Holota, Illia [Голота, Ілля], b ?, d 27 July 1649 near Zahalle, Belarus. Cossack leader. A colonel of the Registered Cossacks, he joined Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s rebellion in 1648 (see Cossack-Polish War). In the spring of 1649 he led a large Cossack detachment north of the Prypiat River, where they defeated a Lithuanian army commanded by Janusz Radziwiłł that had been sent to reinforce the Polish forces. For the next three months his forces participated in a series of battles with Lithuanian and Polish units. Surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy, he died in battle. Illia Holota may have been a prototype of a Ukrainian duma epic hero Cossack Holota.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]