Yermak Timofeyevich was a Cossack ataman and is today a hero in Russian folklore and myths. In the reign of Tsar Ivan the Terrible Yermak started the Russian conquest of Siberia.
Russians' fur-trade interests fueled their desire to expand east into Siberia. The Tatar khanate of Kazan was established as the best entryway into Siberia. In 1552, Ivan the Terrible's modernized army toppled the khanate. After the takeover of Kazan, the tsar looked to the powerful and affluent Stroganov merchant family to spearhead the eastward expansion. In the late 1570s, the Stroganovs recruited Cossack fighters to invade Asia on behalf of the tsar. These Cossacks elected Yermak as the leader of their armed forces, and in 1582 Yermak set out with an army of 840 to attack the Khanate of Sibir.
On October 26, 1582, Yermak and his soldiers overthrew Kuchum Khan's Tatar empire at Qashliq in a battle that marked the "conquest of Siberia". Yermak remained in Siberia and continued his struggle against the Tatars until 1584, when a raid organized by Kuchum Khan ambushed and killed him and his party.