He who falls fighting for freedom,
he shall not die: he shall be pitied
earth and sky, beast and nature,
and singers sing songs about it…
The patron of our club, the immortal Hristo Botyov Petkov, was born on December 25, 1847 (January 6, 1848 in the new style) in the town of Kalofer, in the family of Botyo Petkov and Ivanka Boteva.
In 1854 Botyo Petkov went to Karlovo as a teacher, where he remained for four years. Hristo started studying at the primary school in Karlovo. In 1858, the family of Dassal Bot’o settled again in Kalofer. Hristo continued his studies under the guidance of his father.
In June 1863 Hristo Botev graduated from the Kalofer three-class school, and in October of the same year he left to continue his education in Russia. On November 14 he arrived in Odessa and enrolled as a private student at the Second Odessa High School.
There he became closely acquainted with the achievements of Russian cultural thought – Pushkin, Lermontov, Nekrasov, Shevchenko. At the same time, he was fascinated by the revolutionary treatises of Chernyshevsky, Dobrolyubov, and Pisarev.
In September of 1865 Botyov was expelled from the gymnasium after he stopped attending classes.
The following year, however, he enrolled as a student at Odessa University, and in the period October-December 1866 he taught in the Bessarabian village of Zadunayevka.
In January 1867 he was back in Kalofer, replacing his sick father in the school. He preached rebellious ideas of resistance against the Chorbads and Ottoman rule. On 15 April this year. in the newspaper “Gaida” (published in Constantinople under the editorship of Petko Rachev Slaveykov) was published Botyo’s first poem “Maice si”.
On the occasion of the Feast of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius (11 May), he delivered an impassioned speech in the town square, in which he openly called for a struggle against power. Worried by his son’s free speech and rebellious nature, Daskal Bot’o urges Hristo to leave the town. Botev leaves Kalofer forever. In October he arrived in Romania and settled in Bucharest, where in November he sent a letter to the “Virtuous Company” asking for material support – he wanted to continue his education in Russia. In December, he moved to Braila, where he worked as a word processor for the printer Dimitar Panitchkov. They publish the newspaper “Danube Dawn”.
In February 1868 Botev published in the same newspaper the poem “To his brother”. He prepared a small book “First Poetic Experiments – Prose and Poems” for printing, but it was never published due to lack of funds. He befriended Hadji Dimitar and Stefan Karadja and enlisted as a Chetnik with Zhelyu Voyvoda, but the transfer south of the Danube was thwarted, again due to lack of finances. In August 1868, Botev participated in Dobri Voynikov’s acting troupe in Bucharest.
In October of the same year, Botev wrote a letter to Naiden Gerov Hadjiberovich, in which he painfully shared “…The hope I had to finish my education in a university was shattered like a stone underwater. I have fallen into such poverty that, besides being left naked and barefoot, I need even my daily necessities.“.
From December 1868 to January 1869, Hristo Botev lived with Vasil Levski in a deserted mill near Bucharest. In March, 1869, he became a teacher in Alexandria, and in August, 1869, he went to Ishmael. He collaborated with the revolutionary satirical newspaper “Tupan”.
From 1870 Botev began active revolutionary activity, helping to bring revolutionary literature from Russia. On 8 August he published the poem “Elegy” in the newspaper “Svoboda”. On 23 August, again in the same newspaper, appeared the poem “Partition”, dedicated to Lyuben Karavelov.
In March 1871 he arrived in Galatz, from where he sent a telegram of greetings to the rebels of the Paris Commune. Enchanted by the audacity of the people of the Paris streets, Botev writes inspired “Symbol-Credo of the Bulgarian Commune” (22 April).
On June 10, the “Duma of the Bulgarian Emigrants” was published, but after the fifth issue the newspaper stopped. Botev falls seriously ill. On 29 September he published the article “The Reasons for the Failure of the Bulgarian Literary Society”, and in October he participated in the annual meeting of the Bulgarian Literary Society, the future Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
In 1872 he lived in Braila and Galatz, where he moved among Russian émigré revolutionaries. On 8 April he published the poem “Stranger” in the newspaper “Svoboda”. In April of the same month he was arrested for conspiratorial revolutionary activity, and sent to Fokshan prison. Botev was released after the intercession of Levski and Karavelov. He settled in Bucharest, worked for Karavelov as a printer, later as a collaborator and co-editor of the revolutionary organ.
In 1873, Botev wrote the satirical column of the newspaper “Svoboda” and published his translation “Lessons on the first four arithmetic rules and on bookkeeping”. On 1 May, his own satirical newspaper “Budilnik” began to be published, but after three issues the newspaper stopped due to lack of funds. On August 11, 1873. On August 18, 1873, Botev published his poem “Hadji Dimitar” in the newspaper “Nezavisimost”, and in the period September-November he published “In the Tavern”, “My Prayer” and “A Dark Cloud Set”.
On 20-21 August 1874 he participated in the general assembly of the BRCC, and on 8 December, under the editorship of Hristo Botev, the newspaper “Zname” began to be published – the new organ of the revolutionary party in place of the defunct “Nezavisimost”.
In the spring of 1875 a rift occurred between the pillars of the national revolutionary struggle, Botyov and Karavelov. During this time Botev printed in the newspaper “Zname” the feuilleton “Political Winter”, published the translations “On the Slavic Origin of the Danube Bulgarians”, a study by D. Ilovaisky, and “Cremucius Cordes”, a drama by N. Kostomarov. In July 1875 he contracted a civil marriage with Veneta St. Vezireva. The General Assembly of the BRCC in Bucharest elected on 12 August a new governing body, which included Botev and proclaimed a course towards a general uprising in the lands of the Bulgarians.
In the same month Botev went to Odessa to invite the veteran of the Chetnik movement Philip Totyu to be the leader of the rebel units. On 14 September the last issue of the newspaper “Zname” was published, and on 30 September Botev resigned from the BRCC due to disagreement with the other members of the committee. The poetry collection “Songs and Poems by Botev and Stambolova” is published. Botev published “Wall Calendar for 1876” with his last poem “The Hanging of Vasil Levski”.
In February 1876 he wrote a letter to Todor Peev: “AI will make my hands into hammers, my skin into a drum, and my head into a bomb. going out to fight the elements“ . On 13 April his daughter Ivanka was born. On 20 April he went to Russia to raise funds for the organization of his detachment, returned and published issue 1 of the newspaper “New Bulgaria” with reports about the April Uprising.
On May 13, 1876, Hristo Botev said goodbye to his family and without revealing where he was going, secretly headed to Giurgiu. On 16 May he boarded the Austrian steamer Radetzky with his troops. The next day he wrote his last lines to his friends and his wife Veneta – “My joy knows no bounds when I learn that “my prayer” is coming true” (the letter to the BRCC), “Know that after my country I have loved you most” (to Venet). Subsequently he forced the captain of the Radetzky to stop the ship at Kozloduy and 250 brave Bulgarians kissed the native land.
On May 18, 1876, in the locality of Milin Kamak was the first battle of the Chetta with the Ottoman troops. A day later, the rebel detachment moved to Veslets, preparing for a decisive battle, while the voivode made an unsuccessful attempt to contact the Vratsa Revolutionary Committee.
20 May 1876 (1 June new style). The last heavy fight. At dusk the fighting subsides, the voivode rises to inspect the positions and then a shot pierces him in the chest. Under the Kamarata peak, between the harsh slopes of the Vrachan Balkan, ends the earthly path of the great Bulgarian and lays the beginning of his immortality.
Football Club Botev Plovdiv expresses its gratitude to Boyan Botev, Chairman of the Hristo Botev Community Foundation, with whose kind assistance the article about the patron of our club – the immortal Hristo Botev was prepared.