak up on the Turks, and disl.odge them from their pOSitions after a six hour battle. Twenty Turks were dead and two were captured, one of whom was the Turkish bugler. The retreating Turks were pursued to the smoldering ruins of Dumbeny. They were saved by the falling of the night. when in a 8 tate of di sar-ay the Turks managed to made theiirway , back to Kostour. In retaliation for the attack on Bl1ishcha, a Turkish punitive expedition sneaked out of Bilishcha and burned down the village of Vurbnik. killing two people on August 10. After the Battle of Dumbeny almost all of the northern and we ster-nparts of the Kostour District were freed. Frightened by the military victories of the insurgents, the Turkish garrissons in the villages of Kosinets, Zagoricheny, Nestrarn, Fioulla, Gabresh and others had to abandon their posts and flee for the security of Kostour. However, the Turkish garrison in the village of l-aoder-y , high above Armensko, which guarded the strategic Bigla Pass .remained. An attempt was made on August 16 to take the strategic pass by a combined force of freedom fighters from the Kostour and Larin Regions. But 600-700 freedom fighters were hopelessly outnumbered by 2000 Turkish soldiers, aided by artillery and the Turkish cavalry. still, though the Psodery post was not taken, the insurgents gave the Turks a battle they would not soon forget. The Turks lost over forty men trying unsuccess ... fully to dislodge the freedom fighters from their pOSitions, while only six of the insurgents were killed. For three glorious weeks the people of the Kostour District were their own masters. They were free. The men could walk erect, without the fear of I1being put in their place" by the fanatical Turks. The women could leave their homes without the fear of being sexually assaulted. For three weeks they were free of the corrupt tax collectors who took their hard-earned money. They were free of their landowners, who took their crops, le~ving them with only enough food to subSist. They were free of'.: corrupt officials who could barge into any house they wised and demand roast chicken, pogacha* and rice flour halva*"~ from

Pogacha is a rich bread made of pure, 'sifted wheat flour, The average peasant of l'lacedoniawas too poor to afford pogacna ,


Halva is a confection made of sauteed flour, oil and sugar syrup. Fiice does not grow in the Kostour Region, it was very expensive due to this.



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Tn, three worda "". "d'_otruct1.on" WHI "Owtim1. "" u th results of the Ilinrien in th'3 Ko toW' Vi If 8eem3 rather lncongruouG to inclucic trte ~ord "optirnlulll. 'W t'C t.\. the first two. But otrangely enough the pe op Ls remained. o.vt1. h Thousands had died, the Turko deBtroyed their bOUiec t trIal t property, but the TUrko could not destroy the I.kop16 I n~1.rlt This remarkable fact 13 a t t.e n t.ed to by tr.e engliSh journa118t,' and member of the Britteh Helief Committee H. I. Hrailoford 5 A poignant example of tn i.a optimism 11.> pr ov ic1ed by Ivan POI;~V one of the I.M.B.U. leadere in the KOGtour Uietrlct. ~hen nef asked the people of Koa ts if' their homes had been de troyeli


ke , ae o8looodrl~ po-dc or-t kuehchl k~, (Toftell with the village; may you e~y alive and healthyt ~Jhen we liberate ourselves we'll build better houses).6 The spirit of Ilinden never left the people of the Kostour Region, and in the following decades, which were no 1e68 oppressive than Turkish rule. this spirit was a 60urC~ of comfort and pride.

they were quick to answer ate zhivi 1 zd.rav1 ,~p~


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1. .2. L. ~Iil t.Lch , Borbata v Kostoursko po spom ni na Ivan Popov et a1.,


1 Ohrldsk.o


(do 1904 godlna)

Illnden 1903-1953, p. 60 • L. Miletich, Borbata v Kostoursko i Ohrldsko (do 1904 godina) po spomen! na Ivan Popov et al., p. 36.


H. N. Brailsford,


Its Races and Their Future, p. 186.

5. H. N. Brailsford, Macedonia. Its Raaes and Their Future, p. 166.

L. Miletich, Barbata v Kostoursko i Ohrldsko po spomeni na Ivan Popov et al., p. 38.

(do 1904 godina)

BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. 2. Brailsford, H. N. Macedonia. Its Races and Their Future. London: He thuen and. Co., 1906. Georgiev, Sofia: G. and Shopov, Y. 1969. Ilindenskoto Vustaniye.

3. Dimitroff, Luben edt

Ilinden 1903-1953. Indianapolis: by the Macedonian Tribune, 1953.

4. Kasev, D. and Danailov edt Ilindensko - Preabrazhensko vustaniye 1903-1968. Sof1a: 1968. 5. Makedonski Almanah.
Central Committee Indianapolis: of the M.P.O., pub11shed 1940. by the

6. M1letich,

L. Borbata v Kostoursko i Ohridsko (do 1904 godina) po spomeni na Ivan Popov et a1., Sofia: pUblished by the Macedonian Scientif1c Institute, 1926. . . )bIi"llo:"r.,v.);~~~i4'~~~;il
Ivan ~~polt
Hllali~ n~noll"

Nicola I\ndr~efl H.:;Kona




in the Lorin District

The Lerin Plain in southwestern r.1acedoniahas long been one of the most fertile. Through it passes the famous "Via Ignatia" which for centuries was the main route linking the Adriatic coast with IstanbUl. To the north and southwest including the mountains of Bouf anu Nered is the Staro~red region. On the other side of the plain, just east of Lerin rises Mount Nidje, hence providing the name fa this area. It was in the highlands of these two regions - Staro Nered and Nidje, that the major battles between the Turkish army and the revolutionary bands ct 1.M.R.O. took place. The plain was unsuited to battle as it provided little or no protection to the usually outnunbered freedom fighters. Even so, in each village many people unhesitatingly volunteered to take up arms for the freedom of Hacedonia by joining the bands that roamed throughout the region. Just a fEW days before the uprising, the circular Etter arrived announcing the date it was to take place. By this time 500 freedom fighters had been mobilized. Over one hundred of them were from the village of Ekshi- Sou. Keeping this in mind it is not surprising that when the insurrectionmd break out, on the evening of August 2, 1903, it was in this village that the first assault took place. A detachment of 200 people headed by Georgi Popc-Christov set off ~n explosion in the Ekshi-Sou railway station, destroying telegraph and other equipment belonging to the Turks. Mihail Chekov of Ekshi-SoU,WlO took part, lived to write about it in his memoirs: In the evening 0 n the 30th of july (AugUst 2, Old ~yle) r at the given signal 200 freedom fighters appeared in the village square and declared the uprising against Turkey. We checked those who came and we saw that there were older people among them who would be unable to bear arms. Among these people was the pr iest, Father Ivan l-1arkouzov;sente~ced to 15 years imprisonment for his revolut~onary activities. ~.qe took their rifles and sent them home. The bands were headed by a local voyvoda, Tego Hadjiev of Bitol'a. Sarafov sent us Georgi Chakurov from Bansko to ~erve as the expert in explosives. First we ~nformed the station-master and the staff of our attack, so that they could leave the premise~, as they Were our supporters. I was ass~gned to oversee Georgi Chakurov who was charged with destroying the small bridge by the .. station and the railway switches, T~e ra~d .. tOY on the station was assigned to Georg~ pope-Chr~s and Tego Hadjiev.

-15a t bac.ked the station from the I and was aucce sst'u L. The station V·I D by some Turkish soldiers who op n~d f reo Four of those soldiers were ki cd nd a f w were wounded. On our side 'rego Hadj "v and my cousin Che kov were wounded. Teo was tak n into Ekshi-Sou where his wounds w re bandaged. When Ilia Chekov saw th t ha s wound wa fatal he took his own life. At dawn \'./ r treated into the forest by Ekshi-'ou, but the soldiers did not follow in pu.rsuit.1
e. d r-d.ed

R volutionary activities soon spread throughout the region. CommunicCitlon lines linking the major town.s were cut off, the bridg by the Turkish village of Kenale was destroyed and sk rmiah sw r taking place in many villages in the countrysi de , Just above the village of Tursye at "Plocha" , 200 fr-cdorn fight rs battled a Turkish force which was twice as large in number, forcing them to retreat.
V ry early in the month a small detachment led by Georgi Pope-Christov, Christo Nastev, Ferman and Nawn were contending with ),000 soldiers near Bouf and Hakovo. The combat lasted ten hours and ended wi th a re trea t by the Turks and the burning of both v r Ll.age . Just before this Bi t oaha suffered the s ...,arne and lost 25 villagers at the hands .of the soldiers. fate

Most of the district was n.OW under the control of the fr dom fighters. Only a small Turkish garrison remained on igla M untain above the village of Armensko at a place called "Ezert ata". This garrison was a major obstacle in the way of the J.. I''i. R. O. as it kept the road from Larin to Kostour in check. It wa.s decided from both the Kostou.r and Larin regions that this garrison had to be taken. On August 15 the detachm nts soon mov d onto the highlands above the Turkish garrison. The actual attack occured on the following day and Dight have been successful had it not been for the betrayal of a group of wealthy citizens from the village of P soder. Due to this treachery reinforcements soon arrived so that 600 ill-equiped freedom fighters soon foUnd themselves at war with a Turkish army of 2,000 men, complete with artillary and a cavalry. Those sites above the village, such as "Georgova Glava", "Ezer-t.aa ta "Kopanka ta " and "Vlashkite Plochi II wi 11 a Iway- be a reminder of the heroic sixteen hour battle in only six insurgents were killed despite the gr at force of the Turkish army. The latter then retreated to Lerin. On their way, they sacked the village of Armensko, brutally butchering and shooting 120 men, women and children. Georgi Pope-Christov was a witness to this atrOCity. In his
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wri es: he next day I entered he village with band wh re w collected the cor~ses. my , 'G Half of the ~~~u:at10n 15 recoman1ac the other half exarchist. The Greek b1shop of Lerin told the Patriarchist priest, Father Lazar, that th~,villag7rs were not to support the Komita]1, but 1nstead were to remain peaceful, and that when the army entered the village they .'-':ld ,.r)t run away but do just the opposite - to g~, men women and cr.~~ '_2. and meet the Turk1sh army, so that they could be treated,with mercy. That is eAactly wh a t; they d i.d , When the army descended the Hount Bi91a Pass, the villagers - men, wome n , and children went out to meet them. hs soon as the priest opened his mou~h they cut off his head and began to butcher the population and set fires; th~ villagers dispersed and locked th::.:n.selves ~hEir homes. in They pursued them and bur~ed the village. If someone tried to house he was his immediately sho t; at '-.e threshold of his door. Others '.;he) ','e w: afraid to leave their homes or to r.ide Vlere burned alive. There were half-bur~ed o~ completely charred bodie3. Mar.y women were able to save themsel\Te3 by offering them money and fleeing. There wez e also children murdered. This was what Zhe Bashibouzouk and the Turkish army did. On

This barbarism \-16S not neN' 2.:::; m ny ot.he villages suffered the r same plight. Only three days earlier, the villagers of Neocazi received similar treatment. H.' r:. Erailsford related their' fate in his book, Mace~onia. Its Races and Their Future: There was Heocazi, a poor Bulgarian hamlet in the plain not far from Florina, From it only a few of the younger men had joined the bands. When t he TUrks swooped down upon it they were not content with burning it. They summoned the men together under the pretext of marching them as prisoners to Florina. On the 'road half-way they halted and massacred them at leisure and in cold blood, to the number of over sixty, for the crime of being fathers of insurgent sons. It is said that some were tortured before they died, and others were made to stand in files that the soldiers might experiment with their rifle3 to see how many a single bullet would kill.


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- On September 24, th ch ta of Dimi tar La a Turkish patrol near- Yanako , Laze di no casualties while the Turks 10 t many TIl n.

- On September 28, the cheta of Na t v an tw battles in the Gorna Jumaisko are with many casual ties. Th same day th ch t of Zografov fought a battle: ~':instth 'I'ur ks , hours. August 30, in the Pirin mountain, th ch , toyanov, .... P. Durgenov and D. Zografov numbering with the help of other ch<>ti totaling 50 m n , cla h The ens army. The fighting went into th night. the Turks in this battle.
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than 20,000 '.curlei sh troop::::. 'j_'hi~.; cLe arly f"J 0 ITS he o dd s th freec1.o:n fiGhter;;; bad u~~D,i:rlsthon but Lao tho 0 ~ 0.(.' an t ;_;allantry v.L th vrh i ch they fou,:ht Ln ntt il11 tine to 1 fc;:o.t their O~)pr8S8or8 .

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. The Arumem.ans of Macodonia tlere .no t just content with giving their moral support to the Ilinden Insurrection. Many Arumanians from Krotishov o, fr':JID t.H~ Bi t ~ ana. xes tour Regions '8 joined the revolutio~ary bends .~ their ~ight for freedom. ~ot only were t1ey fine fiG!:.ti::1g mer, , bl·C several of I.M.R.O.IS most ll1ustrio1.1.G comanc'..e-:>;;;1 er-e Aru;-:aniu-,'ls. w The legendary Voyvoda (Co8~ander) Mitre VIano particularly distinguished himself in the Kostour ~:~gion duril"'$ the Ilinden Inourrection. After the upr-Ls If!.13 cr.::.phec" M·i.";r<3r-ef'ueed to abandon MaceUonla and the str:~gg:;'e f'.c~i.n$)t t:hG Tur~;;s. He died in battle w1 th th~ Turks in the ,"lint·eX' 0: 3.907 near the village of Zhouprn~shcha. 5 'I'he ce Lebz-a tod P: 1';0 GcuLf tJas commander-of the reVolutio~ary band.s in the Kr-one .':)vo R<?gion. His mother was an Arur1anlWl, while his father vraa e.n Albal1.ian.6





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Damian Grouevwae born in Smilevo district of Eitol'a, in 1867. He was • one of the founders of I.M.R.u. and a member of the first Central Committee in 1894. A man possessing outstanding oratorical Skills, Grouev spoke constantly and to anyone of his ideal of a free and independent Macedonia. A deep and trusting friendship developed between the two great patriots. Always the agitator and activist, Grouev spent most of his time in Shtip organizing revolutionary committees, establishing oontacts, and ceaselessly preaching his political ideals.

1894-95, Grouev met Gotse Delchev.

While in Shtip during the years

Damian Groue....,

On August 6, 1900, Grouev was arrested and thrown in the jail in Bitol'a, where he remained un ti 1 1902. Even behind bars, Grouov remained in constant contact with members of the revolutionary organization. He was kept informed of everything that was going on with I.M.R.O. From Bitol'a, he was sent into exile by the Turks, to Podrum kale in Asia Minor. There he came into contact with Dr. Hristo Tatarchev, Pere Toshev and Hristo Matov. In 1903, just before Easter, the Turks granted amnesty and Damian Grouev was freed. He went directly to Soloun, where he learned of the deciSion " to stage the Ilinden Uprising. He was elected as a member of the Revolutionary Command. In this capacity, he was able to witness the effects of the war on his own birthplace of Smilevo. After the uprising, Grouev did not leave Maoedonia, but remained among his own people, offering hope, support and wisdom to the Organization and the Macedonian Cause. On December 2,3, 1906, in Mal~8hev8ko, Grouav was uncovered by a Turkish raiding party and, along with two loyal friends, was shot and killed. He was 39 years old.







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to draft th IJlanu by whioh u whol .. nation of poople would. r1u for' fro(jdol'lI.

w 11 as ttHjwk11ng. uo Lonev orgu.n1z d o omnutt eo, urgou. pcop Ie 10 br: come .. flghtor'a, and tr13.l/o11od. of' Len to :Jofia, in order to otabliub contact with other revolutlonariea.

Gotoe Delchav 1872-1903

in'Baniiaa, district of scr-e a , where he Wf.iO apend1ngtwo days, the house in which he wae staying waa surroundeQ, and he was killed by a bullet in the cheat. He was 31 years old.

ware offered for his capture).

velcnev beoame ~ ltvlng legend. 'llhe '!'urka ttt,1od in vam to ca toh and. aubdue thin fiery activ1st (2,000 lira

on ~la.y 2,

was born

"$ohool ill Soloun. !Juring the ~erb1an ... :1jtdgarian war, 'l'ol3hev onlta ted as a volunteer til the Bulgarian army_ He me t Damian Orouev when 'bo th Wf;,re in ~rllep in lf392. Between t~94 ar~ 1~9b, 1898 and 1901, TOBhev, along w1th Grouev, led th revolutionary movement in Macedonia. Toahev played a pivetal role 111 the Illndan upris1ng as a leador of tho MaX-lova band, After thec11aaatrol+8 war, he became a :rloualy.ill in ~copye. He r turned to of1a in 1912. He, how~ cv r. did not liv to oe hi .natlv~ v111g. B he wa k.illed on the 1'0ad.
btw on X'ail ko and Dr novo , it? Y az-a old

Tooh v, [;I. f'ound.e r' of I.M.B.U. in Vrilep in lti65. ~etw en 18f32 and HH:!5, l'oahev at t.enaed high


he ta.ugh tat the Eulgarian, .men'6 high school 1ll Bltol1a. In Solaun b twe n



Boris Sarafov was born in the village of Libyakovo on July 12, 1872. He finished high school in ~oloun before enrolling in the military school in Sofia, from which he emerged a young officer in 1893. Sarafov subsequently became aware of the Macedonian Movement in which he immediately became actively' involved. . Sarafov, a great activist and strategist, drew up countless revolutionary plans. In order to acquire knowledge in foreign military policy and strategy, he travelled to Russia. Such was his genuine coman ttment to the f>lacedonian situation - his personal oommittment to devise suoh strategy as would gain for the Maoedonian people their freedom and independence.

When news of the impending uprising reaohed Sarofov in 1903, he decided to return to r-lacedoniaso that he could take an active part. He was elected as a member of the main Revolutionary Command along with Damian Grouev and Anastas Lazarov.During the aotual uprising, Sarafov himself led the fighting. After the disastrous end to the war, Sarafov was killed by a group of anti-revolutionaries on December 10, 1907. He was 35 years old. .

Boris Sarafov 1872-1907

Hristo ouzounov was born on October 12, 1878 in Ohrid. After. high school, ouzounov taught school for four years in his native Ohrid. He was arrested in connection with the execution of the Serbian spy, D. Gurdan. Freed in 1899 he immediately started travelling through' the villages of Oh~id, teaching people to fight for their ~ndependence. His home became the centre for the workers of th~ Qrgani~~t~on in Qhrlg an4 §ura

~QYndlng v1l~~@~,

of Ohrid again chose Ouzounov a~ ~ teacher. However, due to a dec1s~on gf the Greek bishop during 'I'urkish rule, OUZQU.P.QVwas instead thrown into a prls.on in Bitol'a. He was released one year later. Hpisto Ouzounov Oaring the uprising, ouzounov was 1878-1907 in oommand of all of the troops in the area of Ohrid and DrimkQlekO. He wau 25 years old.

In 1901, the p@ople


ov and his troops travelled to on April 24, 1903he~~Z~~y planned to rid that ~i~lage the village of Tser, who was performing great atroo~t~es~ of its Turkish rulers however met massive opposition by uzounov and his g~oU~fter running out of ~unition. decided TUrkish troops~ an 'ther than surrender al~ve to the en~my. t~ oommit suic~de ~a h'S mother Ouzounov wrote: uOur ~deal In a final letter °th~ is why i die in satisfaction ••••" will be realized a He was 29 years old. Dr Tatarchev was born in Resen in 1886· and completed his studies in Plovdiv'and stara Zagora. His parents then sent him to medical school in SWitzerland. Two years later, he -travelled to Berlin, where he finished medical school with honours. Possessing deep nationalistic and revolutionary ideals, he returned to Soloun, fYiacedonia,to establish his medical practice. There he met Damian Grouev, who had already founded his still-inactive organization. Dr. Tatarchev became a member of the organization in 1893. He became the first president of I.M.R.O., with Damian Grouev as secretary. Tatarchev proceeded to travel through small villages, exposing people Dr. Hristo Tatarchev to the organization. During the up1886-19.52 rising, be:, al:ong:.wi th :Matov ,- formulated policy and spread his beliefs through wri tings, etc. After World War II, he moved to Turin, ltaly~ but he kept in constant contact with members of the organization in ~acedonia. He worked diligently for the Macedonian Tribune. He returned to Rasen in 1944, only to find Na.cedonia under Serbo-Communist rule. Although th~ new government tried to detain him he managed to return to Italy on January 5, 1952, Dr. Hristo Tatarchev. His funeral was arranged by Macedonian rreedom fighters.


-29The Bulgarian settlers of Macedonia were not alone in their active participation in the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. Pito Gouli, an Aroumanian, was a good example of how the Aroumanians of Macedonia also fought for their freedom. He became a freedom fighter at 17 years of age. In 1885, he became a member of the Kalmikov band of fighters, but after its dissolution, he was apprehended and exiled to Asia Minor. Freed, he committed himself even more strongly to the Cause. Uuring the Ilinden Insurrection, Gouli took his post at Kroushevo, which was taken by the revolutionaries. The excitement and jubilation which ensued was shortlived, however, as 15,000 Turkish Pito Gouli soldiers, along with artillery, descended on the small town. Gouli, although he fought until the last moment, died in this battle.

Pando Klyashev was born in ~murdesh in 1882, and he attended school in Soloun and Bitol'a. while at high school in Soloun, he became an active member of a revolutionary band founded by Turpen l"larkov. Immediately after finishing . school, he threw himself wholeheartedly into the revolutionary cause. He worked with the Kostour band, in the area he . knew so well. He became a fiery agitator and, at the time of the uprising, was in the fronto. lines of fighting. Along with Chekalarov, he took part in the battle of Klissoura. There, JOO Turkish troops were forced to abandon the town. He also took part in the battles at Kapeshtitsa and Bilishta.

Pando Klyashev 1882-1907

After the war, he went back among his people. On August 13, 1907, his band was ambushed in a mountain above the village of Drenoveny. Following the fighting, Klyashev, along with fourteen of his friends, was dead. He was 25 years old.

Traikov, born in Dumbeny, was one of the leaders of the Kostour arm of the war. During the summer months t . when not at school, Traikov visited the villages in the Kostour region spreading revolutionary ideals and' policy. He was iwprisoned in the Karch jail, and was released early in 1903. a During the Ilinden uprising, he was the leader of his Kostour troops as well as being involved in many , battles. On returning to Kostour where the villages,were ravaged ~d deserted, TraikoV met a man named LaZar pope-Traikov Kote, from Roul'a. Kote, a staunch anti-revolutionary (the demon of the organization) deceived pope-Traikov and subsequently killod ",~him. On hearing of Traikov ~s murder, Karavangelis requested " '·,.and,received from Kote, Tra~kov's head. Lazar Pope-Traikov "died:,a-t the age of 27. Born in Bitol'a in 1876, Sougarev went to school there, and, in 1896, became a teacher there. Teaching in Bitol'a, however, did not satisfy this young and ambitious man, who had ,a great desire to work among people. In succeSSion, Sougarev taught in the villages of Strezho, Debelatsi, £lhovets, and ' Rache, where, in addition to teaching children to read and write, he spoke to people about freedom, of the fight against tyranny, and about rebellion. ~n 1901, he became actively involved ~n the Organization's first group of freedom fighters. He was then called back to Bitol'a to teach, where he became the first Georgi Sougarev ~ember of the ruling arm of the Organ~ 1876-1905 lzation. He soon tired of this, howthe region of Bi I ever, and he became a revolutionary in Resen, Prilep an~o~eai As such, ~e travelled to the Kroushevo, troops of the Or anim r-Hisar reg~ons, in order to ready the Sougarev fought ~ithz~~ion for r~bellion. During the uprising, returned to work amon ~htroops ln Bitol'a. After the war, he hope. g e people, lending support and spreading After 1904 S POsing forces: 'th~ugarev made ready to fight against two opafter having fought ;urkS and the Greeks. On March 5, 1905, Sougarev was killed i~ainst ~he Turks for three,days, Georgi . the V~llage of Paralovo at the age of 29.

-31Hristo Matov was born March 10~lo72 in Strouga, Macedonia. Although many envisioned 1atov as a professor, he instead spent his life futhering the ideals of the Macedonian ~uestion. While principal of a school in ~copye, Matov became aware of the existence of I.M.H .. He organized the first revolutionary committee in Scopye. Due to health problems, i1atovwas not able to take active part in the fighting during the ~linden Insurrection. His contribution,. however, was equally invaluable. He became the formulator of policy and ideals. Through his writing and his speeches, 1atov was able to express the thoughts and theories behind the Macedonlan movement to members of the intelligentsia.

Hristo Matov

Matov was imprisoned three times, the third time in exile in Asia Minor. In 1905-1906 he wrote his famous work, Revolutionary Actions. Through this work, he.analyzed revolutionary groups who, through war, fought to gain their independence. He published numerous essays, pamphlets and articles, all of which dealt with the question of Hacedonia, e.g.; liThePrinciples of I.N.R. 0.• j "on the administration of U .I.M.R.O.", lI,.jhat were, and what we ar-e , etc. we :' His contribution, although non-violent, served as an invaluable purpose in that it greatly helped spread the doctrine of the Macedonian revolutionaries. Natov died on February 10, 1922 in Sofia.






Born in Srnurdesh, Chekalarov became one of the first Kostour revolutionaries. During the Uprising, he provided the able leadership of the troops in the Kostour region. He proved to be a brilliant strategist. During the war between the allies in the Balkans, Chekalarov joined the ranks of the Greek army as a spy. He was eventually discovered and killed. His head was cut off and paraded through the streets of Lerin amid cries of: "Chekalarov is no more". The head was then given to the Bulgarian church of "St. Panteleimonll where it was buried in the Bulgarian graveyard.


Vasil Chekalarov

-J2The energy and ambition of Marko Lerinski led him, one day, to travel alone to Sofia and ask his hero, Gotse Delchev, for a job. The answer to this request sent Lerinski to Lerin. Lerinski did not possiss any specific talents, and his organizational leader_ ship qualities had not yet surfaced. Nevertheless, he put together a fighting band which was to become the prototype of an organized company. Lerinski had as did Delchev, a strong belief in himself and in his people. He possessed great physical strength, but he was not a tyrant; he did not preach, philosophize, or talk down to his people. Rather, he spoke as an equal among them. Not surprisingly, Lerinski became a living legend, a source of hope to all who knew him. Marko Lerinski Karev was born in 1877 in Kroushevo, where he also went to school. Due to his parents' poverty, they sent him off to work at an early age. As a result of this experience. Karev was left with a paralyzed arm. He became acquainted with the freedom fighters, and was chosen as a leader in the village of GornoDivyatsi, as well as of some of the neighbouring villages. As a result of the execution of two Turkish spies in his village (who were sentenced by the Organization), Karev .was imprisoned. He was tried and released one month later. As leader of the Kroushovo band, he took an active part in the battle at Kroushovo. After the war, he fled Nicola Karev to Sofia. His constant desire, however, was to return to Macedonia, in order to fight f?r the freedom and independence of which he dre~ed. On Aprll, 23, 1905, back in Macedonia with his band of f1ghters, Karev was ambushed in a small town where they had stopped to rest. There Karev died.

-33The Kroushovo Republic

The picturesque town of Kroushovo is located in west central Macedonia just north of Bito1'a and west of Prilep. This town of merchants and craftsmen was brought to the forefront when the I1inden Insurrection erupted in 1903. In the days prior to the uprising, the townspeople were busy making plans with freedom fighters fDr its liberatdon. It was decided that seven detachments would be organized, ech having an assignment to carry out. Bulgarians, k"urnanians and Albanians not only from Kroushovo but from the surrounding villages joined together to fight against their Turkish oppressors in an attempt to free the town. At the appointed hour on the feast of the prophet St. I1ijah the insurgents numbering close to 800 took their positions around the town. TWO detachments went into the town to destroy the telegraph station. At midnight the signal shot was fired and the battle began. The bells from the three churches in the town rang continuously as the citizens took to the streets to lEjoice without fear of being shot, so great was their joy to know that Kroushovo might soon be free. Fighting continued until dawn when only the barracks were still in Turkish hands. It continued well into the -, fternoon when Pi to Gouly and his a detachment arrived to he~p. Together they burned down the military barracks. The insurgents were successfully able to ward off an army of 300 Turkish soldiers headed for the~wn, leaving them its undisputed masters. On that day the embroidered flag reading "Freedom or Death" flew proudly over Kroushovo while its population rejoiced at their new found liberty. The town waS proclaimed a republic and a civil administration-was chosen with Vangel Dinou, an Arurnanian, as president. Other members·of the temporary executive committee were Georgi Chache,-Teohar Neshkov, Christo p. Kyourkchiev, Dimitar Sekoulov and Dr. Nikola Bal'yo. During this time the Turkish population remained unharmed. The citizens of Kroushovo hoped to win their support. They also at'tempted to conv i.nce. the inhabitants of the local Turkish villages PI~snita, Norovo and Aldantsi to join in their cause. To accomplish this they sent a letter to each, explaining that they too would welcome them in an autbnomous Macedonia. The letter, written in the local dialect demonstrates the sincerity of their endeavor. Below is only a excerpt of it: Dear neighbours! As Turks, Albanians and Moslems we know that you think that this is your kingdom and that you are not slaves. You:will soon realize and understand that it is not so and that you are sinning. We will fight for you as well as ··bu-rselves. Freedom or Death is imprinted on our foreheads and on our bloodstained flag. There is no turning back. May our struggle be blessed! LOn? live the fighters for freedom and justice, and long l~ve all honourable sons of Macedonia!


-34the Turkish village of,Aldantsi. A reply was soon received fr?m eagerness to offer thelr support. In it the people express thelr d b the tenor of your letter that ve understan men that you have not left you are n°tht e~l orde; to attack the peaceful s an d Your hear . (l'ke ours) and that you are oppose l' h' h Populatlon '1 doers and to the Government W lC only to eVl those whom you seek are not to But protects th em. They have fled to t h e towns. d amo ng us . be foun . ' f AS for ourselves, we promise .t? remaln qUlet. I your intention is to kill the lnnocent you have only to come here. Hay God help those whose quest is justice, tVe have sent,on your letters to the neighbour~ng villages, WhlCh are also of our way of thinking.


On 'the:9th day of August ~emo::--ial se~:rice~ \vere held ~n all three 'churches for those who dled ln the Ilghtlng. Followlng. the service flowers were strewn over the graves by the populatlon On August 12th a Turkish army of thousands moved. in to begin their assault on Kroushovo. On the slopes above the town the freedom fighters took their positionsi "Georgi aoumov's 1 detachment was posted on the steep cliffs above the ·Bitol aPrilep road. Ivan Naoumov's (Alyabaka) men were on the slope IIBousheva Cheshema" by "Deni Kamen" and ItShestar" just above the road leading t_ Kichevo. Georgi Stoyanov guarded the "Sliva" pass. Atanas Karev, stationed at I1Koev Trun" stood guard over the road to the village Kochisha. Andrei' Christov had dug himself in Ly the Sveti Spas Aonastery, while Pito Gouly was at "Mechkin Kamenlle The village voivoda Mirche a~d his men occupied the road to the Pomack village Norovo".o The ensuing combat wi.ped out the entire group_ Many of the freeQom -fighters t ok their own lives so as not to be taken prisoners. Kroushovo was then pillaged anc burne~ bY,.,thevictorious Turkq_ and innumerahle sufferings were Ln f L'Lc t.ed on the population. By the end, of the day Kroushovo had paid dearly for its ten days of f rae dorrr; . One hundred people vere killed 150 women and girls were violated and 350 houses and sto~es were burned down. The,Kroushovo Republic \'as no more. Yet the herois and t~agedy of t~lS day were not forgotten. They prompted Georgl Tornalevskl to write in Kroushovskata Republika:

-35Kroushovo! Birthplace of craftsmen who can work wonders with a hammer and chisel. White stoned little town in the embrace of Babouna Mountain. How great is your wound and your grief! You paid dearly for your glory. Many of your sons fell at Sliva and Mechkin Kamen. Their heads were collected by mothers in mourning. Your banner fell but your glory remains. Kroushovo; your name shall live for ever!4


2. 3. 4.

G. Georgiev and Shopov, Sofia: 1969, p. 150.

Y. ed., I1indenskoto


H.N. Brailsford, Macedonia. Its Races and Their Future, (London: Methuen and Co., 1906) I po 153. Georgiev, Po 152. Kroushovskata Repoub1ika 1968) I p. 300-301. (So~ia:

Georgi Toma1evski, Bu1garski Pisate1,


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O:::e of the f'ac cor-s that pr-ompt.edI .. ,... :he revolt in August 1903 wa s the c ooi tzierrt f ~ sse rr the new Inspector-wner3.1 of "!acedonia, ~ "u t i ng tn tionary movemen t once and for all. Thus, thr 1 h u t th ::;onthsof 1902 and the first half of 19 3, the Turkish rroceeded to carry OUt extremely drastic and rov against the Bulgariar inhabitants in an ~ff rt t Stp r-e e llious fee lings. b In fac t , it looked like the Turk to make a second Arc.enia of r- acedonia:

The schools, the churches, and the commer of the Bulgarians as I'/ell as their poli tic 1 organization were in peril .... Unless they were prepared to succumb, they had n choice but to save themselves. They decided to proclaim a general ri Sing .... It wa s , under all Circumstances, a war of self-defence.4 Clearly, then, I.M.R.O. had to begin the revolt when it di b f()l'~ the Turks succeeded in destroying its preparatory work of th I:H ten years. There wa s a second reas on why 1.1,'1.R. O. decided to cerumen e the rel:f2llion in spite of the odds against success. I.l'1.R.O. leaders be Lieved that a revolt supported by the over-whe.Lmrna majority of the Christian inhabitants of Hacedonia would open the eyes of Europe to the injustices of the Ottoman Empire and would arouse the Great Powers to act on behalf of the ~lact:ldi 11 1 Cause. As the pamphlet, JViacedonia's Rise For Freedom, put it, ...• European diplomacy would, wldoubtedly, undertake to do something effective for th allevia tion of condi tions in [\'lacedonia. For did not the Vurkhovist revolt bring about the village watchman re t'or-min [vlacedonia? It was believed that a much broader uprising might even bring autonomy.S Unfortunately, the leaders of I.M.R.O. were incorrect in their assumptions. The intervention of the Great Powers in support of the Macedonian Cause did not come. One of the purposo of this article is to explain why. Logically, it was absolutely essenti;-l that the rightooUShO' of the Naoedon Cause be established before one could expcc t intervention of the Great Powers. Indeed, the Internal M codonltL. Revolutionary Organization did everything it could in this regard with respect to Ilinden. For example, I.fVl.R.O.leader w·re afralel that the Vurkhovist raids of November 1902 would mislead many into believing that the Ilinden Uprising was merely another inv' eion

h s to satisfy Bulgaria's expansionist desires" from Bulgaria (per.a~ Macedonian revolt against oppression and rather than ~ genul~ne reason why the Congress of Smilevo decided tyranny. 'I'h ~a~l' on in the Vilayet of l'lonastir. This Vilayet Is t? stage t0e.ret~e ~ul arian frontier and therefore it would dld not ad~oln to the ~orld that Bulgaria had no connection whatbecome ObV10US. OJ soever with the hostilitles of August 19 . I.M.R.O. also attempted to illustrate the rig~teousness of the Ilinden uprisin~ in.a mor-e concrete ma.m:;er - Wl th "'::1 , tten documents, documents WhlCh showed the wOrktOlthedhum~ne l~~a~s of the insurrection. One of these docume~ s rna e c ear a Ilinden was not a race war be tween .l3ulgarlans, and Tu~kS, :r:c_:t ~_ religious war between Christians an .. Mohamrne:.ans,. but il. n acesscry 1 war between the forces of good and ev i L. To quote i.n i s docwnent, We are taking up arlJ1S against tyranny and barbarism; \tIe are acting in the name of liberty and humanity; our work is above all prejudices of nationality or race. We ought therefore to treat as brothers all who suffer in the sombre Empire of the Sultan. Today all the;Christian populations are wretched, nor must we except even the Turki sh peasen ts . \tJe regard the 'I'ur-k i sh government as our sole enemy, and all who declare themselves against us whether as open foes or as spies, and all too who attack old men, women and defenceless children instead of attacking us. It is against them that we direct our blows and from them we shall exact vengeance.6 I.M.R.O. 's desire to obtain favourable world opinion about Ilinden was further illustrated when its representatives abroad felt compelled to deny slanQers of the Turkish government about alleged a troci ties comrm tted by the rebels. The insurgents, in their desire to obtain foreign intervention, could not afford any bad publicity. Thus, once again, the nobility and righteousness of the Macedonian Cause was explained to foreign ears; Immediately after the outbreak of the uprising the Turkish goverrunent began to spread abroad false reports about atrocities, committed by the rebels in the Vilayet of Bitolya against the peaceful IVloslem population in that region. Obviously, this was done with the intention to juS~ify as if provoked those outrages of the bashibazouks, which the world will witness after the pacification of the rebellious ' Slaves., For this reason, the delegates of the Revolutlonary Organization considered it nccessary to inform the misled public opinion th~t the General Congress of the organization, WhlCh took,place on January 5th this year near Salonlca ... adopted resolutions in

- )9• '"!Dl'd 11" W) L11 wh Lch th proclamation !.lll' llpt'l f"l1r;, addr- s s (1 1..0 the a Lr-cady


CigJltilW popu lu t t n of' IVJa.codonla. and i\dlian ip Lo :.w.y!;: • . •• "Our caUGO st.and s abov~ .11 n ti n I nd tllbal diffor~nceo. IPol' i L,.r s n , we cull our brothers all tJ who uffer in 1..he darl Kingdom of the ::luI tan. Lik0 uo, th Bulgarians, suffor also tho Wallachiffil Lho Gr ~ks , iven the Turki sn s, pcasan t.sand if today Lh Or-coks and the Turk 8.1" not fighting in our ranks, we assian this Lo thoir ignorance only and we call n-ithl.!r treat Lhem nor conSider Lhem our on'mius. o~r numy is only the Turkish gov rnm en t .... Note the roas n gi von for tho false reports of the 'l'ur'kd sh authoriti s and also no1..ei.N.R.O. 's feelings towards the Greek and Turkish p ia san ts of lVlacedonia. Clearly, the above passage was designed to show, tho righteousness of the insurgents and th devilishness of the 'furkish government. I.lVI.R.O.did not merely attempt to show the righteousness of the Ilinden Uprising in spoken and wri tten words; it also did so in its actions. Thus, the insurgents made it a point to display civilized and humane behaviour throughout the ins surrection. This behaviour was confirmed by the Austro-Hungarian consul in Bitolya - a neutral and objectiv~ observer of the rebellion: Many false rumours arc spr ading allover the world about the uprising in the Vilayet of Bitolya. My love of truth and not my partiality towards the Christians or towards any other nationality (I have often proved my particular syrnpathies for the nos Lcms ) compel me to state, contrary to the view which the press maintains with such obvious signs of satisfaction - that the behaviour of the rebels was human and loyal, while the behaviour of the Turks was barbarian, cruel and Asiatic. That the rebels did not use gloves in their doalings with their enemies - that is quite natural for every revolution. The same refers to the destroying of communication s, railways, and telegraph in order to or-even t the enemy to concentrate many troops and the system of communications to function normally. To weaken the enemy materially, the rebels burnt farm houses, th so called "bulwarks", of the Turkish oppressors. That is, they nevor did harm to the Turks indiscriminately nor to villages and houses of tho innocent

-lj·onor to such who did not take part in actions against them. The Turks, on the contrary, are very weak and unab Le to fight with the rebels in the mo~mtains, but they are sometimes quite fierce because of their failures. Then they rush into the villages and after plundering the houses, they kill most of the population, rape women and girls and burn down their houses.~ .Another foreign observer made a s.imilar observation when he stated that "On the whole it is remarkable that so little barbarity was practised on the Christian side".9 Thus in thought, word and deed, the insurgents did everything possible to convince hhe world that they were the I good guys I. How successful were the insurgents in this respect? . It seems that I.M.R.O. was successful in obtaining the sympathy of world opinion during the Ilinden Uprising. Public. meetings were held throughout Britain and the United ~tates where strong protests were maae against the misrule of the SulUm, Moreover, newspapers and magazines in Europe and America publishe' many articles defending the Cause of the rebellious Bulgarians of Macedonia. In'order to clearly grasp the extent of sympathy for the rebels, consider the kinds of things that were going on in the United States. In September 1903, a double comrm leading of American citizens from Philadelphia and New York issued the following appeal on behalf of the l'jacedonianCause: What Paul saw in the spirit, the vision of the man of ~1acedonia, who called to him for help for his country, we have before us in the flesh. The suffering and destitution, resulting from insurrection in r·lacedonia, are extreme. Forty thousand Macedonians have managed to cross the border into Bulgaria. Several tirlles that. number remain in Macedonia, homeless, thelr herds and crops destroyed, perishing of cold and starvation. Everyone is familiar to sQne extent with the conditions which have prevailed in that wihappy coun~ry •.•• , the active agitation of the rvIacedonlan revolutionists, the rising in rebellion of a portion of the Macedonian people, the attempt of the Turkish authorities to suppress the revolution with the utmost severity by overwhelming force .... He cannot help being concerned with the relief of fellow human beings and fellow Christians,


chil r on , -ho pcr~LhJn~ by the hunrr~~G ~na ' ill norl~ f)y ~h(~,thoufJun(r:, (,Iof, cruelly, unlGur; C:H'~:JtHI.n:uro 0 and (j' 'ictiaa i.dIt.:cic4 como to th~ rcccuo.10
of ~l1l1?c(mt

"10m on D.I

c::1n'/hilw, in, Octobo~ 190). the '!:';;l1.-i.atcrico,l CO:nfIJI'Once of ,-,iahopr; hcl".IU1 o.ChlhCt:>.l 'lith (]clrJ._utc8 f':COl1 thr:: Uniter ~tn.tez, c~"ada , :":'L1(1. the or.t; I'1chou J,')a';lJ<:Jr) tlv_ f'o Ll,o {in' r'e co Lu t i.on ::.;ho'lin it:; concer-n for the sad pli( ht of ace dczn an S;u'i'.tio.:16: that this ?ouncil der>it'urJ to put an G;tt>l'OSIJ10ll of i tr::J hor:cor. D.fvl inc~.iL·1D.tion at tho :1110103'-110 atroci tico tha t h ...vo be en and ~ro, 8till : bo i.n-; :;?cr-_pctuated upon our £0110':1 Chr~ rt i an a in the Province of .ace don i a , " (: ofior them our profound uYi.lpathy in tho fiory trialG throw-h -vh i ch they arc paGoin~;. and "W nray Cod i' :£il; mercy to 8011(. thClf1 dc.La vcr-ance , 'c vrou.l d further e~rprcuo the hope th",.t the moral i:lflu'Jtlcc of the r .over.uncnt of this O'3at rr).ru~Jli c .Ilny Dr.] thro·.n into the aoa.Le in f'avou of uuch reform'] aG may rive to the accdoru an ncop l,e the pr'o tiec t.i on of la'1 \J.:',aiflzt inju(Jtlce and o"pT(:r:c: 0 1 •.. ,11


One CC:b1C i t o hu.idr-c ds of cLnilar resolutions adopter' by thG .• 0crlcan ,ublie. L180, ~uny petitions ~cro s~nt to the fodcr.1 . ovornmcnt I'ur" a:' it ,to UBC . to . 00(1. office to put a stop to
CClW:_ frat,) ,Jj.' noel IJ./

unboar-ab.Le 'co;';- 'j. tio.1~J

;.. Ii


the otD.t') of Co ncc t l cut; il '[i'ojJruar,j1' 1904. It '/:l:-J thr: I,10:.It 1) ~0T.1L1C.t1t c i t.Lz onc of thr; :;t~tc, L1cluclii1:,": {,ovcrnor, ~'.'-'lc1 P/a8 addr'c aae d to tho V. J. (':OIi;'J"CG6. It read





+no ce Dati tions


Je. the undcrEi~ncd
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have been c t i.L], are bel 11. po rp stua torl our fel10'" Chri otinnG in . .acc Iorri.a , 'by tb ~ :forcor; of D, 1)'OVC1~i)/,lent "i th \/hi ch 01..1 country ho Ldrs (ti,.) t i c ~olo.tio a, FInd' auld, fl-lrthc£1Ilorc, ,IO:.,t r-orrp oc t f'u.l Ly urv o UpOi1 ~ho C;0i1.,...~Of,:": of. tl c,;') Uni teo ...ita.tcr;. throuGh ~too' 1 . of cxocut i vo , th:J.t it uno ito ,',oorl o f' o , i" co-op·...!x·atio ,,' tl1 the otlor r;hrirJtill.,' J l:".tionr.; ,:, i: Lanrl , c"l nrico ,, to' nr(l the '-'l,)OCI'.r :ru r: Inc.' of' tho 'l' :'c:[(t{' o~' f)0 Li n , 1 '37,;.' h: ch L!~IL':J.J1 t",co to ho cc Cl 1'1 r;tJ.c.:1:... h1.1.I.d C ~ 10 :).J c) n '0 Dct'OJ. f OJl1 la"lc:::;"'ncl~c ~. d 'r0.()'tioLlal outr-a ,8 ;,12



t110 611oc]1:1n(; atrocities

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t~12 o o t it i on s to the .~,.<~i.~ic[1 . ove rn.oon t 2. lltulJ.::r of ~)rolain~~lt ::..tutc B -:;~'f 1) iz~d i tl1 thl.; Irisur cn t s , ':'r3sident i:leOCtOro ~oo;:;' and h Ls ::>ccro-Cc.17 of JtatG:, .John r:a:,' er-e ~re2. tly in s:r.,l~)athy ith the a c e do n i ari Li.cer-a t i on ;:,tru_: ..Lc , Gnd accoz-ui n. to . o,n D.3SurSJ1C2 that -el1o Uni tec~ States .... V2::Ci1.711ei1t h .cl informed O ~! ttia t she could co urrt 0:1 .11112rica' s noral suppor-t in any C.tt8..Jpt on the par t of l r c a t 3ri t i i n fOT bl~i,l-.:inc acou t th~ fulfilliJ2nt of ."rticl 23 0: t:le ~eTlii1 'L'reat~r . 'hich :_··u2.r&nteed to .ac edon.i r 2. 10c2.1 au tonoriy ,1.)


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.. 1:,0 ~::)i1;;icl0r 'th e ca so r: of flustri8.-Hun~~a.ry arid ililperia.l ~,!ssiQ. ._ltI10u:;h both ':lere inteI'cstecJ. in e1~t(m(1_L,o: th-;il soh cr-c., of L1fluGl1cC into the? .uG.ll;:rU18,Dei thor -,)o";or ':ul-c,::;,__1_-i:;o t;10 och cr' Llcreasc ;J~,::; in Lnf'Lucnco amon.: th2,:;o.l~mi1 ,1:::tti(u~11i ti':)8. '0l1fortunatcly, an increase in influence for one of tho )0- ':::1'8''1ould mean D, loss of influence for the other. It::::-,,_:; for this j_~22_80n that in 1 ']97 <.1..1 :-I.ustro-~iusGian aLrco~!l~mt , 2.8 r onch cd . tier o both po-ver-s a:;l~oecl to raa i.n ta.i n the status quo i:_1 the _:;:.:..L~'-'n::.,. Iil other '!Oro_G, 02,cl1 pov.e r n:::,reed not to ta!'Jper 5.:,1_G~,-lt8.l1 ::'cff8.i:c~: "here the '1_'ur:d811 ~l71~l)ire','18.8concerned. Thi s c.-~r2;)!;1el1t ,'::':S still L1 effect dur i.n , the Ll i ndcn Uprisil1".::. 'l'11e1'8:el~e other r8a:-,0118 0.:3 11811 that cxnl al.ncd 'the inertia of nutria- '-(1.L1C;2.ry ~'j1c1;;wJsia. ;\ustrin-rlunc;ary, ,au pre-occupied a t tllis:~,:_:JG by an interi1al cr-i s i s - pan-Slav :JropaE;2i1dc, that :_::;2rJ8C1_ to i:i1'Jtill a r-eoc.H i ou s attitude ":ithin her SOLlSlav sub ] ect:-:_;.' aanwhi.Lo , .-:I,ll _jsia '"as bu sy "stru,::';;,;linC to avoid r-cvoLut i on" 20 '-i thin >_;l~ 0\:~1 ',;orc103rs. '.2h:_;_)11it3(~-_;'co,te:3 of _,_,'lcricCl '-a;:; no bo t t er- than ,::::11;31ano_, =.'j~r'.!1ce,:;1.:88in, Oi" _,u8t:cin-nun.:_:ctry ','ith rCFT,)Gct to J:linden • .'he Un it c d ,, '.-:::-~s cvo r ::tfro.itj_ 'co .::;ivc i-i:;s moral n cuppo r t :Lor j1.1:;,t C:::'U,C:08 (taL;: is chean) , but ',-118n -i:;he needGC support Lrvo Lvor: 2. .norc concrete cornmi. 'tmervt , the ),mc:;_~ica~1 ~Ci)ubj_ic a L: T_ys reti'c;cl:i:;(~cl. _L'hemai n r-ea sori fOl~ -Chis sca te of- af'f'a.i r s .u_; the fact -i:;h8:C the Urrit od ,'-;tate!:: -it!.S utilI ba s i ca.l.Ly .LsoLa t.i oni;o;t - t112.t 1;:" sh e did not raa.l.Ly wan t to ,;et involved in tllC 0,ff[.\il~'J of ~uj_~o-:)e. III fact, t;1e raa i.n fouuClc:i:;ioi1 of !:"i,1el~ico,'s forei':;11 )olic::/ =--a8 st i L'l thG :,Oi1rOe Do ctr-Lne - 2. do ctr-Lne -ch2.t o:"col1'i:;io.lly sa i d that thc Uni ted ::;;ta-i:;cs cou Ld not tolerate any .c::urO~)2Cj_1 Lnvo Lvemerrt in the ~\lilCric8.8 r.•1c1 in turn th8.t the lini-cJd ')-i:;o:i:;o,=> "'ould no t concer-n itself in ma tter e r-e.Lat o d only to '::;uropo. ~hcr~ is still one major pODGr to be discussed - Xniser --ilh2Ll'.s Germai1Y. Germany had i_10desire 'ihatsoever to v-ealcen the r'appo r t it ha d est8.o1if3hed 1,'!ith the O't toman ~'!lPire. And the r-eason for this d i spo sd t i.on r-e s t od in the dt'enl'J of e x't end i ng L-:-OTTil0l1 Lnf'Lucnc s fron ":;;uropean Turkey to the Orient. AGain to r)lwte f:COiil'.l'hc.LYa,c;ic ~el1insula. :;::;er1i11 and Conrrtan t.Inoo.Le v: r-e in a.LLi ance to cornbat all efforts -c:1irected to':mrcl the 3trai ts and th~ Dar-dancL'Le s Oil the part of l{u['sic:.. Ger:-,l8.ny;.>r tended to be much o.frr'.j_cl -chat l\l~o3ia vou.l d domi nat.e the :Jal1;:an re~;iOi1S arid 1)erh2::)8 sci z e Con s tarrt i.noo Le , 'I'h i o , of COUi~8C, -',oule ')ut em end to c. cheri sh ort p l an of GCD,lcU1Y 2. :co.i Leo a d from ~ei~li;, to _":8., :dad 2l1( the -':'ersian Gulf.. '-'hich ",:onlc' corrcz-o I ::.1 VQS-Cti~ade '-,:i th t;10 Ori snt , , eruany had 2.1r'eac1y ~rrill1C-C(1_,0];' J:'8.thel' ob d , ~. concouai on from Tud;:e~r fOl~ tho

-4·6. " ~., J. .t .,.c' , .' ,,; '''11 .'~ .s. • --1 0 f tl1l S ro 8.Q c ..Del Q...... con"t.l.UCt-lO.., r.) l)I~ l~e Y .rhcn tho ~.or'Ld ar ,.. J_ • 0.·'. u~1cl,,,l. a rlha fOrCl[ . _ .iJOI' yo'''' .l.~. ,.····'."...'..,'l'r v , .'J.l lC' ~_'_ .. all L J. • .: ~"=" l·' ,~,,_.••••ulo.rl,r i 'Ghe l..Jol1;·,re,:..sO.L ~ ",-.1 "\I1C~r~"'c':~"lrl'7~CI b "an "., "'-'~"'''1''' .LJ.. '''',nl·onctsh Lo - 'ClS C1 c ....... -- ",,,-. c.Cvl.C!: .... v1 \,::> 1~ v ~ ,..~:'-h rr~rl~8Y, '.L'he 'J:urco)?hiliSi.,l of CGr!l1Q.i1:'i
i ~-~ ( • .~'~ 'r. i<,w.
I -""\ ( ..... C:1 I {-':I. ....
s nce r a n ,

~~;~poi' 'J_'urlwy to

.,.. .... '-' e'''''''' r.l2:J.llIes·vec l' oy 1;11, .L<.c c"-v ·tIl'" ,-,L "?l'" ',·.-,e tho on l.v .:uro~)eo,n Po. 'OJ:' that flatl~r v " S 1 \.,; refu"oc1 to tal\:o l)art r n any or -che ...ur op oan ~/ .. ".~~.r,a:tiOilf': .. .ho 80 dole pur'po 80 i t ':.'2.8 to

1v S





., tlons cO;'1c12
• -'• '::1(" .. L.::>

alleviate the ~Jiscrablc o rn, ne r Cl1r~1'-"'Gl'r-', ""u'oJ'"c"-- ?1 ,J cU.t ,_J. c.. V:-,j.-

e!..}':-~"'l'l·:-l· for Gerraany, to ma.i.n ta.i n tho excellent ' ~ .... a1 r"'lo.tiol1S it ellj oy o d · ,i t11 1~l.lrl\:8y in order ... to fulfill the dosire f~:r D. Jerli:1 to D2.crl.acL railroad.':;vcm verbalized sympathy for the aub j e c t s of the ',2ur1i:i 511 .\~YJlpire ni.:;ht pr-omp t the 3ul tal to c;:;ncol its conce s s i on for the construction of such a r-ai.Lr'o acl , 'lherefore, c., vi tal interest of (~ermn.:.1Y vrouI d be tl11~ea -taJ.1C d ,

Of COlE.'f'J8, be caune the Great 'Po'.Jcn:: rierrt i one d above did ~ot intervenc in the Ilinden ~trugcle. the Ottoman authoritisG 3ucc23sfully su:9~)l.~2830(::.the insuri"'ectiol1. Du~cinc' 'thi s 8u~'JpreGsiol1, 2ur:.:i 311 vGl1._:;e2:J.1CG '·.'ipecl. out 200 .;3ul':':_;2.rian villa:~c c_" bur'ne d 12,000, r2jJec;. 3000 '.jODen, Idlleu L!., 700 Lnhc.b i t s and li"!ac.1c '71.000 ~)eo..3llilt;::; 110::.101e38. 3ut rao r e than i'url;:ish vcn-ccnce botl112r80, -GllC ,:laJ.. ", n 1" . '1 . 00 01"1... o x 81 . " I.>y 1rlS-G1an Cl).')Je ccs , ~,u an ',~1,~_' 1 shman '.'110 hac: come to help t~le devastated p80~)10 of : .ace do n.i a 0 ouer-ved, "-lle c"",r'--""(1~"-l'O'''\ i, <.<.1', !'1'1C' t'" """"e rln.:::;, . I.> '..... '--:,.1. c-' .C-'. v_ 111;:. ;::>"lll tl18 s i clmo as , and the fear of fa!:line. 'th er c '.ici:.,;h2cl upon this defeated people the Gcnse that 2.11 i tf:i sacrifice had been in vain. ;_;:~lC .~''-1l~1~;:> ad h t:L'iU[1TJ:10d; :'.i:u1"ope '.'8.:3 still he8(~1,');-:>s 8.:.1d 1..l11Co:i.1C2n.lod::8.cC:(~O:;_1.iCl . "JaS still Ci1818.vecl.i and +c , '.'ho '.'.rero c101i:i1(~ out b1 ~Y1'-e t s !'1'1 C' o·v.r 1. f'Louz: c. 0-:1'10-1'" +'le--1 ··'ert:> C .. 1 <:» vI only 1;:ee-;;>i:i1,3 th2l11 alive to endur-e fresh oppr-o aai onc and further ,3118.1'-18.22
• • ••

r'''11'C~ .L.Ll '.











-L/·7ii'ootnotcs "ctocl1c'_tvo" a 8\.l1.:_,arian 'l~;'.'Gpaper pub.Li ahe d in Sa.Lon l ca , July L', 1909~ Cited in '.0 Voynov and L. Ponayotov, eds s , Docu:,-,lCl'ltsnnd _~8.t8ri::lls Oil 'rho History of The Dul{:,arian ~e$pie 1Sofia: uulc;ariai.1 Acaclemy of ,3ciences, 1969), p. 376. "Gtecl1estvo" ':as the o r gan of the union of The 13ui::;arian ~o;l::.;ti 'tut i onu.l Clubs in TurlC8~r

2~ II. il , :,3ro.ilsford, (London: - .e thucn

i..,aced011ici~ Its Races And ?l1eii:' Future [mel Co. I 1'906) I p . 113.

5 •.

1 • i •, .-, .,., 1 -1 rvan ..-. 1 . 1 .118.)_ 0.1.1, _,ac, x i. se .i.'or l~ree(Ol.1, 190.... (I no' i ~ 01.i ~ ) •. ,.·".a~) v,• CSl1tr2c1 Co-.~, ttee of 'th o .~,2.CGllOnian~")atriotic Or.:;ani::",o.tiOl1, 1953). » , 27.
J:O ~ •

7 ..

pub l i shed D.

21..1l18ti11 of th-J novspaper-, "Aut0110r.1Y", an orc;a.'1 of l.~:.~-;',O. abroad, .3ofio., Jul~r 29. 190.3. C~ ted ill DOcu;-,10nts and -o.terials On 'i'lle Hi story of the Dulr;crian Peo-oIe I P' .310~ ~oe:;rafsl~y, Enf'o rraa't i.on of the Austrian RG rosentntivGs in ,..2..c::;doni8., 1903-0J+, ,3copyEJ, 1955, paces J -09. Ci cd :;)ocu;ne:ltu _0Q_~~erials Gil '1h8 History of th8 Bule;arian Peonlo, p. 31\.),


9. 10.









Arid Their Future,

Christ .ma.s tu so f f', j\:.ll1ericc:n JeactiOil", 1960, p , 19- 20 ,
J:.!21.Q ;. , p,
._, • :"1

11inc1on Iricur-r-ec t.i on (lad Corrt empor-ar'y i;allmnia ::U,r;azL18, Vol. ~, j·'o. 4, Oct.



12. 13.

Ibic~.., l') •



. 20',

PGtcrsbur(_~, ;:iopt. 16, ]he lfif3tor;L of the Louis: 51aclt:rlell

,:C','SO)c:oor "Pr av.i t c.Lstven i i ~Te:_,ti1il;:", ,it, 1903-~ -Citoc~ Ln Do'Cu::nents O,nd ~!aterio.lrJ Jul.::::;<xcilli1 People. p , 320.


16 "

Cill.~~st :ma8tnspff, r..r-he 'i'l.~,-,:ic Po:ilL1syla ;.lielo.nc1y c»., 1933), J? 116-17. I b i (1.., 1)


10 7 •



.Ji p Lorant i, C Cor-r-ospondarico , l{c:forrniJ 1:;.1~.~c::.cedol1ia!1902-0J .:Jt. ~otcrs1)uri._;~ 1906, n- 66-67. Cited. in DocUDent3 8.11e1' ,.o.:terialG On 'J.'hc History of tho :Cul-·;arian People, p. 302. '"o::;i~2.fsl~y, Information of -~l}_~_ ~\ustl:i8.!1 l1epr83enta ti Yes in .accdon ia , 1903-oLJ., 3coPYG, 1955, p . C6-39. Cited in l)ocu_;18nts o..nd ":~'.tel.'ials On 'I'h2 Histor;r__gf the .3ulr;arian PeonLo , o . 315.


20 •

Christ Annstasoff,
}~..:. 21'~:i18forc!, .. p . 332.

The ~r8gic Peninsula,
= .acedoru

p. 90.

a . Its


and Their


II. ?

:Jro.ilsford, r.ace dond a , its 165.

Rc.ce o and 'I'heir Futuro.



On ugust 2, ]903, our ancestors in the Balkans took up arms for the freed m and independence of Macedonia. Their fight was directed against the Turkish tyrants of the Ottoman Empire wh for five centuries occupied our homeland and oppressed our pe pIe. The insurrection was initiated by the Central Committee of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (I.M.R.O.) which five days before the uprising, on July 28, J903, issued a circular letter announcing the day on wh i cn the people must rise. The following extract from that letter clearly illustrates the heroic and sacred objective of the great insurrection: Brothers! Finally, the much ex~cted day for the altercation with our agelong enemy has arrived. The blood of our innocently perished brothers fromfue Turkish tyranny cries for retribution. The honour of our mothers and sisters demands rehabilitation. Enough of so much torments, enough of so much ignominy. A thousands times, death is prefe~le to a shameful and beastly life. The specified day, in which the people throughout Macedonia and the Adrianople Province must rise, openly with arms in their hands against the enemy is nugust 2, ]903. Brothers, follow your chiefs on that day and rally around the banner of liberty and be obstinate in the struggle. Only in a stubborn lengthy struggle lies our salvation. Let God our just cause and the day of the uprising. Down with Turkey! Down with tyranny! Death to the enemy! Long livelthe people! Long live liberty! Hurrah! August 2 was the festival day of the Proph t Elijah., hence the name of the uprising: Ilindensko Vostanie (The Ilinden Insurrection). ThG struggle lasted for four long months and since 1903 our people have reg rded Ilind n as the symbol of our determination to liberate the inhabitants of M cedoni. And rightly so! As Christ Anastasoff, the gre t scholar)and ~pert on Macedonian affairs, has r cently writt n, "Although the odds w re against the insurg nts, the Ilinden epic struggl~ was cr~dited with a number of ephem ral victories. Th Turkish authorities and even the Europe~n r presentatives

-50in Macedonia W0ro t~kon by surpr~sG. No on~ believed that tho Mac~don1an ~asants crushed and bruta11zcd, were pC;!' " really capable of a ser1ous,ml l'1t ary demonstration on a scale wh1ch would entitle it t';2 the name of n "Grci1t Revolt of Freedom". Sevoral important questions a ri se however. l-vhy did II'nden fail? Why did the efforts of 27,000 active participants in1the cause of freeoom and independence cno in ~ return tofue -a t s quo antebellum? How did the force of tyranny :nanage to s t... u " f defeat the force of freedom? Wh~ dur1ng the suppreSS1?n 0, th e insurrection did Turkish vengeance destroy 300 Mace~on1an v1llages, Durn 1,200 Macedonian houses, outrage 5;000 Hacedon1an worne~, kill 4,700 Macedgnian inhabitants, and leave 71,000 Macedon1an people homeless? There are several answers to the above questions-answers that must be brought to light, answers that are often ignored or at least unconsciously by-passed in the speeches we hear annually at our Ilinden picnics. One of the reasons for the defeat of the Macedonia!! insurgents in the Ilinden uprising was the notable absence of sufficient arms. As Ivan Ivlihailoffnentioned in the pamphlet, Macedonia's Rise for Freedom 1903--The Groat Insurrection, "even some of the districts con~idered best-armed did not possess the needed number of rifles". 'I'h i.s situation occurred in spite of the fact that I.M.R.O. had done a great deal of work in the procurement of arms prior to the uprising. J\ further weakness that made victory highly improbably for the Macedonifln insurgents was the lack of military and technical training in the art of warfare. The great bulk of Macedonian combattants were not professional soldiers but peasants trained only in the art of raising sheep or the growing of fruits and vegetables. A third factor that hindered the success of the Ilinden rebelli?n was the military superiority of the Turks. The number ,? soldiers was by far greater than the number of Hacedonian 1nsurgents. In fact, the total number of Macedonian combattants was about 27,00? against a Turkish army of over 250,000. The aver~ge proportl.on between thE insurgents and Turkish troops was one 1nsurgent to fifteen Turks, or taken by districts the ratios were as follows~ In In In In In the the the the the district of Kitchevo district of Ochrida district of Monastir' .. "'0 •••••• district of Lerin district of Kostour .............
••• oO· ••••• 0<)0.60." ....












1:25 1:22 1:15.6 1~13.8

To a certain d~gree th ' troops on 1-iacedonian ,"', ' E presence of so many the result of the V ~01~ l.n the late summer and fall of 1903 was ur OVl.sts or revolutionaries whose 'Pal was the

-51union of M~cedonia with Bulgaria who desired to liberate Macedonia from the yoke of Turkish tyranny. In the fall of 1902, the vurhovists promoted a number of limited revolts in the eastern districts of Macedonia (th Gorna-Djumaya and Razlog districts) • These revolts ended in failure but they had one very serious consequence. They prompted the Turkish authorities to send more troops to the .;;:astern parts of Macedonia to quell the revolts and prepare for the possibility of new outbreaks. This consequence hindered the success of the Ilinden uprising which centred in the Monastir district; by their actions, the Vurhovists unconsciously made the Turks aware of possible further revolutionary action. As Ivan Mihailoff has written, By these actions the attention of the Turkish authority had been drawn and the necessary counter-measures taken. Instead of q~ietly working in the arming of the population, the above incidents had provoked the disarmament of the villages with an accelerated terror. The military authorities had been alerted in the expectation of new outbreaks. Besides this, the Virhovist action had, somewhat, pulled apart the forces of I.M.R.O. itself. If the Gorna Djumaya district had revolted simultaneously with the Monastir Vilayet, there would have been 15,000 less Turkish troops against the Ilinden insurgents and 2,580 more of the latter against the SUltan's forces. It would have been possible for the I.M.R.O. to broaden its diversionary actions in the mountainous districts of eastern Macedonia. Another military advantage for the Turks was the very capable leadership of Nasir Pasha, commandant of the Turkish troo~s in Mac~donia during the latter days of the Ilinden'insurrect10n. As 1S clearly noted in The Tragic Peninsula, In the early part of the Insurrection, that is; until the latter part of August, the Turkish forces were under the command of the weak Omar Buchdi Pasha. About August 25, the latter was replaced by the more resolute and merciless Hasir Pasha. The latter took command and began to apply a systematic campaign, by burning the villages of the revolting Bulgari~ns, so that he might drive the insurgents into corners. He certainly assembled enough men to enable him to carry out his scheme .~. From August 25 onward, the revolutionists were acting purely on the defensive. They maintained their

well until the mid 1 groun fairly usually ev ding th Turks of S pterober• ~... r occasionally forced with succ &5, bu~ we t After r 1 engagemen. r into a gene 'hting s very de.,ul ry, t September the flg d the Insurrection was and on November se~ n, nd officially decl reO at an . ) ~ m- I have limited the possibility A fourth factor tlla\... the fact that the only active .G.] , gents W;'S of success for the lns~r ,'ing were the Bulgarians of partici~ants_ in the Illnd;n ~~~~Sn~tionalitY in Macedonia was Macedonla. l\lthough thel~at~:J exist~d including Turks, Greeks, Bulgarian, other nationa 1h a cs Gypsles, Alb"'nl' ,co ans Jews and VI c.. Gercomans, Serbomans r ac i s . .be-r of these other nationalities 't others. It 15 r ue +-h-t 2 num the Ilinden uprising r but a '-a ~ d assisted or at least tOlefat~ osed it and fought for the
C ~oj f '

~~i~!~:ca~i ~~~~t~~~~~\j~ou~~ that helI?ed,the sultan~ the Turks, , k;,' Gercomans or Greclanlzed Bulgarlans were Albanlans, G~ee 8' ~nahaps "f ail the nationalities of Hacedonia the most . er ~ ld 1 b had fought with the insurgents r victory wou u lav~ een more ib L -t 1 aa st, the uprising \vould have lastea a few months POSSl e. E\ ... longer.
.l. ~

Finally, the most important and yet most,tragic cause for the defeat of the insurgents was the over-confldence they had in the power of Europe's public opin~or:' In a ~ense; the leaders of the Ilinden insurrection we re po l i,t.Lca reaL'i I st.s they knew : that the Bulgarians of Hacedonia could not defeat the Ottoman Empire alone. However i they we nt; ahead w i.t.h the Hacedonian insurrection because they firmly believed that Europe's public opinion would provoke the governments of t~e Great Powers to Lrrt.e rverie ": on behalf of the Macedonian cause. After all, the great European powers had interfered in the internal affairs of the Ottoman Empire before. After the limited Vurhovist revolt of 1902, they intervened and forced the Sultan to appoint Christians as village watchmen. Until then, only Hohammedans were appointed, even in Christian villages. If the great powers could intervene on behalf of the Christian subjects for such a relatively minor, localized revolt, surely a much broader uprising might convince them of the necessity for Macedonian autonomy. Of course, the leaders of the Ilinden insurrection misjudged the great powers of Europe. The great powers pref rred,to stay on the side-lines and watch. the Amer~can Journal, Harper's Weekly, put it in its issue of October 3, 1903:



It does not follow that the Christian Powers of Europe ought to remain impassive ~pectators of the conversion of Macedonia ~nto shambles at the hands of the revenqeful Turk. ~~tever other motive may have prompted ~~e up:~s~ng of the Bulgarians in Macedonia, ere ~s no doubt that one ground for it was avowable , adequ a te, an d' rlghteous. We refer

-53to the failure 0:( sultan Mdul-Hamid to Ln t roducc the ::-efo::-ns wh i ch he to pledged himself ~y thR Treaty of Berlin a quar+er of a ccrt.ury age. Wh:Jse fault is it that n~t even J pretence of fulfilliJ"_g the prorni ses nas been made? It is the fault or the ~am2 Christian powers, cosianators of tt2 Berlin T=aaty, which r8fr~ined rrorn eXSicti:_J "t;~e ru::":::iil::;"ent in the cz.s 0:: 'I'u::-k::_sh e 7\rJTleJ"_:1_3.; and which when ArT!'Ienian CLristi2::1s~-,:;ruck b l.ow on their a own behalf r look on unmo ve d while tht:: insurrection was put down by appalling massacres. Doe::> anybcuy doubt that if f>1r. G~_adstcne h ad been Pri~l1e ~1inister of Great B~ita~n Englan~'s duty, as one of the guarantors O~ ~~2 Berlin Treaty~ would have been perfcr~ed? D02~ anyvne doubt thatre would have fcrced Ule SUltan t~okeep his word both in Arrr.eniE.. ~Yj_aced()nia? arid The leaders of the Macedonia~ insurrection even misjudged the actions of their natuT~l al:y, the state of Bulgaria. It was hoped and eve!1 ex:pecte.jth,,,:t: least Bulgaria souLd interat vene on behalf of the 3~~lgSi=ianLr.hab i s or Macedonia. t After all, had not the free People or B'llg;::.ri& t rad.i i.ona t LLy sympathized with and stood on the side cr their sl_;--jeg",--:'ed brethren? Had not a number of officials Lr, Bulg::L.:-i.a ur-o f i c i aL promises to in:-:'.i'O.Qe f surgent leaders that Bu2.gari:!WOC1::'C_ declare war on Turkey? The answer for both questions i~ yes. Th~nf vhy did Bulgaria remain passive during the great in:-3t:.:!.-rect.ion?an swe r is obvious: The Bulgaria hac not ~een ro Li, .a i.Ly prepared i tr and had not f~gureQ that the political situation was pr ope r t.o .irrvo Lva herself in war. Bulgaria coul~ net have forgotten Greece's expe r i ence in 1897 ,... hen she declared war in support of tne cretan uprising, but was defeated by the Turks and then abandoned by European diplomacy. As noted by contenporar:'es, the indifference of official Bulgaria has been much greater. She had nc,t even made an effort to protest, as it was usual against the Turkish horrors inflicted uponl ~'"!e struggling Bu Lqe.r i.ans of Macedonia.l. . Before concluding this pap~r, one extremely important po~nt must be stressed. The fact that the Ilinden insurrection failed must not undermine its ~acred goal. It is absolutely necessary that we continue to honour- and _1::'espect heroes and its martyrs. They fought and died for hunan freedom and liberty a dream ~at we must continue to holj to ~he grave. Maybe in today's worl~ th~s dream is too idealistic, LU~ ithout idealism man is noth~ng.

FOOTNOTES hri t nnastasoff, "Seventy Ye~rs,SiBnco1kMa~edonia's ReVOlt For Freedom ln a anla Magazine, vol no. 11, october, 1973, pages 4-5. .V



page 5-6. Macedonia's Rise Fnr Freedom - 1903, ~e G Insurrection (Indianapolis; Central Commi~ea~ of M. P.O., 1953), page 34. tee

Ivan Mihailoff,


Ibid., page 21 Chrl'st Anastasoff, Ivan Mihai1off, The Tragic Peninsula (St. Louis, Black wellJ Wielandy Co., 19"'8)i page 95. ~ Rise for Freedom, page page 23-24. 95-96. RevoLt.




Christ Anastasoff;

The Tragic


It should be noted that the Arumanians (Vlakhs) of Macedonia participated wholeheartedly in the Ilinden Ibid., page 90. Ivan Mihailoff; Macedonia's Rise for Freedom,


page 27. fn

"The True Inwardness of the Si tua tien Harper's Weekly, October 3, 1903. Ivan Mihailoff, Macedonia's Rise

in Macedonia"


for Freedom,

page 28. 1977 issue