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Anniversary from the April Uprising, 1876

Todor Kableshkov was the person who wrote the historical ?Blood Letter? to the April Uprising leaders Volov and Benkovski in Panagyurishte on April 20th, 1876, thus declaring the start of the bravest uprising in the history of Bulgaria. The name of the letter (?Blood Letter?) came from the cross Kableshkov drew with the blood of one the killed Turks. It was a unique historical document, having no rival in the other countries or their history, written by the hand of a highly educated man, utterly devoted to the cause.

?Brothers! Nedzheb Aga arrived yesterday from Plovdiv, and tried to take some people into prison, including me. When I was informed about your decision, taken at the Oborishte meeting, I called several brave men and, after getting armed, we headed to the town-hall, took hold of it, killed the Turkish town manager and some Turkish policemen? Now, as I am writing this letter, the Bulgarian flag is waving in front of the town-hall, guns are firing, accompanied by the echo of the bell-ringing; and patriots are kissing one another in the streets!? If you, brothers, are true patriots and apostles of freedom, then follow our example over there in Panagyurishte?.. Koprivshtitsa, April 20th, 1876, T.Kableshkov?

Todor Kableshkov, who had graduated from a college in Constantinople (1868-71), became the Head of the Koprivshtitsa Revolutionary Committee, preparing the uprising in his hometown. After the Uprising had started, Kableshkov was soon captured by the Turks, and unwilling to endure all the atrocities, he committed a suicide on June 16th in Gabrovo. ?ens of thousands of innocent Bulgarians (including women and young children) got brutally slaughtered by the Turks during the suppression of the April Uprising. Many towns were literally "drowned in a sea of blood"- Batak, Peroushtitsa, Bratsigovo.... In Batak, after a two-week unequal battle against the Turkish army of many thousands, 5000 people died and the whole town was burned down. About 2000 people, who had gathered in St. Nedelya Church in Batak, defended heroically their honour and faith for three days and nights, but all of them died after the church was burned. Uprising participants and whole families were all killed. Seeing that their families would fall alive in the hands of the Turks, many brave men, like Kocho Chestimenski in Peroushtitsa, decided to kill themselves all their family members rather than let them surrender alive.

The brightest intellect of mankind raised a voice of protest and indignation in answer to this outrageous occurrence - Victor Hugo, William Gladstone, MacGahan, Dostoevski, Lev Tolstoy. The world finally came to know about Bulgaria, and its righteous will to be free...


The Photo above: the Todor Kableshkov Monument in his native town, Koprivshtitsa.