Terek Cossack Host
Terek Cossack Host
a unit of cossacks in prerevolutionary Russia inhabiting Terek Oblast, in what is now the southern part of Stravropol’ Krai, the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR, the Severnaia Osetiia ASSR, the Chechen-Ingush ASSR, and the northern part of the Dagestan ASSR. The oblast center was Vladikavkaz (now Ordzhonikidze). The distant ancestors of the Terek Cossacks were the Grebni Cossacks, who settled near the Sunzha River in the late 15th and first half of the 16th centuries, and some former inhabitants of the Don region who joined the Grebni Cossacks in the 16th century.
The official date of the founding of the Terek Cossack Host is considered to be 1577, when the Grebni Cossacks successfully defended themselves from the Crimean Tatars in the Terek military settlement near the mouth of the Sunzha River. The Grebni Cossacks were resettled near the Terek River in 1712. In 1722 the Agrakhan’ Host, later called the Family Host, was organized on the Agrakhan’ and Sulak rivers from the resettled Don Cossacks. Three hosts, later called regiments, formed near the Terek River in 1735: the Grebni Host, consisting of descendants of the first emigrants from the Don, the Terek-Family Host, descendants of Don Cossacks, and the Kizliar Host, descendants of Don Cossacks, Armenians, and Georgians. In the 1770’s, Mozdok, Volga, and Mountaineer regiments were also organized for the defense of fortified frontier lines newly constructed in the Caucasus. These regiments consisted of cossacks, Russian and Ukrainian peasants, Tatars, and Caucasian mountaineers (gortsy). In 1806, Terek Oblast was created under the authority of the commander of the Caucasus Corps. In 1832 the six Terek regiments were united as the Caucasus Line Cossack Host, to which were also added the Sunzha Regiment (organized 1817) and the two Little Russian regiments (organized 1831; renamed Vladikavkaz regiments).
The Terek Cossack Host was formed in 1860 and contained four regiments: Volga, Mountaineer-Mozdok, Sunzha-Vladikavkaz, and Kizliar-Grebni. In 1905, Terek Oblast was divided into four cossack areas and six national okrugs and was placed under the jurisdiction of the head of the oblast, who was appointed hetmán. The Terek Cossack Host had 2.15 million hectares of land, including a public nadel (allotment) of stanitsy (large cossack villages) amounting to 413,000 hectares (11.9 hectares per cossack). The population of the oblast totaled 1.36 million (1916), including 225,000 cossacks.
During peacetime, in the early 20th century the host had four cavalry regiments, two batteries, two guards sotni (squadrons), and ten detachments, totaling more than 5,000 men. The Terek Cossacks fought in the Chigirin and Crimean campaigns of the 17th century, the Khiva Campaign of 1717, the Russo-Turkish Wars of the 18th and 19th centuries, and the Caucasian War of 1817–64. During World War I (1914–18) the host had 12 cavalry regiments, two plastuny (dismounted) battalions, two batteries, two guards sotni. five reserve sotni. and 15 detachments, totaling 18,000 men. During the Civil War of 1918–20, poor cossacks fought for Soviet power, while prosperous ones fought for the White Guards. In 1918 and early 1919 the Terek Soviet Republic existed on the territory of the Terek Cossack Host. In 1920 the host was abolished. In 1936 the Terek-Stavropol’ Cossack Division was formed within the Red Army; along with other units of Terek Cossacks, it fought in the Great Patriotic War (1941–15).
IU. A. STEFANOV