Lead: In the late sixteenth century, the Cossacks, fierce warriors in service to the Czar of Russia, moved from their traditional homes in the Ukraine and began the occupation and conquest of Siberia.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Cossacks settled in southern Russia and the Ukraine beginning in the late 15th century. Cossacks, fierce fighters and skilled horsemen, were nomads, escaped serfs and outlaws many of whom were of Slavic origin. The Cossacks lived in independent settlements and were given virtual autonomy in exchange for protecting the Russian frontier. The largest group of Cossacks, those living on the lower Don River, known as the Don Cossacks, in 1581, under the leadership of Yermak Timofeyevich, crossed the Ural Mountains and wrested control of the small Tartar khanate, “Sibir” – hence the name Siberia, which means “sleeping land.”