a historical region in Russia in the 17th and 18th centuries, occupying what is now Kharkov Oblast and parts of Donetsk, Voroshilovgrad, Sumy, Voronezh, Belgorod, and Kursk oblasts.
As early as the second half of the 16th century, Ukrainian cossacks and peasants who had fled the yoke of the Polish magnates in the Ukrainian lands within the Rzeczpospolita (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) moved into the Slobodskaia Ukraine. They settled in slobody—hence the name “Slobodskaia Ukraine”; the cossack population of the region came to be known as Slobodskie cossacks. The Slobodskaia Ukraine was settled from the north by Russian sluzhilye liudi (military servitors) and fugitive peasants. In 1765, Slobodsko-Ukraine Province was formed in the region; in 1835 it was renamed Kharkov Province.