How Bulgarian Rebels ‘Determined’ the Prime Minister of Britain: William Gladstone and ‘the Question of the East’ (written for ArchaeologyinBulgaria.com)

William Gladstone, four times Prime Minister of Britain (1868-1874, 1880-1885, 1886, 1892-1894), who used the Bulgarian case to stage a vigorous attack on the policies of the Conservative Party government of his arch-rival, Lord Disraeli. Photo: Wikipedia
(*This history feature article was written by Ivan Dikov for Pax Glocalica's sister publication ArchaeologyinBulgaria.com)

April 20, 1876 – The Bulgarians are making history their largest rebellion so far (later to be known as the April Uprising) against the Ottoman Empire in their quest for freedom and an independent nation state; meanwhile, in Britain, former Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader William Gladstone has been in opposition for two years to Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Benjamin Disraeli.

Two weeks later the several thousand badly armed rebels are wiped out by Ottoman troops and irregulars who take cruel revenge on the civilian population.

Some 30,000 people, mostly women, children, and elderly are raped, tortured, and slaughtered, with the Batak Massacre being the most gruesome famous but certainly not the only act with genocidal characteristics commited by Ottoman irregular and regular forces against the Bulgarian civilians and rebels.

These horrifying developments were made known to Europe and the world only some two months later, mostly through the reports of an American journalist working for the British press, Januarius MacGahan (1844-1878), and the American Consul in Istanbul, Eugene Schuyler (1840-1890). (MacGahan has even received posthumously the popular title of “Liberator of Bulgaria” because of signifiance of his press reports.)

Indeed, the most important consequence of all that not just from a Bulgarian point of view, but also from an international perspective has been the ensuing international indignation, Britain’s acquiescence to Russia’s new war against Ottoman Turkey (the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-1878 – possibly, the first Modern Era humanitarian intervention as we know it, still a controversial concept), and Bulgaria’s eventual liberation and independence.

However, in addition to alerting the world about Ottoman Turkey’s atrocities against the Bulgarians, MacGahan and Schuyler’s reports and the April Uprising itself turned out to play a major rule in the domestic politics of the No. 1 great power at the time, Great Britain (more precisely known today as the UK)…

Read the rest of this article on ArchaeologyinBulgaria website here

(300 words cited out of a total of 1,536 words)

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