Portrait of Petko Voyvoda
6 December 1844|
Doğanhisar, Ottoman Empire (present-day Aisymi, Greece)
|Died||7 February 1900
Varna, Principality of Bulgaria)
Petko Kiryakov Kaloyanov (Bulgarian: Петко Киряков Калоянов), better known as Captain Petko Voyvoda (Капитан Петко Войвода) (6 December 1844–7 February 1900) was a 19th-century Bulgarian hajduk leader and freedom fighter who dedicated his life to the liberation of Bulgaria (and, particularly, the region of Thrace).
Petko was born in the Bulgarian village of Dogan Hisar, today Aisymi (Evros regional unit, Greece). He married a Greek lady from Maronia in 1860. When a group of Turkish brigands assaulted his wife, he fought and killed them all, including the leader of bashibuzuks Mehmed Kesedji Bey.
Beginning from 1861 Petko began fighting against Ottomans in surrounding areas of Maroneia, Aisymi, Enos етс. He took part in an uprising on Crete in 1866–1869, visited Italy in 1866, meeting Giuseppe Garibaldi who became a close friend. Petko lived in Garibaldi's home for a few months. Garibaldi helped Petko organize the well-known "Garibaldi Battalion" in Cretan Revolt (1866–1869), consisting of 220 Italians and 67 Bulgarians, who heroically fought the Ottomans on Crete. Petko voivoda and the detachments in his command bravely defended the Hellenic cause. For his service, Petko was assigned to military rank of Kapitan (Captain).
Petko Voyvoda's detachment, established in 1869, took part in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. His unit liberated Maroneia from Turkish yoke in December 1877, established a Christian government there. He for 3 months fought against the Turks and saved the local population from Turkish molestation. After that he took part in the liberation of the Rhodopes together with Kraycho Voyvoda. Petko with his son and new wife Rada Kravkova from Kazanlak lived in Varna after 1880 and died in that city in 1900. Here Petko founded in 1896 revolutionary committee called Strandzha (organization).
His revolutionary work has been commemorated with numerous monuments all around Bulgaria, as well as in his native village in modern Greece and on the hill of Gianicolo in Rome, where a monument of Garibaldi also stands. The TV series Captain Petko Voivode written by Nikolay Haytov and first aired in 1981 also popularized him as a national hero. There are several Bulgarian patriotic songs dedicated to Petko and his comrades.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Petko Voyvoda.|
- Петко-воевода. Сборник (in Bulgarian). Варна. 1962.
- Дряновски, Борислав (1994). Капитан Петко войвода: Документи и материали по следствено дело N 13 от 1894 год (in Bulgarian). Варна: СД "М3-60". ISBN 978-954-799-404-1.
- Хайтов, Николай (1981). Капитан Петко войвода (in Bulgarian).