Yermak Timofeyevich

died Aug. 6, 1584/85, Siberia

Cossack leader.

In 1579 he was enlisted by the merchant Stroganov family to defend its possessions against attacks by Siberian tribesmen. He set out with an expeditionary force of 840 Cossacks and reached the central Tatar khanate of Sibir in 1582. With their firearms, Yermak and his army defeated the numerically superior forces of Khan Kuchum and occupied the capital, Sibir. Though later killed in a revolt of Kuchum's forces, Yermak was considered the conqueror of Siberia and became a hero of Russian folklore.

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▪ Russian folk hero
also spelled  Ermak Timofeevich 
died Aug. 6, 1584/85, Siberia

      Cossack leader of an expeditionary force during Russia's initial attempts to annex western Siberia. He became a hero of Russian folklore.

      In 1579 the merchant and factory-owning Stroganov (Stroganov Family) family enlisted the assistance of Yermak and a band of Cossacks to force Siberian tribesmen to cooperate with the Russians' plan to extract natural resources from Siberia. (The tsar had granted the family a charter to the land in 1558.) Yermak set out with an expeditionary force of 840 men on Sept. 1, 1581, and in the spring of 1582 reached the central regions of the Tatar khanate of Sibir, whose head, Kuchum, ruled over the local tribes. Because his men had firearms Yermak was able to defeat the numerically superior forces of Khan Kuchum and occupy the capital, Kashlyk (or Sibir), on the Irtysh River.

      Although the tsar sent Yermak another 500 men, resistance flared on all sides. In August 1584 (or 1585) Kuchum attacked and destroyed a small party of Cossacks led by Yermak, who, fighting his way to the boats, was drowned in the Irtysh, apparently by the weight of the coat of chain mail sent to him by the tsar.

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Universalium. 2010.