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Tadeusz Kościuszko

Tadeusz Kościuszko

Tadeusz Kosciuszko, born in Belarus in 1746, is a national hero of Belarus, America and Poland. He was the leader of the 1794 national liberation uprising in the Rzeczpospolita, took part in the war for American independence.

Tadeusz Kosciuszko is the most famous Belarusian in the world. In 1794 he organized a revolt in Belarus (Lithuania) and Poland; took part in hostilities for the independence of the United States; is an honorary citizen and national Polish hero in France. The highest mountain in Australia discovered by Strzelecki is called Kosciuszko. There is a county of Kosciuszko in the state of Indiana. Streets in Polish and Belarusian cities and an island in Alaska bear his name.


Tadeusz Kościuszko was born in 1746 on February 4. According to unofficial data, the date of Tadeusz's birth is considered to be November 30, 1745. It is known that the newborn baby was baptized on February 12 in Kossovsky church. When the boy was baptized, he was named Andrei Tadeusz Bonaventure Kosciuszko. Tadeusz belonged to a noble family. His family traces its lineage back to Constantius.

In 1755 in Lubieszów, together with his older brother, he went to a school belonging to a monastic order. Within the walls of this institution he studied, showing good results, until 1760. From 1769 for four years he studied at the Knight's School in Warsaw. It was actually a military academy. Here experienced teachers trained officers. But in addition to military disciplines at the Knight's School were taught mathematics, history, economics and foreign languages. Already at that time Tadeusz differed from his classmates by his strong-willed character and determination. He was compared to Charles XII, after whom he received his first nickname "the Swede". Kosciuszko, being an able boy, became one of the best pupils. He graduated with the rank of captain.

In 1769, Kosciuszko and his best friend Orlowski were awarded a royal scholarship for outstanding ability. The young men went to France, where they intended to continue their studies. In France, their choice fell on a military academy.

In 1774 he returned to Poland.


Unfortunately, there was no place in the army ranks of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for the young soldier. At that time, it was possible to get an officer's position only for very large sums of money. His brother spent all of his savings and Tadeusz's money in a few years and began borrowing money from acquaintances. As a result, the young boy was completely short of money for a normal existence. He decided to get a job as a tutor for the magnate Sosnowski. Tadeusz had to teach painting to the magnate's two daughters. In time, he realized that he was in love with his master's eldest daughter Ludwika. The young people knew that the girl's father would never bless their marriage, so they decided to run away and get married secretly in another city. But this plan was not fated to come true, as Sosnowski uncovered the deception and banished Tadeusz from his estate.


In 1775, Kosciuszko decided to go to America, as in his native Rzeczpospolita the young fellow could not find an occupation. At that time America was shaken by hostilities. Kosciuszko took part in the struggle for independence. He defended the interests of the North American peoples, making every effort to do so. Soon he received the rank of colonel and then brigadier general.

In 1777 Tadeusz proved himself in the battle of Saratoga and Ticonderoga. And the work done on the construction of fortifications in Philadelphia allowed him to get the post of chief engineer in the ranks of the Northern Army. After a while, Kosciuszko was reassigned to the Southern Army. Here his engineering talent helped him win many victories over the British. Tadeusz's outstanding abilities were noticed by representatives of the U.S. Congress. And in October 1783 they awarded the military figure the honorary rank of Brigadier General.


Returning home, Tadeusz begins to be active with regard to the preparation of the national uprising. It was decided to appoint Kosciuszko as the leader of the liberation movement. On March 12, 1794, Madalinski did not agree to reduce the Wielkopolski Brigade. He went to Krakow at the head of this brigade. Tadeusz also came to Poland, where he proclaimed an act of uprising. He first took the oath himself, and then swore the garrison and the locals to the oath.

In accordance with the act of uprising, which was signed by all the inhabitants of Krakow, Kosciuszko was appointed commander-in-chief and given military and civil authority in that country. It is March 24th that many historians consider the beginning of the uprising.

Under the command of Tadeusz, on April 4, the insurgents were able to achieve victory over the tsarist military. During the uprising, the townspeople liberated Vilna and Warsaw. On May 7, Kosciuszko issued a decree in which he guaranteed the peasants a reduction in burdens and liberation. On October 10, Tadeusz was wounded. According to unofficial sources, he was taken prisoner.


Paul I, who took the throne after the death of Catherine II, played an important role in the military man's biography. He was a far-sighted politician who freed Tadeusz from captivity, gave him money, clothes, and a sleigh to go to America.

In 1797 the most famous Belarusian returned to Europe. He began to live and work in the suburbs of Paris. He considered Napoleon a tyrant and was totally unwilling to cooperate with him. Napoleon repeatedly proposed to the celebrated public figure to lead the uprising organized in Poland and become the head of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. Tadeusz considered it humiliating to become a weapon of the French emperor. In addition, he was unable to obtain from Napoleon a confirmation that he would return the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to its former borders.

Alexander I proposed to Tadeusz to become the head of the Kingdom of Poland. But he refused such a tempting offer as he too had not received confirmation of the restoration of the borders of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as part of 1772.

Tadeusz Kosciuszko died in autumn, on 15 October 1817, in the town of Solothurn (Switzerland). There was not a single person of Polish origin near the bedside of this prominent figure. Tadeusz's remains were transported to Krakow for further burial.


Many streets in Kosovo, Minsk, Brest and other cities in Belarus are named after the legendary military man. There are such streets in Poland, Ukraine and Russia.

In the United States, Kosciuszko is one of the counties of Indiana, an island in Alaska.

The first division of the Polish Army, which fought against the German invaders from 1943 to 1945, was also named after Tadeusz Kościuszko. The division was commanded by Colonel Berling.

In 2002, the Brest Regional Executive Committee announced the restoration of Kosciuszko's Merechau estate, which was destroyed during the war. Today, the manor is a museum, which is open to all comers.

In 1840 a Polish man, Strzelecki, conquered the mountain and named it after Kosciuszko.

In Belarus, Russia, Poland, Switzerland, France and many cities in America there are monuments to this famous military and public figure.



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