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29 june '20

The flag of the Chervenovodska cheta

Petrana Obretenova, the daughter of grandmother Tonka, sewed the flag of the Chervenovodska cheta. The cheta was formed in 1875 in connection with the preparations for an all-Bulgarian uprising, done by the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee (BRCC) in Bucharest, with Hristo Botev at the head. We know how the flag looked like from the description of the flag, provided by Velko Abadzhiev, a revolutionary from the Chervenovodska cheta.

“…the flag made of satin. It is about two metres long and is edged with gold threads: On the one side a furious crowned lion, risen to its hind legs, an inscription “Freedom or Death” above it and 1875 under it; on the other side “Karan” (the committee name of the village) …”

The flag was preserved in the house of the Obretenovs. Nikola, the brother of Petrana, brought it with him on the steamship “Ratetzky” in order the flag to stand in the lead of the Botev’s cheta. Nikola Obretenov remembered the handing over the flag:

“…I took out the flag from my small square cloth and handed it to Botyova. He was delighted with it. The captain ordered the sailors to bring a rod from those ones, which were used for measuring water, and to fix the fabric to it through several nails. I handed the waved flag to Botyova. He sent for Nikola Kuruto, gave the flag to him and told him: ‘I am handing this flag to you, kiss it at once and keep it so that you to die with it – and the enemy not to be able to take it from your hands!’

The Battles of Milin Kamak, Kamarata and Yolkovitsa were fought with this flag. The voivode handed the flag to Dimitar Stefanov- Kazaka (Cossack) from Sliven after the death of Nikola Simov in the Battle of Milin Kamak. On May 20th in the passage of arms at the upland “Kamarata” the standard-bearer was next to Botev yet. The voivode ordered the flag to be unnailed from the handle and Kazaka (Cossack) to girdle his waist with it, when the battle had abated.

The flag had not been preserved. Its tracks had been lost after the Battle of the Rashov Gorge on May 21st. It is supposed that it had been buried in the ground in order not to be captured by the enemy.

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