Zaporozhian Cossacks

The Zaporozhian Cossacks, or simply Zaporozhians (Ukrainian: Запорожці Zaporozhtsi, Polish: Kozacy zaporoscy) were Ukrainian Cossacks who lived beyond the rapids of the Dnieper river, the land also known as the Wild Fields in Central Ukraine. Today most of its territory is flooded by the waters of Kakhovka Reservoir.

The Zaporizhian Sich grew rapidly in the 15th century from serfs fleeing the more controlled parts of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth establishing itself as a well-respected political entity with a parliamentary system of government. During the course of the 16th, 17th and well into the 18th centuries the Zaporozhian Cossacks became a strong political and military force that challenged the authority of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Tsardom of Russia, the Ottoman Empire, and its vassal the Crimean Khanate. The Host went through a series of conflicts and alliances involving the three powers before falling into the Russian sphere of influence and eventually being forcibly disbanded in the late 18th century by the Russian Empire, with most of the population relocated to the Kuban region in the South edge of the Russian Empire, where the Cossacks served a valuable role of defending the Empire against the fierce Caucasian tribes and in return had a great degree of freedom granted by the Tsars.

The name Zaporozhtsi comes from the location of their fortress, the Sich, in Zaporozhzhia, the ‘land beyond the rapids’ (from za ‘beyond’ and poróhy ‘river rapids’).

Read more about Zaporozhian CossacksOrigins, Within Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Organization, Alliance With Russia, Annexation By The Russian Empire, The End of The Zaporozhian Host (1775), Aftermath, Legacy

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