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The Ilinden Uprising and the Republic of Kruševo (Macedonia, 1903)

Last modified: 2006-08-19 by ivan sache
Keywords: proposal | ilinden | krushevo |
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Krushevo flag

Flag of the Republic of Kruševo - Image by Tomislav Todorović & Mladen Mijatov, 9 March 2006

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History of the Republic of Kruševo

Kruševo is the highest town in the Republic of Macedonia, with an elevation of over 1,300 m (about 4,000 ft) above the sea level. It is a well-known winter ski resort. Its old architecture, many hotels, and all conditions necessary for pleasant winter holidays, make Kručevo an ideal place for relaxation.

The republic known as Kruševska republika was established here in 1903 during the Ilinden insurrection. One of the most important points in the Ilinden uprising was the declaration of the "Manifesto of Kruševo". It called for all the people of Macedonia regardless of their nationality and religion to fight together against the Ottoman Empire and live peacefully in a free country of Macedonia.
There is in the area a monument called Mekin Kamen (Bear's Stone). This was the place where Pitu Guli's band (č:eta) was trying to defend the town of Kruševo from the Turkish troops coming from Bitola. The whole band and their leader (vojvoda) perished and Kruševo as well as many of the nearby villages were set to fire by the Turks.
Unfortunately, the Kruševo Republic lasted only 12 days. The Ilinden uprising and its forever unforgotten heroes Nikola Karev, Pitu Guli, Damjan Gruev, and če Delčev will be always examples how to love and fight for freedom of our motherland.

Željko Heimer, quoting Balkan Info website, 13 March 2002

The red flag of the Republic of Kruševo

In August 1903, during the Ilinden Uprising, a plain red flag was hoisted in the liberated town of Kruševo. That was done at the initiative of Nikola Karev, a leader of the uprising and the chief organizer of the provisional administration of the Republic of Kruševo, who was a Socialist activist. The red flag, originally a symbol of Socialism and revolution, thus also became the Macedonian national symbol. This was probably helped with the fact that the coat of arms usually attributed to Macedonia has had the red field, with the golden lion upon it.

In 1946, the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia adopted the flag with the red field, in memory of the Ilinden Uprising and the Republic of Kruševo. As an independent country, Macedonia has kept the red as the field colour of its flag to this day. Red is also the field colour of many political flags in Macedonia, regardless of the users' political attitudes, being used there as the national symbol.

Tomislav Todorović, 9 March 2006

The proposed Macedonian national flag

The traditional Macedonian flag had two equal horizontal parts, the upper half being red and the lower black. This traditional Macedonian flag shad also a symbolic meaning - the same meaning as the slogan of the Macedonian fighters from the beginning of the century: "Freedom (red) or Death (black)". During the 1903 Ilinden uprising and the Kruševo republic the formal flag of Macedonian fighters was black and red.

Željko Heimer, quoting Balkan Info website, 13 March 2002

Red color might mean freedom, but the original meaning was the blood of all Macedonians who died fighting for the freedom of their motherland, Macedonia. The black color symbolized the death of Goče Delčev, the ideologist of Macedonian freedom movement in the late 1890s and the beginning of the XXth century, more accurately, until 4 May 1903, when he was killed after having been surrounded by the Turk soldiers in the village of Banica, now in Greece.

Goče G., 18 March 2001

1903 proposal

Proposal of national flag - Image by António Martins, 19 February 1999

A red over black flag was proposed as the national Macedonian flag in 1903 but was never officially adopted.

Jaume Ollé, 24 October 1998

The black and red flag is used today by the football club Vardar from Skopje. His supporters are called Komiti (fighters for freedom).
The real Macedonian flag was red with a golden gun and knife crossed in saltire in the middle of the flag, or in the upper left corner of the flag. The red background symbolized the blood of all Macedonians who had died or were about to die for the freedom of Macedonia. The golden gun and knife meant fight till death, and death for every one who will spy and betray the oath they had given in the name of freedom of Macedonia.

Goče G., 18 March 2001