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A Cossack host, or Cossack viysko (Ukrainian: Козаче військо; kozache viysko), sometimes incorrectly translated as Cossack army, was an administrative subdivision of Cossacks in Imperial Russia. The word host is an archaic word for army, and also can mean "a great number; multitude".
The Cossack host 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. Usually the hosts were named after the regions of their dislocation. The stanitsa, or village, formed the primary unit of this organization.
Cossack voiskos on Russian soil were disbanded in 1920, at the end of the Russian Civil War. Those Cossacks who settled abroad continued to preserve the traditions of their hosts (i.e. the Triunited Don-Kuban-Terek Cossack Union).
In the Russian Empire, the Cossacks constituted eleven separate hosts, settled along the frontiers: the Don, Kuban, Terek, Astrakhan, Ural, Orenburg, Siberian, Semiryeche, Transbaikal, Amur, and Ussuri.
Other Cossack hosts included the:
- Zaporozhian Host — the Zaporozhian Cossacks who lived in Zaporizhia, in Central Ukraine during the 16th — 18th centuries.
- Danube Cossack Host — an Imperial Russian Cossack Host formed from descendants of the Zaporozhian Cossacks.
- host. CollinsDictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 11th Edition. Retrieved December 05, 2012.
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