124 Time of The Cheti

After years of writing, planning, and organizing, it's finally time for Georgi Rakovski to send bands of cheti into Bulgaria to begin stirring revolution. But with an unaware peasantry and Ottoman officials standing in their way, will they be able to make it out alive?



Major Characters in this Episode

Vasil Levski

Hristo Botev

Grigory IV

Pandeli Kisimov

Sultan Abdulaziz

Prince Michael of Serbia

Prince Milan of Serbia

Panayot Hitov

Filip Totyu

Count Ignatiev

Lyuben Karavelov

Ivan Kulin

Eremiya Petrov Bulgarov

Ilarian Makariopolski

Georgi Rakovski

Timeline for this Episode

  • Early in the year, Hristo Botev returns to Kalofer to substitute for his sick father in the school where he teaches

  • 10th February 1867, Grigory VI becomes the new Patriarch

  • 24th February 1867, the French ambassador in Constantinople gives the Porte a memorandum in which France suggests reforms for the Empire and foresee allowing Christians into government positions, mandatory military service, as well as school, tax, administration, and court modernisation

  • 3rd March 1867, members of ТБЦК write a plea in Bucharest address to the Russian Emperor regarding solving Bulgarian political questions with Russian aid.

  • March 1867, In the name of ТБЦК, Pandeli Kisimov writes to the Sultan proposing a dual Bulgarian-Turkish country in which Bulgaria would have political and church domination in their portion.

  • March and early April 1867, Levski gets in touch with Panayot Hitov in Bucharest

  • April 1st, 1867 Michael Obrenovic goes on an official visit to Constantinople

  • 5-7 April 1867, the Virtuous Society organizes an assembly with the participation of about 75-80 influential Bulgarians who represent immigrant societies in Wallachia and Southern Russia, they discuss the project of the Virtuous Society and create an official protocol which declares that Bulgarians and Serbs need to unite in a southern slavic kingdom under the Obrenovic dynasty.

  • 18th of April 1867, Ignatiev gave the Porte a project for reforms in the Ottoman Empire in which they demanded the creation of autonomous provinces for the main national groups in the European portion of the Empire.

  • 28th April 1867, Panayot Hitov’s Cheta crosses into Bulgaria

  • May 1867, Gregory VI gave Ignatiev a proposal consisting of 18 points for solving the Bulgarian-Greek church dispute. Among them was the suggestion for the creation of an autonomous Bulgarian church headed by a Metropolitan under the authority of the Patriarch. The proposal also foresaw dioceses of the future Bulgarian Exarchate to only encompass the territory of the Danube Vilayet.

  • May 1867, negotiators in Belgrade negotiate for the creation of a united southern slavic kingdom

  • May 1867, Lyuben Karavelov in Belgrade created a new Bulgarian revolutionary committee consisting of 12 people. Their aim is to help move Cheti through the Serbian border to aid in an upcoming national uprising.

  • 1st June 1867, Lyuben Karavelov writes a proclamation to the Bulgarian people in which he coins the famous phrase “Freedom or Death”

  • 2nd July 1867, A cheta formed around Zaichar headed by Ivan Kulin and Eremiya Petrov Bulgarov crossed the Serbian border and headed towards the Rakovski monastery.

  • 7th July 1867, with the permission of Panayot Hitov, Levski goes alone to Karlovo

  • 19th July 1867, The two Cheti in Bulgaria join in the Balkan mountains

  • 1867, Sultan Abdulaziz becomes the first Ottoman ruler to visit Western Europe

  • 23rd July 1867, Sultan Abdulaziz is on his way back from the Paris Fair and visits Ruse and the local notables give him a plea demanding the resolution of the church question.

  • 8-20 August 1867, two men were killed in an altercation with authorities trying to arrest them, they were on their way to join cheti from Galats

  • 26th August 1867, Greece and Serbia sign an alliance for common action against the Ottomans

  • 4th September 1867, Ilarian Makariopolski, Panaret Plovdivski, and Parteni Polyanski met up with the Grand Vizier Ali Pasha and demanded the Porte solve the Bulgarian church question. Under the influence of the Vizier the three wrote a plea pointing out that the Bulgarians desired the restoration of the previous Tarnovo and Ohrid church centers destroyed by the Patriarchate.

  • August-September 1867, the Second Bulgarian Legion forms in Belgrade

  • 9th October 1867, Rakovski dies of Tuberculosis, hundreds of Bulgarian emigrants, foreign diplomats, and Romanian public figures attend his funeral

  • October 1867, Prince George married the niece of Tsar Alexander II of Russia at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. Mention how Greece now had a liberal constitution but it produced instability because each time the government changed, every office from the highest to the lowest would be replaced, creating incentives for corruption, fraud, and even violence.

  • 10 November 1867, the newspaper Danube Dawn began publication in Braila. The goal was to reach Bulgarians abroad and keep them informed.

  • 21st November 1867, Hristo Botev arrived in Bucharest

  • 1867, Serbia successfully expels Ottoman garrisons and administrators, discuss societal fractions

  • 1867, Dual monarchy established in the Austro-Hungarian Empire

  • 1867, A textile factory was built near Sofia with imported machinery from Belgium and Austria-Hungary, employing around 100 people.

  • 1867, 100 Bulgarian books and 10 periodicals were published

  • January 1868, Midhat Pasha was recalled from his position as governor

  • 1st February 1868, Levski writes a letter to Naiden Gerov in Plovdiv stating that he would soon be back in his birthplace and needed to meet some people who would give him some things, the phrasing and contents of this letter indicate that Levski was now working towards a national revolt.

  • 8th February 1868, an assembly gathered in Thessaloniki with representatives from local Bulgarian tradesmen from the Bulgarian neighborhoods of the city. They decided to create an independent Bulgarian municipality in the city.

  • 4th March 1868, despite the protests of the Bulgarian people living in Plovdiv, the Patriarch appointed a Greek metropolitan for the city.

  • March-April 1868, Levski writes Panayot Hitov informing him that Levski has decided to fully devote himself to freeing Bulgaria, emphasizing that if he is successful he will succeed for the nation and if he fails he will fail only for himself.

  • Early April 1868, Levski leaves the Second Bulgarian Legion

  • May 1868, Levski leaves Belgrade for Bucharest, where he meets with Hadji Dimitar, but Levski does not approve of his plan for moving Cheti into Bulgaria and so he returns to Serbia.

  • May 31st 1868, a concession is awarded to build a railway

  • 29th May to 10th June 1868, Michael Obrenovic is assassinated.


Flag of Filip Totyu's band bearing a Bulgarian coat of arms and the inscription "Freedom or death"

Cheti band leader Panayot Hitov and his excellent mustache

A map showing the actions of the rebel detachments of Panayot Hitov and Filip Totyu in 1867.

Hristo Botev's home near Kalofer