The Info List - Wild Fields

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  Map of the Wild Fields
Wild Fields
in the 17th century

The Wild Fields (Ukrainian: Дике Поле Dyke Pole, Russian: Дикое Поле, Dikoye Polye, Polish: Dzikie pola, Lithuanian: Dykra, Latin: Loca deserta, sive campi deserti inhabitati, also translated as "the Wilderness") is a historical term used in the Polish–Lithuanian documents of the 16th to 18th centuries[1] to refer to the Pontic steppe
Pontic steppe
of Ukraine, located north of the Black Sea and Azov Sea. The somewhat ambiguous location has been usually defined as lying between the Don River on the east, Kiev
on the north, and the left tributaries of the Dniester
on the west. Until the 17th and 18th centuries, the region was only sparsely populated with nomadic Nogais and consisted mostly of unpopulated steppes, so the name of "wilderness" came to be applied to it. The territory was ruled by the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
until the Battle of Blue Waters (1362), which allowed Algirdas
to claim it for the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. As a result of the Battle of the Vorskla River
Battle of the Vorskla River
in 1399, his successor Vytautas
lost the territory to Temur Qutlugh, the khan of the Golden Horde. In 1441 the western section of the Wild Fields, Yedisan, came to be dominated by the Crimean Khanate, a political entity controlled by the expanding Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
from the 16th century onward.

Alert of the Russian steppe border guards in the 16th century (a 19th-century illustration)

The Wild Field
Wild Field
was traversed by the Muravsky Trail
Muravsky Trail
and Izyumsky Trail, important warpaths used by the Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars
to invade and pillage the Grand Duchy of Moscow. The Crimean-Nogai Raids, a long period of raids and fighting between Crimean Tatars, Nogai Horde, Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Grand Duchy of Moscow, brought considerable devastation and depopulation to this area prior to the rise of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, who periodically sailed down the Dnieper
in dugouts from their base at Khortytsia
and raided the coast of the Black Sea. The Turks built several fortress towns to defend the littoral, including Kara Kerman (Ochakiv) and Khadjibey
(Odessa). By the 17th century, the eastern part of the Wild Fields
Wild Fields
had been settled by runaway peasants and serfs who made up the core of the Cossackdom.[2] It was during the Khmelnytsky Uprising
Khmelnytsky Uprising
that the northern part of this area was settled by the Cossacks from the Dnieper
basin and came to be known as Sloboda Ukraine. After a series of Russo-Turkish wars waged by Catherine the Great, the area formerly controlled by the Ottomans and the Crimeans was incorporated into the Russian Empire. In the 20th century, the region was divided between Ukraine, Moldova, and Russia.


^ Camporum Desertorum vulgo Ukraina by Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan, Cum Privilegio S.R.M. Poloniae. Gedani 1648; Campi Deserti citra Boristhenem, abo Dzike Polie Polish–Lithuanian, by Ian Jansson, c. 1663, Amsterdam ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=80lLuG3KRGIC&pg=PA127

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