Monday, February 14, 2011

Krakow, Poland

This is an official card I received last May, showing the Kociuszko Mound. Kociuszko was a Polish-Lithuanian soldier. He received military training in Poland as a young man, but emigrated to France to escape civil war in 1768, and somehow ended up in America by the time 1776 rolled around. He was named head engineer of the Continental Army, eventually becoming known as the best engineer in American service. He was granted American citizenship and some land in 1783, but returned to Poland the following year, leaving all his American property to the cause of ending slavery. Sadly, it was never used for that purpose. In Poland he contributed to political reforms (particularly those ending serfdom) and fought for his country in the Polish-Russian War of 1792.

Kociuszko is considered a national hero in both Poland and the United States, although I had never heard of him before receiving this card...

The mound was erected as a memorial to him between 1820 and 1823. Polish people of all ages and classes volunteered money and labor in order to build it. Now it is a major tourist attraction.

The stamp on the left is from the Polish Cities issue of 2005, commemorating the city of Sieradz. On the right is a Europa 2010 stamp celebrating children's books.

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