Karev and the Krusevo Republic
The Ilinden uprising (Ilindensko Vostanie) was the turning-point in the national and revolutionary struggle of the Macedonian people. It was a true national revolution with deep political and social implications. It began on 2 August 1903, and soon spread over the whole of Macedonia, however not everywhere with the same fierosity. The fiercest fighting went on first in the area around Bitola, then to Ohrid, Kicevo, Lerin (Florina - now in Greece), Prilep, and other regions, with less pronounced fighting in the Solun (Thessoloniki - Greece), Seres, Skopje and Odrin regions. The towns of Krusevo, Nevska and Klisura were captured. Other nationalities living in Macedonia also took part in the Ilinden Uprising, which increased its popular and democratic character. On 3 August 1903, the rebels took the town of Krusevo and established a revolutionary government. They proclaimed the Krusevo Republic, which was the first ever in the Balkans. The Republic lasted 10 days, from August 3 - 13, and had as its President Nikola Karev, a well-known Macedonian revolutionary and socialist leader.
From among the various nationalities who lived in this part of Macedonia, a Republican Council was elected with 60 members - 20 representatives of each nationality. The Council also chose an executive body, called the Provisional Government, with six members (2 from each nationality), whose duty it was to ensure law and order and see to such things as supplies, finances, and medical care. The "Krusevo Manifesto" was published. Written by Nikola Karev himself, it outlined the aims of the Uprising, calling upon the population to join forces with the provisional government in the struggle against tyranny and enslavement to attain freedom and independence. The Turkish government was so shocked and surprised by the uprising that they took extraordinary military measures to quash the new republic: 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 Turks managed to destroy the Krusevo Republic and then cruelly dealt with the the rebels in Krusevo and other districts. As a result, over 200 communities were exterminated, more than 12,000 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 the Turkish reprisal, the toll was indeed heavy.