SPAHIS (in Persian Sipari, meaning warriors, and synonymous with Sepoy) originally the holders of fiefs in Central Asia who yielded personal military service to their superior chief. In time the term came to be applied to the soldiery furnished in their own stead. A similar institution existed in Turkey, and the " Spahis " were the light irregular cavalry which from the time of Sultan Amurath I. (1326) down to the beginning of the i gth century formed the flower of the Turkish army; at one period they are estimated to have numbered 130,000. " Spahis " is the term now applied to certain native cavalry regiments in Algiers and Tunis, officered by Frenchmen.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)