St. Eli's Day Uprising of 1903

St. Eli’s Day Uprising of 1903


a national liberation uprising in Macedonia against the Ottoman yoke. It began on July 20 (Aug. 2), 1903, on St. Eli’s Day.

The uprising was prepared by the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) and spread mostly to southwestern Macedonia (Bitola Vilayet). The insurgents, mainly peasants, seized a number of villages and small settlements. On August 4 they occupied the city of Krusevo, proclaimed a republic (the so-called Krusevo Republic of Aug. 4–12, 1903), and established a provisional revolutionary government headed by the Bulgarian social democrat N. Karev. (Karev was a leader of the Macedonian Social Democratic Union in Sofia, which sided with the Bulgarian Social Democratic Labor Party). The leaders of the insurgents issued an appeal explaining that “the cause of the uprising stands above all differences of peoples and tribes.” The uprising did not become a mass movement in other parts of Macedonia.

When the St. Eli’s Day uprising subsided, the Transfiguration Day uprising (on Transfiguration Day) of the Bulgars of Lozen-grad District, Adrianople Vilayet, also prepared by IMRO, erupted in eastern Thrace on August 19. The insurgents proclaimed a republic in the city of Malko Tǔrnovo. By mid-September, the St. Eli’s Day uprising had been suppressed by the regular army of the Turkish sultan. Thousands of insurgents perished in battle or were shot, tens of thousands were left homeless, and more than 30,000 people emigrated.


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