The etymology of sepoy it is not clear. According to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), the concept could come from the Portuguese word sipay, in turn derived from the Persian sepāhi (which can be translated as “soldier”).
Simply put, a sepoy was part of the Army of the Ottoman Empire, specifically one of its elite cavalry troops that was in the Group of Six. Divisions of the Cavalry.
The Army of the Ottoman Empire was one of the fundamental elements of the dominance that the Ottoman Turkish Empire had over various parts of the European continent, specifically the Balkans, and the Middle East in a long stage of history that spanned from the 15th century to the 19th century. XX. His organization relied on a system of recruitment complex and feudal possessions that compensated for support at the military level.
Later, the term began to be used to refer to a native soldier of the India that, in the 18th centuries and XIX, fulfilled functions for Britain, Portugal and France. These were people born in the Suburb that were recruited by the European armies.
By extension to this meaning, the notion of sepoy began to be used to name an individual who, for ideological reasons or in exchange for money, defends foreign or foreign interests. In this sense, a sepoy is a kind of mercenary or “hired henchman.”
This last expression represents the use that is given to the term frequently in the Basque Country, where it has a clear derogatory connotation. In fact, some people in the Basque Autonomous Community call autonomous police officers sepoys, the so-called Ertzaintza, to refer to the fact that they are officers of Basque origin, unlike the others (the national police and the civil guards), and that nevertheless they follow the orders of a government that does not represent them.
Returning to the origin of the word «sepoy», it is known that it comes from the term «soldier» in the Persian language and that its status was similar to that of the gentlemen of Medieval Europe. This soldier possessed the title of a fiefdom that was granted to him directly by the Ottoman Sultan, in addition to enjoying the right to any income that this produced him as long as he fulfilled his obligations in the military sphere. The fiefdom was called “scam” and the peasants who originally worked it continued to do so when it passed to the sepoy.
It is believed that the military corps of the first sepoys was founded in the time of the reign of Mehmed II, who was also known as “the Conqueror.” It is about an Ottoman Sultan who lived in the middle of the 15th century; throughout his tenure he was responsible for the taking of Constantinople and the last fall of the Empire Byzantine.
This ancient army was the most numerous within the six cavalry divisions mentioned above, and complemented the Janissaries: while they were fighting horse, the latter did it on foot. On the other hand, the sepoys were the ones in charge of collecting taxes in times of peace.
On Latin America sepoy is often called intellectual or to political leader that privileges the interests of the powers instead of protecting local or national autonomy. Usually a sepoy is in favor of ideas and politics from USA.
Suppose the president of a country South American decides to invest thousands of pesos to celebrate the Independence Day from USA, organizing a reception for the ambassador and hundreds of other guests. On the other hand, for this same president, the Independence Day of his nation goes almost unnoticed, limiting himself to making a greeting known through the media. This decision to exalt the American and to take away its national significance makes many define the president in question as a sepoy.