Friday, March 09, 2007
After suffering defeat at Vienna at 1683, Ottomans were forced to rapidly withdraw from Europe. Led by General Piccolomini, the Austrians advanced as far as Macedonia. The military catastrophe and the chaotic situation inside the Ottoman Empire created suitable conditions for widespread outlawry in many parts of today's Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia, especially in the Moriovo, Bitola, Tikvesh, Veles, Shtip, Dospat, Kyustendil regions which led to the Karposh Uprising.Sometime in the middle of October 1689 the outlaw Karposh led an uprising which broke out in the region between Kustendil and Skopje. Immediately after declaring a revolt, Karposh attacked and captured Kriva Palanka. Kriva Palanka was an Ottoman stronghold built in 1636 to house Ottoman soldiers. After capturing the stronghold, Karposh declared it liberated rebel territory and made it his centre of resistance. After securing Kriva Palanka the rebels built and secured a new stronghold near Kumanovo.It is not known whether or not the rebels were assisted by the Austrians but it is possible. According to contemporary Ottoman chronicles and local legends, Karposh was known as the "King of Kumanovo". This could have been a title conferred upon him by the Austrian emperor Leopold I who sent him a Busby (a tall fur hat worn by hussars and guardsmen) as a gift and a sign of recognition.The council of war which met in Sofia on November 14, 1689 decided to attack the Karposh uprising through Kustendil. But before they could do that they had to secure Kriva Palanka.Upon finding that they were about to be attacked, the rebels set fire to Kriva Palanka and concentrated their forces in the new fortress in Kumanovo. No sooner had they prepared their defenses than the Ottoman and Tartar detachments arrived. The rebels stood their ground and fought gallantly but were quickly overwhelmed by the numerically superior Ottoman force. A large number of rebels, including Karposh, were captured at the outset.When the battle was over, all rebels who resisted to the end were slaughtered. Karposh and the others were taken prisoner. After subduing Kumanovo, the Ottomans left for Skopje where they executed Karposh and the others.Karposh was brought before Selim Giray who at the time was standing on the Stone Bridge over the River Vardar. Selim used him for target practice and impaled him with his Tartar lances. He then had his body hurled into the Vardar River. Karposh died early in December of 1689 and with him died the Karposh uprising.Just as the Karposh revolt was winding down in Macedonia, on April 6, 1690, Leopold I issued a manifesto inviting "all peoples of Albania, Serbia, Mysia, Bulgaria, Silistria, Illyria, Macedonia and Rashka to join the Austrians in taking up arms against the Turks. Unfortunately, all these good gestures were too little too late for these provinces which by 1690 was back under tight Ottoman control.