Thousands Remember Bulgaria's 1903 Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising
Thousands of Bulgarians gathered Saturday night to mark the 106 Year since the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising against the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
The meeting took place in the historic spot Petrova Niva ("Peter's Field") in the Strandzha Mountain, Malko Tarnovo Municipality, in the southeastern-most edge of Bulgaria.
On August 2, 1903, which is St. Elijah's Day (Ilinden) under the Gregorian Calendar, Bulgarians in Macedonia and Thrace rebelled trying to unify the country as large swaths of territories populated by Bulgarians were left in the Ottoman Empire at the Berlin Congress of 1878.
The Uprising was an organized revolt against the Ottoman Empire prepared and carried out by the Bulgarian Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Committee (later known as VMORO and VMRO).
The uprising started in the Bitola vilayet - the 2nd Revolutionary District - on August 2, 1903, which is today's Republic of Macedonia. After a historic meeting at Petrova Niva, the 7th Adrianople Revolutionary District, parts of which are in today's Bulgaria, also decided to rebel in order to aid the rebels in the Macedonian districts.
Thus, the Bulgarians in the Adrianople vilayet joined the uprising on 19 August 1903, the Transfiguration, or Preobrazhenie in Bulgarian.
Although the rebellion in both regions initially was successful, the intervention of the Ottoman Turkish regular army led to the dissolution of the rebels' detachments. Some 25 000 badly armed rebels faced 300 000 Ottoman troops. After the rebels were defeated, some of them managed to maintain a semi-successful guerrilla campaign against the Ottoman Turkish authorities until the Balkan War of 1912.
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