By Mikołaj Gliński
August 28, 2015
Tadeusz Kościuszko – Bringing Freedom to Both Sides of the AtlanticSource
Tadeusz Kościuszko (Blr. Тадэвуш Касьцюшка) was born in February 1746 in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, on the Merachoushchyna estate near Kosów (now Kosava, in present-day Belarus). He was the fourth child of Ludwik Tadeusz Kościuszko, a military officer, and his wife, Tekla. Kościuszko's paternal family was ethnically Lithuanian-Ruthenian, but it had been Polonised as early as the 16th century, and Kościuszko’s native language was Polish.
Although he came from a petty noble family, Tadeusz was very fond of playing with the local peasant children. His respect and empathy for the hard life of peasants likely originated in this period. He may also have been influenced by the ethnic and religious diversity of the commonwealth, which afforded a doctrine of religious tolerance.
<…> If you have problems with pronouncing or spelling Kościuszko's name, don't worry. President George Washington did too – he reportedly wrote Kościuszko's name 11 different ways. As for the pronunciation, anything close to ‘Kos-CHOOS-ko’ is fine, but for best results, you might want to consult our Guide to the Polish Alphabet.
You can also take the easy route – like Me-She-Kin-No-Quah, Chief Little Turtle of the Miami Indians, who visited Kościuszko in Philadelphia. He later told his tribe that he had made friends with a righteous white man, whom he called ‘Kotcscho’.