Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Yermak Timofeyevich (Russian: Ермaк Тимофеевич, also Ermak) (born between 1532 and 1542 — August 5 or 6, 1585), Cossack leader and explorer of Siberia. His exploration of Siberia marked the beginning of the expansion of Russia towards this region and its colonization. ("Timofeyevich" is his patronimic, not the last name, so in references it must be looked up at "Yermak" or "Yermak Timofeyevich".)
In 1558, the Stroganov merchant family received their first patent for colonizing "the abundant region along the Kama River", and in 1574 – lands over the Ural Mountains along rivers Tura and Tobol. They also received a permission to build forts along rivers Ob and Irtysh. Around 1577, the Stroganovs hired a Cossack leader Yermak for protecting their lands from the attacks of the Siberian khan Kuchum.
In 1579 or 1581 Yermak began his voyage into the depths of Siberia. After a few victories over the khan's army, Yermak's people defeated Kuchum's main forces after a 3-day battle (October 23-25, 1582) on the banks of Irtysh. The remains of the khan's army retreated to steppes. On October 26, Yermak captured the capital of the Siberian Khanate – Qashliq (17 km from the city of Tobolsk). Since Kuchum still had enough forces to resist, he suddenly attacked Yermak on August 6, 1585 in the dead of night and killed most of his people. Yermak was wounded and tried to swim across the Wagay River (Irtysh's tributary), but drowned under the weight of his own chainmail. The remains of Yermak's forces under the command of M. Mescheryak retreated from Qashliq.
Yermak's life and death have been subjects for numerous Russian songs, books, and paintings since the 16th century.
This article incorporates text from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia
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