In the SIXTEENTH century in France, the Musketeers increased light infantry company of spearmen, one per company. Subsequently, by increasing the role of firearms in military operations, the number of soldiers armed with muskets greatly increased. During the religious Thirty years war in Europe, the number of Musketeers were up to two-thirds of the entire corps.
One of the first military units in Russia, who were armed with firearms, steel archers — semi-regular troops of the territorial type.

The appearance of a company of Royal Musketeers

In 1622, at the court of king of France Louis XIII of the parts of the guards cavalry was organized the first company of the Royal Musketeers. This corps was an elite unit, composed of only people of noble blood. Armed Musketeers were exactly the same as regular Marines. These Musketeers and later became the prototypes of the main heroes of works of art and films.

In essence, the Royal Musketeers played the role of the personal bodyguards of the king. Initially, the composition of the company of the Royal Musketeers was composed of 107 soldiers: 100 privates and 7 officers. Their numbers steadily grew, and under Louis XIV's mouth was already two, the total number of soldiers and officers was $ 500.

It is worth noting that it was a real military elite of the French army, the Royal Musketeers not once showed himself heroically on the battlefields and performed these feats. For them, the law strengthened the title of the most desperate units. Also desperately, boldly and dangerous for the inhabitants were living in peace, in the intervals between battles.

In Paris XVII even an expression of "musketeer manners", which was used to refer to boastful, rude and very dangerous people. In addition to the exploits of the war and "lawlessness" in civilian life, the Royal Musketeers known punitive expeditions aimed at the suppression of different uprisings and imposition of Catholicism. Here they also fearlessly shot peaceful peasants and the bourgeoisie who have taken up arms.
Originally, a musket understood the difficult variety of handguns, primarily intended to defeat armor protected targets.

Sunset musketeer era

By the mid-eighteenth century, the glory of the king's Musketeers is almost extinguished. Seven years war 1756-1763 ended unsuccessfully for France, was the last large-scale military conflict, which was attended by this unit. The company of the king's Musketeers were disbanded in 1775 due to financial problems. Subsequently there have been several unsuccessful attempts to revive this kind of troops. Last time it was trying to do Napoleon in 1814, but after only 2 years the company was dissolved, this time once and for all.