1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hussar
HUSSAR, originally the name of a soldier belonging to a corps of light horse raised by Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, in 1458, to fight against the Turks. The Magyar huszar, from which the word is derived, was formerly connected with the Magyar husz, twenty, and was explained by a supposed raising of the troops by the taking of each twentieth man. According to the New English Dictionary the word is an adaptation of the Italian corsaro, corsair, a robber, and is found in 15th-century documents coupled with praedones. The hussar was the typical Hungarian cavalry soldier, and, in the absence of good light cavalry in the regular armies of central and western Europe, the name and character of the hussars gradually spread into Prussia, France, &c. Frederick the Great sent Major H. J. von Zieten to study the work of this type of cavalry in the Austrian service, and Zieten so far improved on the Austrian model that he defeated his old teacher, General Baranyai, in an encounter between the Prussian and Austrian hussars at Rothschloss in 1741. The typical uniform of the Hungarian hussar was followed with modifications in other European armies. It consisted of a busby or a high cylindrical cloth cap, jacket with heavy braiding, and a dolman or pelisse, a loose coat worn hanging from the left shoulder. The hussar regiments of the British army were converted from light dragoons at the following dates: 7th (1805), 10th and 15th (1806), 18th (1807, and again on revival after disbandment, 1858), 8th (1822), 11th (1840), 20th (late 2nd Bengal European Cavalry) (1860), 13th, 14th, and 19th (late 1st Bengal European Cavalry) (1861). The 21st Lancers were hussars from 1862 to 1897.