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The Greek revolutionary movements in Macedonia during the 19th century
The year 1821 marked the outbreak of the Greek Revolution against the Ottomans, which led to the establishment of the independent Greek State, after four hundred years of Ottoman rule. The Greeks of Macedonia, economically and culturally prosperous, participated in the revolutionary movements that broke out with centres in Mount Athos and Chalkidiki, Mount Vermio and Naoussa, Mount Olympus and the Pierian Mountains. The operations failed due to the inadequate military preparation of the Greeks. They ended with the fall of Naoussa and the massacre of its heroic defenders by the Ottomans. Those fighters who managed to escape, continued their struggle in southern Greece. After the formation of the free Greek State, they did not stop their efforts for the liberation of their particular homeland.
During the Crimean War, new Greek uprisings in the region of Macedonia took place on three fronts: Western Macedonia, Chalkidiki and Mount Olympus. Their successes were limited. The European Powers were not interested in these struggles, as their interests were intertwined with maintaining the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire.
The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 revolted the Greeks of Macedonia once again. The uprising broke out a few days before the capitulation of the Ottomans in San Stefano (then a village west of Constantinople), where Russia forced the sultan to create a “Greater Bulgaria”, which would include all of Macedonia, except Thessaloniki and Chalkidiki. This development rekindled the Greek uprising, mainly in Western Macedonia. In June 1878, at the Congress of Berlin, it was ultimately decided that Macedonia should remain in Ottoman territory and two semi-autonomous principalities would be established; Eastern Rumelia and Bulgaria. A few years later, Bulgaria promoted its aspirations in Macedonia through the organised action of rebel bands (“Comitadjis”), which were directed mainly against the Greek communities of Macedonia.
In the summer of 1896 there were new uprisings in Macedonia, which were repeated in the spring of 1897, almost in parallel with the Greco-Turkish War, also known as the “Unfortunate War”.