Definitions for cossacks

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Freebase

  1. Cossacks

    Cossacks, are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military and semi-naval in Southern Russia and in the Ukraine. They inhabited sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper, Don, Terek, Ural basins, and played an important role in the historical development of both Russia and Ukraine. Today self-identification "Cossack" is an important part of cultural heritage of people in modern Ukraine, Southern Russia, Volga, Ural, Siberian regions and the Russian Far East. Cossack societies exist throughout Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and worldwide. The origins of the first Cossacks are disputed, though the Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk claimed Khazar origin of Cossacks. ”The traditional post-imperial historiography dates the emergence of Cossacks to the 14th or to 15th centuries when two connected groups emerged, the Zaporozhian Sich of the Dnieper and the Don Cossack Host. The Zaporozhian Sich was initially a vassal of Poland-Lithuania. The increasing social and religious pressure from the Commonwealth caused them to proclaim an independent Cossack Hetmanate, initiated by a rebellion under Bohdan Khmelnytsky in the mid-17th century. Afterwards, the Treaty of Pereyaslav brought most of the Ukrainian Cossack state under Russian rule. But the Sich itself with its lands became an autonomous region, under the Russian-Polish protectorate. The Don Cossack Host, which had been established by the 16th century, allied itself with the Tsardom of Russia. Together they began a systematic conquest and colonisation of lands in order to secure the borders on the Volga, the whole of Siberia, the Yaik and the Terek Rivers, the two latter rivers having had their own Cossack communities as well before the arrival of Don Cossacks.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Cossacks

    a military people of mixed origin, chiefly Tartar and Slav, who fought on horseback, in their own interest as well as that of Russia, defending its interests in particular for centuries past in many a struggle, and forming an important division of the Russian army.

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