First revolts under the Ottoman rule

Nevertheless, while the Ottomans were ascendant, there was certain overt opposition to their rule. First revolt began over 1408 when two Bulgarian nobles, Konstantin and Fruzhin, liberated some regions for several years. Then there were rebellions in 1598 and 1686 around the old capital Tarnovo followed by the Chiprovtsi uprising in 1688 and insurrection in Macedonia led by Karposh in 1689, both provoked by the Austrians as part of their long war with the Ottomans. All of the uprisings were unsuccessful and were drowned in blood. Most of them resulted in massive waves of exiles, often numbering hundreds of thousands. In 1739 the Treaty of Belgrade between Austrian Empire and the Ottoman Empire ended Austrian interest in the Balkans for a century.

But by the 18th century the rising power of Russia was making itself felt in the area. The Russians, as fellow Orthodox Slavs, could appeal to the Bulgarians in a way that the Austrians could not. The Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji of 1774 gave Russia the right to interfere in Ottoman affairs to protect the Sultan's Christian subjects.

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