Skeleton suggests that famed Polish general may have been female or intersex

According to recent research Polish-born cavalryman, Casimir Pulaski, who fought in the American Revolution and was a protégé of George Washington, may have been a woman or have possessed female characteristics.

Eliza Archer
Eliza Archer NewsMavens, Europe
Skeleton suggests that famed Polish general may have been female or intersex - NewsMavens
Casimir Pulaski statue, Roger Williams Park in Providence Rhode Island, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

The Casimir Pulaski Day Parade is a yearly event in New York and Pulaski is considered to be a Polish-American Hero.

When a statue of Pulaski in Savannah Georgia was was removed, Pulaski’s bones were discovered in a metal box underneath. They were then examined by scientists and this discovery was made.

Charles Merbs, a forensic anthropologist stated that the “The skeleton is about as female as can be.” This of course raised the initial question as to whether it was in fact Pulaski’s remains. While previous research was unable to find a DNA match, on this occasion the mitochondrial DNA of Pulaski’s grandniece was used. They also matched the skeleton through Pulaski's known injuries and physical characteristics.

Merbs continued “I don’t think, at any time in his life, did he think he was a woman. I think he just thought he was a man, and something was wrong.”

A documentary has now been made from the research and details the early life of Pulaski. Pulaski was raised in a wealthy Polish Catholic family and participated in the Polish conflict against the Russians before leaving Poland in 1772 for Paris.  This eventually lead to a move across the Atlantic where Pulaski reputedly saved Washington from capture in a battle against the British at Brandywine.

Details from the story:

  • The revelation is detailed in a Smithsonian Channel documentary, and the Smithsonian Institute funded the research.
  • Researchers from various Universities such as Arizona State University, Georgia Southern University and the University of Georgia worked on the research.
  • Differences in the pelvis were identified as key indications that the skeleton was that of a woman.
  • It is believed as many as 2% of children can be born intersex -- which may have been the case for Pulaski.

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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