The Haidamaky (Ukrainian: Гайдамаки, singular haidamaka) were groups of rebels who rose up spontaneously against the Poles in right-bank Ukraine during the eighteenth century. The word comes from the Turkish hajdemak, meaning ‘to pursue’. It is similar to the Balkan term "hajduk".
Haidamakas were mostly peasants, and Kozaks. They formed bands under the leadership of chieftains who collaborated to organize large-scale rebellions known as the haidamaka uprisings against the Polish nobility. The earliest records of the haidamakas comes from the year 1708, however there were three major rebellions, 1734, 1750, and the largest in 1768.
The Haidamaka rebellions or haidamachchyna, were put down brutally and generally swiftly, mostly due to lack of organization. Haidamaky are viewed as villains in Polish history, but are viewed positively as heroes in Ukraine. They are recorded in Taras Shevchenko's poem Haidamaky (1841).
The Haydamaky are the present-day disciples of the Ukrainian cult of tradition. Through their spiritual and musical integrity, they are committed to the cause of taking back their culture from out of the hands of corrupt, immoral mentality.