Exhibition on ‘Thaddeus Kosciuszko’

Portrait of Thaddeus Kosciuszko,
Anonymous artist (c. 1840), oil painting,
In the collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków, Poland.

The Polish Institute New Delhi, in collaboration with the Jindal School of International Affairs (JSIA), will present an exhibition titled ‘Thaddeus Kosciuszko (1746-1817) – the price of freedom’.

Exhibition Dates: 18th-30th September 2018.
Inauguration: 18th September 2018 at 1:00 PM.
Venue: Central Block, JGU Library, Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana.


About the exhibition

The exhibition presents life of the Polish national hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko, who was a campaigner for the independence of the United States of North America as well as an honorary citizen of France in the age of revolution. He is one of the most widely recognised Poles, internationally. Kościuszko was born in Eastern Poland in 1746. He hailed from an impoverished noble family. His lifetime and activity coincides with an immensely turbulent era not only in the history of the Polish state, but also in the history of Europe and North America with events such as: the formation of the United States of North America, the French Revolution, the collapse of the ancien régime in Western Europe, the Napoleonian era, and the Congress of Vienna.

Thaddeus Kosciuszko was a graduate of the Corps of Cadets in Warsaw, Poland, and the Royal Guard Military Academy for Cavalrymen in Versailles, France. He returned to Poland in 1775, three years after it was partitioned by Russia, Austria and Prussia. In 1776 he arrived in the United States, where he was enlisted as an engineer in the American Army. He took part in the defence of Philadelphia. As an expression of gratitude, George Washington, the first President of the United States, trusted him with the task of building a strong fortification at the West Point. Upon Kosciuszko’s request, he was dispatched to the South, where his skills helped the Americans win their war of independence. In 1783, Congress promoted him to the rank of Brigadier General of the American army and he was given a substantial amount of land as well as money, which he dedicated to the emancipation and education of African Americans.

In 1784 he came back to Poland. Subsequently, he was involved in national liberation efforts during the Polish-Russian War of 1792, after which he went into political exile. While living in exile, he prepared a plan for a national uprising. On March 24, 1794, in Kraków’s Main Square, he took a solemn oath confirming him as the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces during the national uprising. For two years he was the leader of the uprising. Wounded on October 10, 1794, in a battle close to Maciejowice, he was imprisoned in a fortress in St. Petersburg and later released after tendering his loyalty to Tsar Paul I. Between 1798 and 1815 he lived in France, where he helped in setting up of the Polish Legions.

Kościuszko spent his final years in Solothurn, Switzerland, where he died. His body was first buried in a crypt of a Jesuit church in Solothurn. A year later, he was moved to St. Leonard’s Crypt at Wawel Cathedral in Kraków.
To honour him, Paweł Edmund Strzelecki, a Polish traveler, named the highest mountain of Australia, which he discovered, as ‘Mount Kościuszko’. Kosciuszko’s statues can be found across Poland (in Cracow, Łódź and Warsaw), the United States (in Washington D.C., Chicago, Cleveland Detroit and Philadelphia) and in Switzerland (Solothurn).

For more information, please visit: http://kosciuszko.online/