Bulgaria Recreates Start of Historic April UprisingSociety | May 1, 2011, Sunday // 19:57| views
Participants recreating the events at the inception of the 1876 April Uprising. Photo by BGNES
The eruption of the 1876 April Uprising was given its traditional re-creation as part of official festivities in Koprivshtitsa, one of the uprising's centers.
Thousands of Bulgarians flocked Sunday to the Koprivshtitsa central square, where the first shot of the uprising was fired.
Participants re-enacted the events of April 20, 1876, when rebels took over the town and set up the revolutionary headquarters.
The culmination of the official celebrations will be later Sunday evening in the nearby town of Panagyurishte, where Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov will give a solem speech.
Saturday and Sunday church bells will rang across the country, calling to all Bulgarians to remember the historical events and those who fought for their freedom.
The April Uprising was an insurrection organized by Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire from April to May 1876, whose indirect result was the establishment of Bulgaria as an independent nation in 1878.
The 1876 uprising was the last and biggest in a string of Bulgarian revolts, but spread only in parts of the Bulgarian territories.
In November 1875, activists of the Bulgarian Central Revolutionary Committee met in the Romanian town of Giurgiu and decided that the political situation was suitable for a general uprising. The uprising was scheduled for April or May 1876. The territory of the country was divided into five revolutionary districts with centers in Vratsa, Veliko Tarnovo, Sliven, Plovdiv and Sofia.
The uprising started, but the reaction of the Ottoman authorities was quick and ruthless. Detachments of regular and irregular Ottoman troops (bashi-bazouks) were mobilized and attacked the first insurgent towns as early as April 25th. By mid-May, the insurrection was completely suppressed.
At least 15 000 people were killed in the suppression of the uprising by the Ottomans. Some 80 villages and towns were burned and destroyed and 200 others were plundered.
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