Black Sea Cossack Host

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Black Sea Cossack Host


a military force that was formed in 1787, on the initiative of G. A. Potemkin, in the southern Ukraine from former Zaporozh’e Cossacks. Called the Host of Faithful Cossacks, it was given official status by a ukase of January 1788.

The host, which fought under the atamans S. Belyi and Z. Chepega in the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–91, was renamed the Black Sea Cossack Host and granted lands between the Iuzhnyi Bug and the Dnestr rivers. In 1792 and 1793 the government moved to strengthen the Northern Caucasus by resettling the host in the Kuban’; there it comprised 40 kureni (units), with approximately 25,000 men, and maintained a headquarters in Ekaterinodar (now Krasnodar). The host occupied a defensive line along the right bank of the Kuban’ River from its mouth to the Laba River.

The Black Sea Cossack Host retained certain external features of the Zaporozh’e Sech’, such as formal voting for the members of the host’s government and the use of the term kuren’, which had been used to designate the Zaporozh’e units. In the first half of the 19th century the host’s ranks were swelled by approximately 70,000 settlers—former members of the Zaporozh’e Sech’ who had returned from Turkey and cossacks from various Ukrainian hosts that had been abolished, such as the Ust’-Dunai, Azov, Bug, and Ekaterinoslav hosts. By 1860 the host numbered approximately 200,000 men and included 12 cavalry regiments, nine infantry (crawler) battalions, four batteries, and two guard squadrons.

The Black Sea Cossack Host fought in the Caucasian War of 1817–64, and the crawlers took part in the defense of Sevastopol’ of 1854–55. In 1860 the host became part of the newly formed Kuban’ Cossack Host.


Golobutskii, V. A. Chernomorskoe kazachestvo. Kiev, 1956.
Shcherbina, F. A. Istoriia Kubanskogo kazach’ego voiska, vols. 1–2. Ekaterinodar, 1910–13.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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