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Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising

Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising

A map of the uprising in the regions of Macedonia and Thrace. Present-day borders are visible, together with Ottoman frontiers at the time.
Date 2 August 1903 - November 1903
Location Manastir (Bitola), Adrianople, Salonica, and Kosovo vilayets of the Ottoman Empire
Result Suppression of the uprising. 30,000 refugees flee to Bulgaria.[1]
IMARO Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
26,408 (IMARO figures)[1] 350,931 (IMARO figures)[1]
Casualties and losses
IMARO figures:[1]
  • 994 insurgents killed or wounded
  • 4,694 civilians killed
  • 3,122 girls and women raped
  • 176 girls and women kidnapped
  • 12,440 houses burned
  • 70,835 people left homeless
5328 wounded or killed (IMARO figures)[1]

The Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising or simply the Ilinden Uprising of August 1903 (

  • The English daily newspaper "Times", issues about the Ilinden uprising in August, 1903
  • Twenty-four letters from Macedonia - 1903, John MacDonald
  • Durham, Edith. (1905). The Burden of the Balkans
  • Brailsford, Henry Noel (1906) . London: Methuen & CoMacedonia: Its Races and Their Future (Brailsford's photographs)
  • Pozzi, Henry. (1935). Black hand over Europe. F. Mott and Co., London (for online version of relevant pages, click here)
  • Jelavich, Charles and Jelavich, Barbara (October 1977), The Establishment of the Balkan National States, 1804-1920, History of Central Europe, Seattle:  
  • MacDermott, Mercia. (1978). Freedom or Death — the life of Gotse Delchev. London: Journeyman Press
  • here) for online version of relevant pages, click ( 
  • Poulton, Hugh. (1995). Who are the Macedonians? C.Hurst & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., London
  • Prof. Dimitar Gotsev: Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising of 1903 - Ideals and Heroism Dedicated to the 105th anniversary from the events


  1. ^ a b c d e  
  2. ^ a b c d Perry, Duncan (1988). The Politics of Terror. The Macedonian Revolutionary Movements, 1893 - 1903. Durham and London: Duke University Press. p. 136.  
  3. ^ a b Adanir, Fikret (1979). Die Makedonische Frage. Ihre Entstehung und Entwicklung bis 1908 [The Macedonian Question. Its Genesis and Development Until 1908]. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag.  
  4. ^ The Establishment of the Balkan National States, 1804–1920, C. & B. Jelavich, 1977, pp 211-212
  5. ^ H. N. Brailsford (1906), Macedonia: Its Races and their future, London: New York, Arno Press, pp. 148 
  6. ^ For freedom and perfection. The Life of Yané Sandansky. Mercia MacDermott (Journeyman, London, 1988), p. 134.
  7. ^ Region, Regional Identity and Regionalism in Southeastern Europe, Klaus Roth, Ulf Brunnbauer, LIT Verlag Münster, 2009, ISBN 3825813878, p. 135.
    "...the revolution planned by the Macedonian committee, not only in Macedonia, but in the province of Adrianople. The insurgents were Macedonian Bulgarians,..."
  9. ^ The Sydney Morning Herald. page 9.
    ...refugees from Krushevo to sign a declaration to the effect that the outrages committed at Krushevo were the work of Macedonians, whereas the evidence showed that tho Turks plundered the houses of the richer Greeks, but spared the Bulgarian quarter, fearing that its houses were undermined, and because the valuable property they had contained..
  10. ^ Kostov, Chris (Historian research consultant for Canadian government). Contested Ethnic Identity: The Case of Macedonian Immigrants in Toronto. p.71
    "Russian, American and British consuls and ambassadors reported to their governments preparation and the crushing of Ilinden uprasing and described it as a Bulgarian conspiracy... Nikola Kirov-Mayski is very popular in the FYROM and it is one of the primary sources on the rebelion, even though, similar to the Greek accounts, Kirov-Mayski mentions Bulgarians, Vlachs and Greeks, but no ethnic Macedonians, who participated in the rebelion"
  11. ^ a b c d e Khadziev, Georgi (1992), Down with the Sultan, Long live the Balkan Federation!, retrieved 3 September 2007  An excerpt from the book "National Liberation and Libertarian Federalism" (Natsionalnoto osvobozhdeniye i bezvlastniyat federalizum), translated by Will Firth.
  12. ^ a b c Gewehr, W.M. (1967), The Rise of Nationalism in the Balkans, 1800-1930, Archon books,  , first published in 1931, by H. Holt & Co.
  13. ^ a b c Jelavich, B. (1983), History of the Balkans 2, Cambridge University Press,  
  14. ^ a b c Jelavich, C.; Jelavich, B. (1977), The Establishment of the Balkan National States, 1804-1920, University of Washington Press,   Volume 8 of the 11 volume series A History of East Central Europe.
  15. ^ The Macedoine: The National Question in Yugoslavia. Origins, History, Politics, by Ivo Banac, Cornell University Press, 1984, p. 314.
  16. ^ Schevill, F. (1971), The History of the Balkan Peninsula, Harcourt, Brace & Co,  , first printed in 1922.
  17. ^ a b c Crampton, R.J. (1997), A concise history of Bulgaria (2nd ed.), Cambridge University Press,  
  18. ^ Революционното братство е създадено в противовес на вътрешната организация от еволюционистите. Уставът му носи дата март 1897 г. и е подписан с псевдонимите на 12 членове — основатели. Братството създава свои организации на някои места в Македония и Одринско и влиза в остър конфликт с вътрешната организация, но през 1899–1900 г. се постига помирение и то се присъединява към нея - Христо Караманджуков, "Родопа през Илинденско-Преображенското въстание" (Изд. на Отечествения Фронт, София, 1986).
  19. ^ The Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising of 1903, Dedicated to the 105th. anniversary from the events, Professor Dimitar Gotsev - Macedonian Scientific Institute.
  20. ^ National military history museum of Bulgaria, fond 260
  21. ^ Who are the Macedonians by Hugh Poulton - p. 57. Retrieved 29 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "MIA". Retrieved 29 November 2014. 
  23. ^ Петко Т. Карапетков, Славейно. Пловдив, 1948 г., стр 216—219.
  24. ^ Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of History, Bulgarian Language Institute, "Macedonia. Documents and materials", Sofia, 1978, part III, No.92.
  25. ^ The Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising of 1903, Dedicated to the 105th. anniversary from the events, Professor Dimitar Gotsev — Macedonian Scientific Institute.
  26. ^ Letter No. 534 from the General Staff of the Second Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Region to the Bulgarian Government on the position of the insurgent Bulgarian population, requesting military intervention from Bulgaria, September 9th, 1903, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of History, Bulgarian Language Institute, "Macedonia. Documents and materials", Sofia, 1978, part III, No.92: "To the Esteemed Government of the Principality of Bulgaria. In view of the critical and terrible situation of the Bulgarian population of the Monastir Vilayet following the devastations and cruelties perpetrated by the Turkish troops and bashibazouks, in view of the fact that these devastations and cruelties continue systematically, and that one cannot foresee how far they will reach; in view, furthermore, of the fact that here everything Bulgarian is running the risk of perishing and being obliterated without a trace by violence, hunger and by approaching poverty, the General Staff considers it its duty to draw the attention of the Esteemed Bulgarian Government to the fatal consequences for the Bulgarian nation, if it fails to discharge its duty to its own brothers here in an impressive and energetic manner, made imperative by force of circumstances and by the danger threatening the common Bulgarian homeland at the present moment...."
  27. ^ Academician Lyubomir Miletich, "The Destruction of Thracian Bulgarians in 1913", Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, State printing house, 1918. On-line publication of the phototype reprint of the first edition of the book in Bulgarian (in Bulgarian "Разорението на тракийските българи през 1913 година", Българска академия на науките, София, Държавна печатница, 1918 г.; II фототипно издание, Културно-просветен клуб "Тракия" - София, 1989 г., София).
  28. ^ "The immediate effect of the partition was the anti-Bulgarian campaign in areas under Serbian and Greek rule. The Serbians expelled Exarchist churchmen and teachers and closed Bulgarian schools and churches (affecting the standing of as many as 641 schools and 761 churches). Thousands of Macedonians left for Bulgaria, joining a still larger stream from devastated Aegean Macedonia, where the Greeks burned Kukush, the center of Bulgarian politics and culture, as well as much of Serres and Drama. Bulgarian (including the Macedonian dialects) was prohibited, and its surreptitious use, whenever detected, was ridiculed or punished.", Ivo Banac, in The National Question in Yugoslavia. Origins, History, Politics, pp. 307-328, Cornell University Press, 1984, retrieved on September 6, 2007.
  29. ^ Colliers Encyclopedia, Macedonia, 1993 edition.
  30. ^ "August 2nd, non-working for Macedonian citizens". 2008-07-29. Retrieved 30 July 2008. 
  31. ^ "Интервју со д-р Васил Јотевски. Тешко е да се полемизира... Бранко Горгевски ("Дневник"), Народна волja броj 2050.". Retrieved 29 November 2014. 
  32. ^ "Кој со кого ќе се помирува? Лидерот на ВМРО-ДПМНЕ и Премиер на Република Македониjа, Љубчо Георгиевски одговара и полемизира на темата за национално помирување.". Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 29 November 2014. 
  33. ^ Академик Иван Катарџиев, "Верувам во националниот имунитет на македонецот", интервjу, "Форум": "ФОРУМ - Дали навистина Делчев се изјаснувал како Бугарин и зошто? КАТАРЏИЕВ - Ваквите прашања стојат. Сите наши луѓе се именувале како "Бугари"..."; also (in Macedonian; in English: "Academician Ivan Katardzhiev. I believe in Macedonian national immunity", interview, "Forum" magazine: "FORUM - Whether Gotse Delchev really defined himself as Bulgarian and why? KATARDZHIEV - Such questions exist. All our people named themselves as "Bulgarians"...")
  34. ^ "Уште робуваме на старите поделби", Разговор со д-р Зоран Тодоровски, 27. 06. 2005, also here (in Macedonian; in English: "We are still in servitude to the old divisions", interview with Ph. D. Zoran Todorovski, published on 27. 06. 2005.
  35. ^ Misirkov, Krste (1903). За македонцките работи (On the Macedonian Matters) (PDF) (in Bulgarian/Macedonian dialect). Sofia: Либералний клуб (The Liberal Club). p. 17. 
  36. ^ "The Ilinden - Preobrazhenie Uprising of 1903". Authors: Hristo Hristov, Dimiter Kossev, Lyubomir Panayotov; Publisher: Sofia Press - 1983; in English language.
  37. ^ "Сите ние сме Бугари". Македонски историци "на бунт" срещу общото честване на празниците ни. в-к "Дума", 07.06.2006.
  38. ^ България и светът. 04 Август 2006, По съседски: Събития с балкански адрес. Новина № 2.


See also

Ilinden Peak on Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after the uprising.


There have been long going disputes between parties in Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia about the ethnic affiliation of the insurgents. The opinion of most Macedonian historians and politicians is that Preobrazhenie uprising was a Bulgarian uprising, not related with the Ilinden one, which was organized by Macedonians.[31] Nevertheless some of the Macedonian historical scholarship and political élite have reluctantly acknowledged the Bulgarian ethnic character of the insurgents.[32][33][34] Krste Misirkov, regarded nowadays in the Republic of Macedonia as one of the most prominent proponents of Macedonian nationalism of the early 20th century, states in his brochure On the Macedonian Matters (1903) that the uprising was supported and carried out primarily by that part of Macedonia's Slavic population which had Bulgarian national identity.[35] The dominant view in Bulgaria is that at that time the Macedonian and Thracian Bulgarians predominated in all regions of the uprisings and that Macedonian ethnicity did still not exist.[36] It has also to be noted that some attempts from Bulgarian officials for joint actions and celebration of the Ilinden uprising were rejected from Macedonian side as unacceptable.[37][38]


The leaders of the Ilinden uprising are celebrated as heroes in the Republic of Macedonia. They are regarded as Macedonian patriots and as founders of the drive for Macedonian independence in Macedonia. The names of the IMARO revolutionaries like Gotse Delchev, Pitu Guli, Dame Gruev and Yane Sandanski were included into the lyrics of the anthem of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia Denes nad Makedonija ("Today over Macedonia"). There are towns named after the leaders in both Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia. Today, 2 August is the national holiday in Republic of Macedonia, known as Day of the Republic,[30] which considers it the date of its first statehood in modern times. It is also the date on which, in 1944, a People's Republic of Macedonia was proclaimed at ASNOM as a constituent republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The ASNOM event is now referred as the 'Second Ilinden' in Republic of Macedonia, though there is no direct link to the events of 1903. In Bulgaria Ilinden and Preobrazhenie days as anniversaries of the uprising are publicly celebrated on a local level, primarily in the Pirin Macedonia and Northern Thrace regions.

Portrayals of the insurrections by later historians often reflect ongoing national aspirations. Historians from the Republic of Macedonia see them as a part of the move for an independent state as finally achieved by their own new nation. There is, in fact, very little historical continuity from the insurrections to the modern state, but Macedonian sources tend to emphasize the early goals of political autonomy when IMARO was established. The Supremacist faction pushed for the insurrections to take place in the summer of 1903, while the left wing argued for more time and more planning.[29] Historians from Bulgaria emphasize the undoubted Bulgarian character of the rebels, but tends to downplay the moves for political autonomy that were a part of the IMARO organization prior to the insurrections. Western historians generally refer simply to the Ilinden uprising, which marks the date on which uprising began. In Bulgaria it is more common to refer to the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie uprising, giving equal status to the activities commenced at Preobrazhenie near to the Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea and limiting an undue focus on the Macedonian region. Some sources recognize these as two related but distinct insurrections, and name them the Ilinden uprising and the Preobrazhenie uprising. Bulgarian sources tend to emphasize the moves within IMARO for hegemony with Bulgaria, as advocated by the Supremacist and the right wing factions.

Makedonium monument, dedicated to the Ilinden Uprising, Kruševo, Republic of Macedonia.
Petrova Niva monument, dedicated to the Preobrazhenie Uprising, near Malko Tarnovo, Bulgaria.


At the end of 1922, the Greek government started to expel large numbers of Bulgarians from coup of 19 May 1934 to take control and break the power of the organizations.

IMRO had de facto full control of Bulgarian Pirin Macedonia (the Petrich District of the time) and acted as a "state within a state", which it used as a base for hit and run attacks against Yugoslavia and Greece. IMRO began sending armed bands called cheti into Greek and Yugoslav Macedonia to assassinate officials and stir up the spirit of the oppressed population.

The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation and continued its struggle against Serbian and Greek regimes in the following period to 1934.

The partition of Macedonia and Thrace in 1913.
Letter from the General Staff of the Monastir (Bitola) Revolutionary Region to the Bulgarian Government, requesting military intervention for the salvation of the local Bulgarians.[26]

Subsequent history

Still, Bulgaria was unable to send troops to the rescue of the rebelling fellow Bulgarians in Macedonia and Adrianopol Thrace. When IMARO representatives met the Bulgarian Prime-Minister Racho Petrov, he showed them the ultimatums by Serbia, Greece and Romania, which he had just received and which informed him of those countries’ support for Turkey, in case Bulgaria intervened to support the rebels.[25] At a meeting in early October, the general staff of the rebel forces decided to cease all revolutionary activities, and declared the forces, excepting regular militias, to be disbanded.[11] After the uprising, IMARO became more strongly associated with the Supremacists, and with the goal of hegemony by Bulgaria.[17] The savagery of the insurrections and the reprisals did finally provoke a reaction from the outside world. In October, Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary and Nicholas II of Russia met at Mürzsteg and sponsored the Mürzsteg program of reforms, which provided for foreign policing of the Macedonia region, financial compensation for victims, and establishment of ethnic boundaries in the region.[14] The reforms achieved little practical result apart from giving more visibility to the crisis. The question of competing aspirations of Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and local advocates for political autonomy were not addressed, and the notion of ethnic boundaries was impossible to implement effectively. In any case, these concerns were soon overshadowed by the Young Turk revolution of 1908 and the subsequent dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

"The General staff considers its duty to turn the attention of the respectable Bulgarian government to the disastrous consequences for the Bulgarian nation, if it does not carry out its duty towards its birth brothers here, in an impressive and active manner, as imposed by the power of the circumstances and the danger, which threatens the all-Bulgarian fatherland – through war."[24]

On September 29, the General staff of the Uprising sent the Letter N 534 to the Bulgarian government, appealing for immediate armed intervention:

The reaction of the Ottoman Turks to the uprisings was disproportionate, savage and involved overwhelming force. The only hope for the insurgents was outside intervention, and that was never politically feasible. Indeed, although Bulgarian interests were favoured by the actions, the Bulgarian government itself had been required to outlaw the Macedonian rebel groups prior to the uprisings, and sought the arrest of its leaders. This was a condition of diplomacy with Russia.[17] The waning Ottoman Empire dealt with the instability by taking vengeance on local populations that had supported the rebels. Casualties during the military campaigns themselves were comparatively small, but afterwards thousands were killed, executed or made homeless. Historian Barbara Jelavich estimates that about nine thousand homes were destroyed,[13] and thousands of refugees were produced. According to Georgi Khadziev, 201 villages and 12,400 houses were burned, 4,694 people killed, with some 30,000 refugees fleeing to Bulgaria.[11]

A convoy of captured Bulgarian IMRO activists.


  • On the morning of August 19, attacks were made on villages throughout the region, including Vasiliko (now Tsarevo), Stoilovo (near Malko Tarnovo), and villages near Edirne.
  • On August 21, the harbor lighthouse at Igneada was blown up.
  • Around September 3 a strong Ottoman force began reasserting their control.
  • By September 8 the Turks had restored control and were mopping up.

According to Khadziev, the main goal of the uprising in Thrace was to give support to the uprisings further west, by engaging Turkish troops and preventing them from moving into Macedonia. Many of the operations were diversionary, though several villages were taken, and a region in Strandzha was held for around twenty days. This is sometimes called the Strandzha republic or Strandzha commune, but according to Khadziev there was never a question of state power in the Thrace region. In the Rhodope Mountains, Western Thrace, the upspring expressed only in some cheta's diversions in the regions of Smolyan and Dedeagach.[23]

The delegates at Rhodope Mountains congress.

Preobrazhenie Uprising

  • On 28 July, the message was sent out the revolutionary movements, though the secret was kept until the last moment.
  • The uprising began on the night of August 2, and involved large regions in around Bitola, around the south-west of what is now the Republic of Macedonia and some of the north of Greece.
  • On the night of August 2 and early morning of August 3, the town of Kruševo was attacked and captured by 800 rebels.
  • After three days of fighting and a siege from August 5, the town of Smilevo was captured by the rebels.
  • The town of Kleisoura, near Kastoria, was taken by insurgents about August 5.
  • On August 4 and 5, Turkish troops made an unsuccessful attempt to retake Kruševo.
  • On August 4, under leadership of Nikola Karev, a local administration was set up, now called the Kruševo republic.
  • On August 12, following the Battle of Sliva, an 18,000 people strong Ottoman force[22] recaptured and burned Kruševo. It had been held by the insurgents for just ten days.
  • On August 14, under the leadership of Nikola Pushkarov, some bands near Skopje attacked and derailed a military train.
  • In Razlog the population joined in the uprising. This was further east, in Pirin Macedonia in present-day Bulgaria.
  • Kleisoura was finally recaptured by the Ottomans on August 27.
  • Other regions involved included Prilep area, immediately to the east of Bitola.
  • Militias active in the region of Serres, led by Yane Sandanski and an insurgent detachment of the Supreme Committee, held down a large Turkish force. These actions began on the day of the Feast of the Cross (Krastovden in Bulgarian, September 27) and did not involve the local population as much as in other regions, and were well to the east of Monastir and to the west of Thrace.

The dates and details here are from an account by the anarchist author Georgi Khadziev, translated by Will Firth.[11]

The banner of the insurgents from Ohrid with the Bulgarian flag on it. The inscription is also in Bulgarian. The insurgents flew Bulgarian flags everywhere.[20][21]

Ilinden Uprising

It is interesting to note the position of the Bulgarian government on the issue. Already during the discussions, Racho Petrov's government supported IMARO's position of an entirely internal character of the rebellion. Apart from Racho Petrov's personal warning to Gotse Delchev in January 1903 about delaying or even canceling the rebellion, the government sent out a circular note to its diplomatic representations in Thessaloniki, Bitola and Edirne, advising the population not to succumb to a pro-rebellion propaganda, as Bulgaria was not ready to support it.[19]

By these circumstances the Supremacists' plan went ahead. Under a leadership from Ivan Garvanov IMARO made a decision about military revolt. Garvanov, himself, did not participate in the uprising, because of his arrest and exile in Rhodes. The day chosen for the uprising was August 2 (July 20 in the old Julian calendar), the feast day of St. Elias (Elijah). This holy day was known as Ilinden. On 11 July, a congress at Petrova Niva near Malko Tarnovo set the date of 23 July for the uprising, then deferred it a bit more to 2 August. The Thrace region, around the Adrianople Vilayet was not ready, and negotiated for a later uprising in that region.

Hristo Chernopeev's band in 1903.

Meanwhile in late April 1903, a group of young anarchists from the Gemidzhii Circle - graduates from the Bulgarian Men's High School of Thessaloniki launched a campaign of terror bombing, the so-called Thessaloniki bombings of 1903. Their aim was to attract the attention of the Great Powers to Ottoman oppression in Macedonia and Eastern Thrace. As a response to the attacks, the Turkish Army and bashibozouks (irregulars) massacred many innocent Bulgarians in Thessaloniki, and later in Bitola.

, was a strong advocate for proceeding slowly, but the Supremacists pressed for a major uprising to take place in the summer of 1903. Delchev himself was killed by the Turks in May 1903. Gotse Delchev One of the founding leaders of IMARO, [18] On the other hand a smaller group of conservatives in [17][16][12] The two groups had different strategies. IMARO as originally conceived sought to prepare a carefully planned uprising in the future, but the Supremacists preferred immediate raids and guerilla operations to foster disorder and a precipitate interventions.

Vojvods in Odrin Vilayet before the uprising.

Since the term IMARO was aware that neither Serbia nor Greece could expect to obtain the whole of Macedonia and, unlike Bulgaria, they both looked forward to and urged partition. Autonomy, then, was the best prophylactic against partition, that would preserve the Bulgarian character of Christian Macedonian Slav population despite the separation from Bulgaria proper. The idea of Macedonian autonomy was strictly political and did not imply a secession from Bulgarian ethnicity.[15]

The most effective group was the Thessaloniki in 1893. The group had a number of name changes prior to and subsequent to the uprising. It was predominantly Bulgarian and supported an idea for autonomous Macedonia and Adrianople regions within the Ottoman state with a motto of "Macedonia for the Macedonians".[13] It rapidly began to be infiltrated by members of Macedonian Supreme Committee, a group formed in 1894 in Sofia, Bulgaria. This group was called the Supremists, and advocated annexation of the region by Bulgaria.[14]

General Tsonchev's Supreme Committee's band

At the turn of the 20th century, the Ottoman Empire was crumbling, and the lands they had held in Eastern Europe for over 500 years were passing to new rulers. Macedonia and Thrace were regions of indefinite boundaries, adjacent to the recently independent Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian states, but themselves still under the control of the Ottoman Turks. Each of the neighbouring states based claims to Macedonia and Thrace on various historical and racial grounds. But the population was highly mixed, and the competing historical claims were based on various empires in the distant past.[12] The competition for control took place largely by means of propaganda campaigns, aimed at winning over the local population, and took place largely through the churches and schools. Various groups of mercenaries were also supported, by the local population and by the three competing governments.[12][13]



  • Prelude 1
  • Ilinden Uprising 2
  • Preobrazhenie Uprising 3
  • Aftermath 4
  • Subsequent history 5
  • Legacy 6
  • Controversy 7
  • Honour 8
  • See also 9
  • Footnotes 10
  • Sources 11

By the time the rebellion had started, many of its most promising potential leaders, including Ivan Garvanov and Gotse Delchev, had already been arrested or killed by the Ottomans, and the effort was quashed within a couple of months. The survivors managed to maintain a guerrilla campaign against the Turks for the next few years, but its greater effect was that it persuaded the European powers to attempt to convince the Ottoman sultan that he must take a more conciliatory attitude toward his Christian subjects in Europe.

The rebellion in the region of Bulgarian peasants in the Adrianople Vilayet led to the liberation of a large area in the Strandzha Mountains near the Black Sea coast, and the creation of a provisional government in Vassiliko, the Strandzha Republic. This lasted about twenty days before being put down by the Turks.[11]

The British journalist of the Balkans H. N. Brailsford wrote in his book "Macedonia: Its Races and Their Future": The moment for which the Bulgarian population had been preparing for ten years, arrived on the festival of the Prophet Elijah's day — the evening of Sunday, August the 2nd, 1903.[5] At the same time on the other end of the SMARO's territory, in Eastern Thrace, the leaders of the Adrianople Vilayet comitajis, had unanimously agreed that they were not ready for uprising, but out of a feeling of solidarity, had voted for a rising. So in Strandzha the rising had begun on the Feast of the Transfiguration, August 19, 1903.[6] Evidences of the Bulgarian sentiments of the insurgents during the rising are abundant.[7]

. Transfiguration, and to Preobrazhenie (Cyrillic script: Преображение), which means Elijah's day The name of the uprising refers to Ilinden (Cyrillic script: Илинден), the Bulgarian and Macedonian name for [4]

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