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a type of infantry in the 16th and 17th centuries. They were armed with muskets and wore a bandoleer with 12 powder-charge containers. A bag with bullets and a match-cord were also attached to the bandoleer.
There were musketeers in all the European armies; in the early 17th century they accounted for half, and later for two-thirds, of the entire strength of the infantry (the rest were pikemen). In France from 1622 to 1775 part of the guards cavalry, composed exclusively of noblemen, was called the royal musketeers. In the late 17th century muskets were replaced by flintlock rifles, but the name “musketeers” was retained for part of the infantry in the 18th and early 19th centuries in the Prussian and certain other armies. In Russia some infantry regiments were called musketeer regiments from 1756 to 1762 and from 1796 to 1811.