Palanka [паланка] (from Italian palanca and Latin phalanx). An administrative territorial unit in the Zaporizhia, corresponding to the regiment in the Hetman state. A large fortified settlement defended by a Cossack garrison served as its center. In the 1770s there were eight palankas: Kodak (named after a frontier fort), Boh-Hard (named after the Boh River and a frontier town), and Inhul (named after the Inhul River) in Right-Bank Ukraine; and Protovch, Orel, Samara, Kalmiius, and Prohnii (all named after rivers: Protovch River, Orel River, Samara River, Kalmiius River, and Prohnii River) in Left-Bank Ukraine. The full palanka system was introduced during the period of the New Sich (1734–75), when the increase in the Zaporizhia’s population made it necessary to introduce local administrations.
A Cossack colonel had supreme judicial, administrative, financial, and military authority over all Cossacks and peasants living on the territory of each palanka. With the aid of his Cossack starshyna he supervised the local administration, made up of the otamans and secretaries of the free settlements (see Sloboda). The colonel and other palanka officials were not elected, but appointed by the kish otaman of the Zaporozhian Sich.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]