Ukraine Cossacks at Olympia Horse Show
The earliest document records of the Cossacks dates back to 1490 when they fought in campaigns against the Turks and successfully conquered the Turkish fortress of Ochakov.
During the years 1534-49, the renowned Prince Dmitri Veshnevetskiy built a fortress on the island of Khortitsa where he placed a Cossack garrison that initiated the famous Zaporizhzhia Sitch. This eventually became known the world over as the Cossack Repudlic.
During the Thirty Years War, the French cavalry was commanded by Grigoriy Orlik,the son of Pylyp Orlik, author of the First Constitution of Ukraine. He was bestowed the title of Marshal by the King of France. In later years, the Mounted Cossacks participated at the Battle of Waterloo against Napoleon, under the command of the Duke of Wellington.
Ukrainian Cossacks have always been instantly recognisable by their distinctive dress: wide comfortable trousers, tied at the waist by long, wide belts call `kuntush`, which not only protect the torso but also indicate rank. Cossacks usually wear white embroidered shirts but in battle were often naked above the belt. The traditional hair style of a Cossack warrior is a shaved head with a pony tail which dates back to the times of the ancient Kiev-Rus
The Ukraine re-gained its independence in 1991. It has grown substantially and nowadays branches of Ukrainian Cossacks stretch throughout Ukraine and can be found in many other countries throughout the world. In 1990, a mounted display team called the `Ukrainian Cossacks` was formed to revive the traditions of horse drill and mounted exercises by young Cossacks.
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