April Uprising of 1876

April Uprising
Part of Rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire
April Uprising 1876small8ur.jpg
Regions involved in the Stara Zagora and April revolts. The borders of the Bulgarian Principality, according to the Constantinople Conference of 1876, are indicated.
Date20 April - mid-May 1876
LocationOttoman Bulgaria
ResultRebellion suppressed; Defeat of the Uprising led to the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878)
Zname Aprilsko vastanie.svg Revolutionaries Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Zname Aprilsko vastanie.svg Georgi Benkovski 
Zname Aprilsko vastanie.svg Ilarion Dragostinov  
Zname Aprilsko vastanie.svg Panayot Volov 
Zname Aprilsko vastanie.svg Stoyan Zaimov
Zname Aprilsko vastanie.svg Stefan Stambolov
Hafuz Pasha
Yusuf Aga of Sofya
Hasan Pasha of Niş
around 10,000 menaround 100,000 men
Casualties and losses
15,000 to 30,000 killed (including civilians)[1]Unknown

The April Uprising (Bulgarian: Априлско въстание, Aprilsko vǎstanie) was an insurrection organised by the Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire from April to May 1876, which indirectly resulted in the re-establishment of Bulgaria in 1878.[2] The regular Ottoman Army and irregular bashi-bazouk units brutally suppressed the rebels, resulting in a public outcry in Europe, with many famous intellectuals condemning the Ottoman atrocities and supporting the oppressed Bulgarian population.

The 1876 uprising involved only those parts of the Ottoman territories populated predominantly by Bulgarians. The emergence of Bulgarian national sentiments was closely related to the re-establishment of the independent Bulgarian Orthodox Church in 1870.


In Europe, in the eighteenth century, the classic non-national states were the multi-ethnic empires such as the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, whose population belonged to many ethnic groups and spoke many languages. The idea of nation state was an increasing emphasis during the 19th century, on the ethnic and racial origins of the nations. The most noticeable characteristic was the degree to which nation states use the state as an instrument of national unity, in economic, social and cultural life. By the 18th century, the Ottomans had fallen well behind the rest of Europe in science, technology, and industry. However, the Bulgarian population was also suppressed socially and politically under Ottoman rule. Additionally, more immediate causes for the greater mobilisation compared to earlier revolts were the severe internal and external problems which the Ottoman Empire experienced in the middle of the 1870s. In 1875, taxes levied on non-Muslims were raised for fear of a state bankruptcy, which, in turn, caused additional tension between Muslims and Christians and facilitated the breakout of the Herzegovinian rebellion and the Stara Zagora revolt in Bulgaria. The failure of the Ottomans to handle the Herzegovinian uprising successfully showed the weakness of the Ottoman state, and atrocities discredited it for the outside world. In the late 19th century, European ideas of nationalism were adopted by the Bulgarian elite.

Rebel flag from Gorna Oryahovitsa. The text reads 'Freedom or Death'.
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