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History of Krushevo

Founding of Krushevo

A lot of scholars writing on Krushevo thought that Krushevo was a new settlement which was established in the 18th century, by settlement of Vlachs cattle breeders at this area. However, it has been proved that Krushevo was a much more older settlement. The latest avalable documents state that Krushevo was mentioned for the first time in 1767 as a mezra (place with no population which has sometimes been inhabited and later on migrated, or has never been inhabited and should have been given under possession of a landowner in order to inhabit it) of the landowner Husein-Bey, along with Prilep and other villages. There is other Turkish and non-Turkish sources which state that Krushevo existed as a settlement long before the 18th century. It seems that the first inhabitants of Krushevo were Macedonians who gave the name of the settlement.

At first, Krushevo was a little cattle breeding settlement, and its quick growth is connected with the settlement of Vlachs in the 18th century and numerous Macedonian population afterwards. The biggest number of Vlachs came from Moskopole and other regions, runing away from the Ottoman oppression, and Macedonians from the Debar region and other places in Western Macedonia also runing away from the violence and looking for better life. There were skilled merchants among the newcomers in Krushevo (especially the Vlachs), craftsmen, cattle breeders, professions which gave character to the town.

Ilinden rebellion of 1903

During the Ilinden uprising, the largest success has been achieved in the revolutionary district of Krushevo. In the summer of 1903, on its territory is formed uprising headquarters led by the chief of the revolutionary district of Krushevo, Nikola Karev. Later Karev becomes president of the newly formed Krushevo Republic. He wrote the Krushevo Manifesto which called all peoples that live in Macedonia to join them in the struggle for freedom.

On August 2nd in 1903, on St.Elijah's day, about 750 revolutionaries attacked Krushevo. After a few hours of battles the city was taken from the Ottomans. In the area called Gumenje the rebels created the Republic of Krushevo, which existed in the period from 3 to 13 August 1903.

The organization of the local authorities in the Republic was impressive. The chief of the revolutionaries took care of security and safety of citizens and was chairman of the Council of the Republic, consisting of 60 members - with 20 people from each ethnic community in Krushevo (macedonian, greek, and vlach). 

A surprised Turkish government took extensive military measures to quell the uprising: 176,000 soldiers, 3,700 mounted troops and 444 cannon's were sent to Macedonia. After fierce and heroic battles near Sliva and Meckin Kamen, the Turkish forces managed to destroy the Krusevo Republic and showed their customary cruelty in dealing with the rebels in Krusevo and other places. As a result, 201 communities were wiped out, 12,400 houses burned to the ground, more than 70,000 people were left homeless, and 8,816 were killed. Although some 30,000 people fled their homes to avoid reprisal's, the toll was indeed heavy.

The Uprising aroused great interest in Europe. Newspapers followed the course of events with close attention and great sympathy. They printed details of the cruel mass reprisals carried out by the Turks on the inhabitants in rebel strongholds. A powerful wave of protest followed; among the leading spokeman were Lav Tolstoy, Maxim Gorki, Anatole France, Jean Jaures, Victor Berard, Arthur Evans, Henry Brailsford, Georges Clemenceau and others. 

In Britain, France, Italy and America, " Macedonian Committees " were set up, and organised mass meetings of support for the Macedonian rebels. Similar action was taken in Russia, Romania, and some other countries around the world. 

Following the failure of this uprising, the Macedonian revolutionaries made an effort to close the ranks. At the Rila Congress (held in 1905 in Rila Monastery in Pirin Macedonia), despite differences of interest between the two sides, there was general condemnation of outside interference particularly by the Bulgarian Court, and the ultimate goal - the liberation of Macedonia - was confirmed.

 

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The contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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