1894 Sasun rebellion

The Sasun rebellion of 1894, also known as the 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.

First Sasun Resistance
Location of the 1894 and 1904 Sasun uprisings.png
Location of the 1894 and 1904 Sasun uprisings

Ottoman victory

Suppression of the Armenian resistance, followed by wholesale massacres of Armenian civilian population
Social Democrat Hunchakian Party[1]

 Ottoman Empire

Commanders and leaders
Mihran Damadian
Hampartsoum Boyadjian
Hrayr Dzhoghk
8,000[1] 10,000[1]
Casualties and losses
20,000 rebel and civilians[1] 550[1]


The Social Democrat Hunchakian Party was an 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 organized by Hunchak activists, such as Mihran Damadian, Hampartsoum Boyadjian and Hrayr Dzhoghk.


Sassoun was the location for the first notable battle in the Armenian resistance movement. The Armenians of Sassoun confronted the Ottoman army and Kurdish irregulars at Sassoun, succumbing to superior numbers.[2]

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 Ottoman Sultan 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.[2]


In May 1895, the aforementioned foreign powers prepared a set of reforms. However, they were never carried out, because they were not actively imposed on Ottoman Turkey. 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 were less important than before. Meanwhile, Turkey had found a new European ally, Germany's Bismarck. The Ottoman Empire thus felt free to commit further massacres, in 1896.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d A Crime of Silence: The Armenian Genocide , p 133
  2. ^ a b c Kurdoghlian, Mihran (1996). Hayots Badmoutioun, Volume III (in Armenian). Athens, Greece: Hradaragoutioun Azkayin Ousoumnagan Khorhourti. pp. 42–44.