Kole Rašić

Nikola Rašić (Serbian Cyrillic: Никола Рашић; ca. 1839 – August 6, 1898), known as Kole Rašić (Коле Рашић)[1] was a Serb revolutionary and guerilla fighter, who led a cheta of 300 men between Niš and Leskovac in Ottoman areas during the Serbian-Turkish Wars (1876–1878). He later became a politician in liberated Niš. He was a merchant by profession, who on his trip to Russia met with Miloš Obrenović and decided to stay in Niš to prepare a future liberation with the help of the Serbian Army. Rašić was one of the founders and organizers of the Niš Committee, established in 1874, with the goal of liberating the Niš Sanjak. His unit joined general Mikhail Chernyayev in 1876.

Kole Rašić
Portrait of Kole Rašić with medals.jpg
Kole Rašic with his awards for achievements
Birth nameNikola Rašić
Bornca. 1839
Niš, Ottoman Empire
DiedAugust 6, 1898
Niš, Principality of Serbia
Old cemetery in Niš
AllegiancePrincipality of Serbia
Years of service1876–1878
Battles/warsSerbian-Turkish Wars (1876–1878)
AwardsTakovo Cross
Spouse(s)Jelena, a Greek woman from Plovdiv



Rašić was born in Niş (Niš), part of the Sanjak of Niš, Ottoman Empire (modern Serbia), in ca. 1839.[2] He is said to have been lively by nature and combative. A merchant by profession, he had good connections in the Principality of Serbia and Niš Eyalet. In 1858 he entered Serbia, with the intent to go to Russia, however, the dynastical change made him change his mind.[3] While at Negotin, he heard that Miloš Obrenović would arrive, so he waited for him, and then the two spoke. Rašić, as a respectable Niš citizen, was now sent secretly by the Obrenović government to instigate revolt in the Niš area and beyond against the Ottomans. The planned operation was not implemented in 1860.[4] It proved a long process, and Kole Rašić sought, from then on, the liberation of Niš and then the other regions under Ottoman rule.

Revolutionary organizationEdit

Niš Committee swearing Oath. Kole Rašić is seen kneeling before the priest.

On February 24, 1874, the "Serbian Liberation Committee for the Sanjak of Niš", known simply as the Niš Committee, was founded and organized by Kole Rašić, Todor Milovanović, Dimitrije Đorđević, Milan Novičić, Tasko Tasa Uzunović, Đorđe Pop Manić, Mihajlo Božidarac, and Todor Stanković.[5] They gathered at Božidarac's house, and Orthodox priest Petar Ikonomović swore Oath on the Christian cross and Gospel, reminiscent of the Orašac Assembly (1804).[5] The Niš Committee's plan was a systematic action, through local uprisings weaken the Ottomans, and with gradual arming of the people help liberate the region. Rašić was declared vojvoda. In the Ottomans' eyes, Rašić posed no threat, as he seemed to like drinking and women. However, when the Ottomans thought he was active in the han, he was around in the villages and spoke to the people about the definite liberation that they had waited for centuries. Vojvoda Kole had been sent throughout Dobrič (Donji Milanovac), Toplica and Zaplanje (where Stanko Čavdar and Srndak had revolted, before him). In 1875, the Herzegovina Uprising broke out, giving hope to the people of the Sanjak of Niš. The Ottomans saw through Rašić's real activity, and on June 25, 1875, Kole Rašić and other notable exposed Niš people crossed the border and escaped death, while further action was continued in Niš by other conspirators far less prominent.

By 1876 his unit (cheta) consisted of 300 fighters, and he joined general Mikhail Chernyayev in the battles for the liberation of Niš and the other regions.[6] He had summoned the unit with the help of Miloš Milojević and the neighbouring villages which were still under Ottoman rule. His unit was active between Niš and Leskovac during the Serbo-Turkish War (1876–78).

Serbo-Turkish War (1876–78)Edit

Photograph dated 1876.

The unit's task was to clear the way for the Serbian Army's further penetration into the south. In the First Serbo-Turkish War, Kole Rašić, alongside Todor Stanković, and other notable leaders of the Niš Committee, as well as other people like Miloš Milojević and Vladimir-Vlajko Stojanović and others, helped the Serbian Army.[7]

On December 9, 1877, a combined unit of Serbian soldiers and volunteers liberated the villages of Kočane, Pukovac and the bridge on Morava near Čečina, which had great strategical importance, as thus Niš was cut towards the south.[8] Leskovac entered relations with Kole, after which it was decided that his unit enter the town.[9] His unit and the army vanguard were the first to enter Leskovac, on December 11, 1877,[9] where he held a speech to the liberated people. By order of the High Command he continued to organize an uprising in the direction Vlasotince-Rudare-Turekovac.[9] Kole, who had headed off with his volunteers from liberated Leskovac, were greeted by the Vlasotince rebels who had disarmed 170 Ottomans.[9] After the liberation of these towns, Kole continued his work in helping the guerilla warfare in Old Serbia.

On December 31, 1877, the town officials of Leskovac sent a delegation which included Kole Rašić, five from Leskovac and one from Vlasotince, to greet Prince Milan I when he entered Niš for the first time.[10] During the fight for the liberation of Niš, alongside the Royal Army, some 6,000 volunteers and rebels from the liberated Ottoman areas participated. The 6,000 men were led by Kole Rašić.[11]

After the war, for his work, he was titled vojvoda. After the war, the Serbian military government sent armament and aid to rebels in Kosovo and Macedonia.[12] Christian rebel bands were formed all over the region.[12] Many of those bands, privately organized and aided by the government, were established in Serbia and crossed into Ottoman territory.[12] In that way, Micko Krstić formed a rebel band in 1879 in Niš, with the help of Rašić and the military government in Vranje.[12]

Political workEdit

After the war, he enter the political life of liberated Niš. As the representative of the Liberal Party, he won the first elections for the National Assembly of the town of Niš and became the state representative of Niš.[13] He won again on the third assembly election (September 7, 1883), however after the annulment of the election results, Progressive Party representative Jovan Mitić won instead.[14]

He was awarded the highest grade of the Takovo Cross — knight (vitez).[11] Kole Rašić was buried at the Old cemetery in Niš.[15]


The present Palace of Law in Niš was built in 1909/10 as the court of the county (srez), on the place of the house of Kole Rašić.[16] Vojvoda Živojin Mišić viewed him as a famed hero.[17] Today, a primary school in Niš and two streets, in Niš and Leskovac, are named after him. He is present on the Monument to the Liberators of Niš with priest Ikonomović swearing oath.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^

    У Нишу у дал»ој околини поштују као таквог човека устаоца Николу Рашића, познатог иначе под именом Коле Рашић. — Коле данас живи у Нишу, од народа поштован и уважен. Наравно, у времена данашња, кад се разликује ...

  2. ^ Stojanović-Boke 1941

    НИКОЛА КОЛЕ РАШИЋ нишки војвода Коле Рашић рођен је око 1839 године. Од своје ране младости показивао је свој револуционарни дух. У Нишу он крадом отвара школе и доноси књиге — букваре из слободног дела Србије. Од своје куће на- правио је читав магацин оружја. Он је страх и трепет за Турке. Искрен и храбар, он је једновремено и врло пожртвован за српске националне ствари. Оже- жен је Гркињом из Пловдива и од тада добија верног друга за сарадника на свима националним похьима.

  3. ^ Milić 1983 p. 293

    Нишлија Никола-Коле Рашић. Он је 1858. прешао у Србију са намером да иде у Русију, али га је династичка промена омела у тОј његовој на- мери. Затим, почетком 1859. он је, као угледни нишки грађанин, послао тајно у Србију двадесет утицајнијих људи из Ниша и околине да у месту Бован ...

  4. ^ Stojković-Stojičić-Rakić 1992 p. 112
  5. ^ a b Milić 1983, p. 298
  6. ^ Sevdelin Andrejević (1970). Ekonomski razvoj Niša od 1830. do 1946. godine. Narodne novine.

    Ни- кола-Коле Рашић, који је, поред осталог, 1874. тодине организовао заверу против Турака, а 1876. године окупио око 300 бораца и при- дружио се као четовоћа војсци генерала Черњајева у борби за осло- боћење Ниша,

  7. ^ Мица Ђенић. "Изборни плакати у периоду од 1878. до 1941. године". Историјски архив – Ниш. Archived from the original on 2012-07-20. Retrieved 2014-03-09. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Milić 1983, p. 303
  9. ^ a b c d Stojković-Stojičić-Rakić 1992 pp. 117-120
  10. ^ Stojković-Stojičić-Rakić 1992 p. 126
  11. ^ a b Milić 1983, p. 304
  12. ^ a b c d Hadži-Vasiljević 1928, p. 8.
  13. ^ Narodni muzej, Niš. "Niš u prvom svetskom ratu".
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-09. Retrieved 2014-03-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ http://www.novosti.rs/vesti/srbija.73.html:257782-Istorija-Nisa-na-izvolte-satanistima
  16. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20140309174407/http://www.niskigrafit.rs/index.php/en/stari_nis-vremeplov.php. Archived from the original on March 9, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ Живојин Мишић, Моје успомене, Београдски издавачко-графички завод, треће издање, Београд 1981, стр. 158
  18. ^ http://www.ubnt.ni.ac.rs/images/stories/materijal/digitalna%20biblioteka/pdf/razno/DGB_00190_Spomenik_oslobodiocima_Nisa_1937.pdf[permanent dead link]