Happy Birthday, Hristo Botev!
Born January 6, 1848 in Kalofer, Hristo Botev went on to become one of the most celebrated people in modern Bulgarian history, both for his poetry and his revolutionary zeal. As a young man, his anti-Ottoman rhetoric forced him to flee Bulgaria, and he landed in Bucharest, where a number of Bulgarian revolutionaries had set up shop. He wrote poems and schemed with others on how to free Bulgaria from the Ottoman Yoke.
Botev was convinced that the Bulgarian people would rise up against the Ottoman’s on a moment’s notice, and in May 1876, he and his fellow emigres in Romania commandeered a ship to take them across the Danube - where they were quickly routed by Ottoman forces. Hristo Botev was killed on June 1 by an Ottoman sharpshooter. He was 28 years old.
Today, there’s hardly a town in Bulgaria without a school and/or street named for Hristo Botev.
His most famous poem is probably Hadji Dimitar, particularly the verse:
He who falls in
Dies not - he’s mourned By earth and sky,
Nature and beast, And singers remember him in song
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