Today Bulgaria is celebrating the 139th anniversary of the April Uprising, one of the main drivers for independence organised by the Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire from April to May 1876, which indirectly resulted in the re-establishment of Bulgaria in 1878. Only some 10,000 men from 95 villages participated in the uprising in the dawn of fire waepons-a novelty at the time.
The Ottoman response was immediate and severe. They mobilized detachments of regular troops and also irregular bashi-bazouks. These forces attacked the first insurgent towns as early as 25 April. The Turkish forces massacred of civilian populations, the principal places being Panagurishte, Perushtitza, Bratzigovo, and Batak.
By the middle of May, the insurrection was completely suppressed; one of the last sparks of resistance was poet Hristo Botev’s attempt to come to the rebels’ rescue with a detachment of Bulgarian political émigrés resident in Romania, ending with the unit’s rout and Botev’s death. It is generally accepted that the death toll on the Bulgarian part was around 30,000.
The ruthless surpression of the revolution led to international acknowledgement of the self-determination of the Bulgarians and their right to have their own nation state. Thus while a military defeat, the April uprising is still the largest political success in the Bulgarian history.