Kizlyar Cossacks

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Origin and History

The earliest known records of Slavic settlements on the Lower Terek River date to 1520 when the Ryazan Principality was annexed by the Grand Duchy of Moscow and a lone group left and settled on the Terek River, at the mouth of the Aktash River. They rapidly expanded their settlements on both banks of the Terek River. These refugees from the Ryazan Principality formed the oldest Cossack group, the Mountain Cossacks.

From 1559 to 1571, the Russians built several fortifications in the region. In 1577, after the Volga Cossacks were defeated by the Strelets Ivan Murashkin, many scattered, some of whom settled in the Terek basin, marking the start of the Terek Cossacks.

Imperial Russia created several administrative subdivisions of Cossacks called Kozache Viysko (Cossack Host). These Hosts consisted of a certain territory with Cossack settlements that had to provide military regiments for service in the Imperial Russian Army and for border patrol. The stanitsa (village) formed the primary unit of this organization.

The Terek Cossack Host was created in 1577 from free Cossacks who had resettled from the Volga to the Terek River, a major river in the Northern Caucasus, flowing through Georgia and Russia into the Caspian Sea. Many of the early members of the Terek Cossacks were Ossetians.

In 1580, some Don Cossacks led by Shadra joined the Terek Cossack Host, settling in the frontier town of Tersky.

In the late XVIth century, the Terek Cossacks made several campaigns against the Ottoman Empire.

By the mid XVIIth century the Terek Cossacks again expanded into the Sunzha where they built a new outpost in 1651. However, in 1653, the tsar advised the Cossacks to pull down this outpost. In the 1670s the Terek Cossacks helped to defeat Stenka Razin in Astrakhan.

From 1695 to 1707, the Turks gradually destroyed the outposts of the Terek Cossacks on the right bank of the Terek.

In 1720, the Terek Cossacks were fully incorporated into the Russian Empire.

During the Russo-Persian War (1722-1723), the Terek Cossack Host took part in the conquest of Eastern Dagestan and in the capture of Derbent.

In 1735, the Agrakhan Cossack Host were incorporated into the Terek Cossack Host and re-settled on the Lower Terek Delta. The host was reorganised in 3 parts:

  1. Grebenskoye Cossacks (Rowers), from the descendants of the earliest Cossacks
  2. Tersko-Semeynoye (Terek-Family) from the re-settled Agrakhan Cossacks up to Kizlyar
  3. Tersko-Kizlyarskoye (Terek-Kizlyar) from the Agrakhan Cossacks as well as Armenians and Georgians

During the Russo-Turkish War (1735–1739), the Terek Cossacks, led by Atamans Auka and Petrov took part in a campaign against Temryuk at the mouth of the Kuban River.

The Terek Cossacks were eventually incorporated in the Kizlyar Cossacks.

According to Maslovskiy, in 1755 the Kizlyar Cossacks counted 498 men including the following commands:

  • Terek Cossacks (178 men)
  • Terek-family Cossacks (452 men)
  • Kizlyar squadron of Armenians and Georgians (112 men)

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • no information found

Service during the War

In 1756, these Cossacks were stationed in their initial places along the Terek River. They did not participate in any campaign of the Seven Years' War.


Illustrations of Cossacks
The Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection at Brown University make available a large number of illustrations depicting Cossacks. Even though they are mostly of the 1812-1815 period, they give a fairly good idea of the way Cossacks dressed during this era.

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, these Cossacks did not wear uniforms. The following description is very conjectural and based on the clothing of other Cossack units.

Caftans and waistcoats were often made of blue cloth. Their hair was cut in roundel. They wore a high bonnet of sheepskin. Coats of rank and file were girdled with an ordinary sabre strap or a belt of coarse fabric material. Leaders wore silken belt from Persia or Poland over the sabre belt. Sabre was worn over the waistcoat. Some cossacks, especially the rank and file had only a mustache, beard was less common. They wore woollen trousers, half boots of black Morocco leather or simple leather. The Cossacks trousers were similar to the Turkish ones, but much tighter.

Troopers were usually armed with a lance, a sabre and a pistol. They could also carry a knife and a musket.


no information found


These regiments had probably no official standard even though they may had some unofficial ones.


Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 4 Groß-Jägersdorf und Breslau, Berlin, 1902, p. 21 and appendix 1

Konstam A. & B. Younghusband : Russian Army of the Seven Years War, Osprey, London, 1996

Maslovskiy, Dmitrij Fedorovich: Russkaia armija w siemieletnjuju wojnu, Vol. 1

Seaton, Albert: The Cossacks, Oxford: Osprey, 1972

Summerfield, Stephen: Cossack Hurrah!, Leigh-on-Sea: Partizan Press, 2005

Wikipedia - Terek Cossacks


Roman Shlygin for additional information on the Kizlyar Cossacks