1894 Sasun rebellion

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First Sasun Resistance
Date 1894
Location Sason, Bitlis Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Result Suppression of the Armenian resistance, followed by wholesale massacres of Armenian civilian population

Armenia Armenian rebels

 Ottoman Empire

Commanders and leaders
Mihran Damadian
Hampartsoum Boyadjian
Hrayr Dzhoghk

The Sassoun resistance of 1894, also known as First Sassoun resistance (Armenian: Սասնո առաջին ապստամբութիւն), was the conflict between Ottoman Empire's forces and the Armenian militia belonging to the Armenian national movement's Hunchak party in the Sassoun region.


The Social Democrat Hunchakian Party and Armenian Revolutionary Federation were two Armenian organizations of Armenian national movement active in the region. In 1894, Sultan Abdul Hamid II began to target the Armenian people in a precursor of the Hamidian massacres. This persecution strengthened nationalistic sentiment among Armenians.

In Sassoun Armenian nationalist ideas were proliferated by Hunchak activists, such as Mihran Damadian, Hampartsoum Boyadjian and Hrayr Dzhoghk.


Medzn Mourad

The first notable battle in the Armenian resistance movement took place. The Armenians of Sassoun confronted the Ottoman army and Kurdish irregulars at Sassoun, succumbing to superior numbers.[1] The Armenian Revolutionary Federation also played a significant role in arming the people of the region.

Foreign news agents protested vehemently against the Sassoun event; British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone called Hamid "the Great Criminal" or "the Red Sultan". The rest of the Great Powers also protested and demanded the execution of Hamid's promised reforms. An investigation committee composed of French, British, and Russian representatives were sent to the region in order to examine the event.[1]


In May 1895, the aforementioned foreign powers prepared a set of reforms. However, they never carried out, because they weren't actively imposed on Ottoman Turkey. In those days, the Russian Empire's policies vis-a-vis the Armenian question had changed. In fact, the Russian foreign minister Alexei Lobanov-Rostovsky supported Ottoman integrity. Moreover he was so anti-Armenian that he wanted an "Armenia without Armenians". On the other hand, Britain had gained considerable influence and power in former Ottoman Egypt and Cyprus, and for Gladstone, good relations with the Ottomans weren't as important as they formerly were. Meanwhile, Turkey found a new European ally, Germany's Bismarck. The Ottoman Empire thus didn't feel threatened to commit further massacres in 1896.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Kurdoghlian, Mihran (1996). Hayots Badmoutioun, Volume III (in Armenian). Athens, Greece: Hradaragoutioun Azkayin Ousoumnagan Khorhourti. pp. 42–44. 

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