Testimonies from Australian Newspapers of 1903 - Ilinden, a Bulgarian Uprising

How contemporary Australian newspapers saw the ‘llinden uprising’ of 1903…

Accounts of the llinden Uprising in Australian newspapers of the time, invariably echo the way ihe event was perceived by the general world media.

The reader will discover thai according to the reports in the newspapers, (as indeed in those of any other contemporary source), the Insurgent Slavs were the Bulgarian. of Macedonia. A “Macedonian” ethnic group simply did not exist!!

In accounts which refer to the ethnic make-up of Macedonia, the Slavs ol the region are always described as


For this is precisely what they themselves believed. This tact is exemplified by the numerous references in many

reports, to the ‘local Bulgarians’ of the Monastir and Krushevo district - the area in which the 1903 rebellion centred.

(Both towns arc now in the south­western part ol the FYROM).

There are also, quite naturally, references to the “Macedonian” revolution and to “Macedonian bands’. This is

expected; given that the events took place mainly in the Turkish ‘province’ of Macedonia. Essentially it is a short-hand

reference to the events that occurred in this region: and to the local Bulgarian population as opposed to the population of

the independent Hulgarian kingdom.

Any casual reading of the reports will very clearly show that the term “Macedonian’ was used entirely and purely in a regional sense. In fact, the two terms. Bulgarian’ and ‘Macedonian are frequently used interchangeably; Ihe former ethnically, Ihe latter regionally.

In a “New York Times” report of the uprising dated 10 August 1903. for instance, a Μacedonian” revolutionary (as described in the report), is quoted as stating that the revolutionary organization in Macedonia “Came info existence nine years age when the percecution of Ihe Bulgarian population of Macedonia became flaglant.

Ihe following pages contain accounts of the Ilinden Uprising, as recorded in a representative sample of contemporary Australian newspapers; The Age, The Herald and the Sydney Morning Herald.

The last page contains a letter from Gotse Delchev, a leading revolutionary of the time. He is claimed as a national icon by both ihe Bulgarians and the Slav Macedonians.

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