Jan Henryk Dąbrowski (Polish pronunciation: [ˈjan ˈxɛnrɨɡ dɔmˈbrɔfskʲi]; also known as Johann Heinrich Dąbrowski (Dombrowski) in German and Jean Henri Dombrowski in French; 29 August 1755[a] – 6 June 1818) was a Polish general and statesman, widely respected after his death for his patriotic attitude, and described as a national hero.
Dąbrowski initially served in the Saxon Army and joined the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Army in 1792, shortly before the Second Partition of Poland. He was promoted to the rank of general in the Kościuszko Uprising of 1794. After the final Third Partition of Poland, which ended the existence of Poland as an independent country, he became actively involved in promoting the cause of Polish independence abroad. He was the founder of the Polish Legions in Italy serving under Napoleon from 1795, and as a general in Italian and French service he contributed to the brief restoration of the Polish state during the Greater Poland Uprising of 1806. He participated in the Napoleonic Wars, taking part in the Polish-Austrian war and the French invasion of Russia until 1813. After Napoleon's defeat, he accepted a senatorial position in the Russian-backed Congress Poland, and was one of the organizers of the Army of Congress Poland.
The Polish national anthem, "Poland Is Not Yet Lost", written and first sung by the Polish legionnaires, mentions Dąbrowski by name, and is also known as "Dąbrowski's Mazurka".
Early life and education
In Saxony and Poland
Dąbrowski was born to
Jan Michał Dąbrowski and Zofia Maria Dąbrowska, née Sophie von Lettow, in Pierzchów, Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, on 29 August 1755.[a] He grew up in Hoyerswerda, Electorate of Saxony, where his father served as a Colonel in the Saxon Army. He joined the Royal Saxon Horse Guards in 1770 or 1771. His family was of Polish origin. Nonetheless, in his childhood and youth he grew up surrounded by German culture in Saxony, and signed his name as Johann Heinrich Dąbrowski. He fought in the War of the Bavarian Succession (1778–1779), during which time his father died. Shortly afterwards in 1780 he married Gustawa Rackel. He lived in Dresden, and steadily progressed through the ranks, becoming a Rittmeister in 1789. He served as Adjutant general of King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony, from 1788 to 1791.