Cossacks

The Cossacks were a huge community of runaway serfs, free men and adventurers living on the frontier lands of the steppe, from the Ukraine eastwards to the River Don. They were proud of their independence, their Orthodox faith, and of the military help they could bring to the rulers of Muscovy - if they chose. But in the Ukraine, they also fell under the control of the Catholic Poles, and the story of their struggle with the Poles - and their hatred of the Jews who served them - in the seventeenth century is the main action of the 'Cossack' chapter of RUSSKA. (See also Karpenko). The subsequent revolt of the Cossack 'hetman' Mazeppa against Peter the Great occurs in 'Peter'.




 

 

 

Did You Know?
Potatoes were made illegal in France for 24 years ! The French became convinced that the South American vegetable could cause a whole host of diseases, including leprosy, so in 1748, the cultivation and consumption of potatoes was strictly outlawed. It wasn’t until an imprisoned medical army officer named Antoine Auguste Parmentier survived in his prison cell subsisting solely on a diet of potatoes that acceptance of the food began to shift. After being released from prison, Parmentier went on to write a thesis about its health benefits, helping to overturn the law and re-introduce the potato to the French public in 1772. Within 20 years, potatoes became one of the most popular, and indeed, important foods in France. Even the ornamental royal gardens in Tuileres Palace in Paris - originally filled with flowers and exotic plants - were converted into potato fields.




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