Hired professional soldier who fights for any state or nation without regard to political principles. From the earliest days of organized warfare, governments supplemented their military forces with mercenaries. After the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453), Swiss soldiers were hired out all over Europe by their own cantonal governments and won a high reputation. Rulers of the German state of Hesse also hired out their soldiers, and Hessian troops fought for the British in the American Revolution. Since the late 18th century, most mercenaries have been individual soldiers of fortune.