STRELITZ (Strjeltsi), a body of Russian household troops originally raised by the tsar Ivan the Terrible in the middle of the 16th century. They numbered 40,000 to 50,000 infantry, and formed the greater part of the Russian armies in the wars of the 16th and 17th centuries. They were a fierce and illdisciplined' force, individually brave and cruel in war, and almost ungovernable in peace. Their mutinies were frequent and dangerous, and at last, in 1682, an unusually serious outbreak led Peter the Great to compass the abolition of the force. The Strelitz were gradually drawn to the western frontier of Russia, and in 1698 they rose in mutiny for the last time. Crushed in battle by Peter's general, Patrick Gordon, they ceased to exist as a military force, and about 2000 of them who fell into the hands of the tsar were barbarously tortured and put to death.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)