Historical Overview

The cossacks who lived on the steppes of Ukraine increased greatly between the 15th and 17th centuries, usually led by Ruthenian boyar or prince nobility, various Polish starostas, merchants, and runaway peasants from the area of the Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth. The Zaporozhian Cossacks played an important role in European geopolitics, participating in a series of conflicts and alliances with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the early Russians, and the Early Ottoman Turkish and Later Ottoman Turkish Empire.

Around the end of the 16th century, relations between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Early Ottoman Turkish Empire, which were not cordial to begin with, were further strained by increasing Cossack aggression. From the second part of the 16th century, Cossacks started raiding Early Ottoman Turkish territories. The Polish government could not control the fiercely independent Cossacks, but since they were nominally subjects of the Commonwealth, it was held responsible for the raids by their victims. Reciprocally, the Tatars living under Ottoman rule launched raids into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, mostly in the sparsely inhabited southeast territories. By 1615 and 1625, Cossacks had even managed to raze townships on the outskirts of Constantinople, forcing the Early Ottoman Turkish Sultan to flee his palace.Consecutive treaties between the Ottoman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth called for both parties to keep the Cossacks and Tatars in check, but enforcement was almost non-existent on both sides.

The waning loyalty of the Cossacks and the szlachta's arrogance towards them resulted in several Cossack uprisings against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the early 17th century. Finally, the King's adamant refusal to cede to the Cossacks' demand to expand the Cossack Registry was the last straw that prompted the largest and most successful of these: the Khmelnytsky uprising that started in 1648. The uprising became one of a series of catastrophic events for the Commonwealth known as The Deluge, which greatly weakened the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and set the stage for its disintegration 100 years later.

The rebellion ended with the 1654 Treaty of Pereyaslav in which Cossacks pledged their loyalty to the Early Russian Tsar with the latter guaranteeing Cossacks his protection, recognition of Cossack starshyna (nobility) and their autonomy under his rule, freeing the Cossacks from the Polish sphere of influence

After being asked in 1539 by the Ottoman Sultan to restrain the Cossacks, the Grand Duke Vasili III of Russia replied: "The Cossacks do not swear allegiance to me, and they live as they themselves please." In 1549, Tsar Ivan the Terrible replied to a request of the Turkish Sultan to stop the attacks of the Don Cossacks, stating, "The Cossacks of the Don are not my subjects, and they go to war or live in peace without my knowledge."


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500 AP army for 25mm, 3 TCs
  • Cossack horsemen LH Unarmoured Average Bow Light Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • Cossack horsemen LH Unarmoured Average Carbine Light Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • Cossack infantry mounted on horses Dr Unarmoured Average Musket - - - 4
  • Cossack horsemen LH Unarmoured Average Bow Light Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • Cossack infantry MF Unarmoured Average Musket - - - 6
  • Cossack infantry MF Unarmoured Average Musket - - - 6
  • Cossack infantry MF Unarmoured Average Musket - - - 6
  • Hetmens' retainers Cv Armoured Superior - Light Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • Hetmens' retainers Cv Unarmoured Superior Bow - Swordsmen - 4



Created by admin. Last Modification: Monday March 12, 2012 22:54:58 GMT by admin. (Version 4)

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