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In the 15th century Cossack society was described as a loose federation of independent communities, often forming local armies, entirely independent from the neighboring states (of, for example, Poland, the Grand Duchy of Moscow or the Khanate of Crimea).
Hrushevsky states that Cossacks could have descended from the long forgotten Antes, or groups from the Berlad territory in present-day Romania, then a part of the Grand Duchy of Halych, Brodniki.
Some historians suggest that the Cossack people were of mixed ethnic origins, descending from Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Turks, Tatars, and others who settled or passed through the vast Steppe.
In the midst of the growing Moscow and Lithuanian powers, new political entities had appeared in the region, such as Moldavia and the Crimean Khanate.
The Zaporozhian Cossacks lived on the Pontic-Caspian steppe below the Dnieper Rapids (Ukrainian: za porohamy), also known as the Wild Fields.
They became a well-known group whose numbers increased greatly between the 15th and 17th centuries.
Not everything over there is fully functional yet, and the internal links still point to this blog, and will for the indefinite future.
By 1492 the Crimean Khan complained that Kanev and Cherkasy Cossacks attacked his ship near Tighina (Bender), and the Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander I promised to find the guilty among the Cossacks.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Tsarist regime used Cossacks extensively to perform police service.
They also served as border guards on national and internal ethnic borders (as was the case in the Caucasus War).
In 1261 some Slavic people living in the area between the Dniester and the Volga were mentioned in Ruthenian chronicles.
Historical records of the Cossacks before the 16th century are scant, as is the history of the Ukrainian lands in that period for various reasons.