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Thaddeus Kosciuszko (1746-1817) was a Polish general and statesmen who distinguished himself in both the American and Polish wars of independence. Kosciuszko, pronounced ko-shoos-ko, was born on February 4, 1746, at Mereczowszczyzna, in what is now Belarus. As a cadet in Warsaw he earned the favor of King Stanislaw II Poniatowski, and was sent to abroad at the expense of the state in 1769. He studied military engineering in Germany, Italy, and France, where he also studied painting. He returned to Poland in 1774, and while employed as her tutor, fell in love with the youngest daughter of the chief of the Ukrainian Cossacks. His plans to elope with her were discovered and the chief’s retainers punished him physically; finally, Kosciuszko was dismissed.