Augustus II

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Augustus II,

1670–1733, king of Poland (1697–1733) and, as Frederick Augustus I, elector of Saxony (1694–1733). He commanded the imperial army against the Turks (1695–96), but had no success and was replaced by Prince Eugene of Savoy as soon as he competed for the Polish throne, left vacant by the death of John IIIJohn III
(John Sobieski) , 1624–96, king of Poland (1674–96), champion of Christian Europe against the Ottomans. Born to an ancient noble family, he was appointed (1668) commander of the Polish army.
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. By becoming a Catholic and granting the Polish nobility unprecedented privileges he was elected king with the support of the Holy Roman emperor and the pope. With help from PatkulPatkul, Johann Reinhold von
, 1660–1707, Livonian nobleman. He incurred the wrath of Charles XI of Sweden by championing the rights of the Livonian gentry and fled abroad to escape punishment. In 1698, Patkul entered the service of Augustus II of Poland and Saxony.
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, Augustus allied himself (1699) with Peter IPeter I
or Peter the Great,
1672–1725, czar of Russia (1682–1725), major figure in the development of imperial Russia. Early Life

Peter was the youngest child of Czar Alexis, by Alexis's second wife, Natalya Naryshkin.
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 of Russia and Frederick IVFrederick IV,
1671–1730, king of Denmark and Norway (1699–1730), son and successor of Christian V. He allied himself (1699) with Augustus II of Poland and Saxony and with Peter I of Russia against Charles XII of Sweden in the Northern War, but was forced to sign the
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 of Denmark for an attack on young Charles XIICharles XII,
1682–1718, king of Sweden (1697–1718), son and successor of Charles XI. The regency under which he succeeded was abolished in 1697 at the request of the Riksdag. At the coronation he omitted the usual oath and crowned himself.
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 of Sweden. In the resulting conflict (see Northern WarNorthern War,
1700–1721, general European conflict, fought in N and E Europe at the same time that the War of the Spanish Succession was fought in the west and the south.
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) Augustus invaded LivoniaLivonia
, region and former Russian province, comprising present Estonia and parts of Latvia (Vidzeme and Latgale). It borders on the Baltic Sea and its arms, the Gulf of Riga and the Gulf of Finland, in the west and the north and extends E to Lake Peipus (Chudskoye) and the
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 with his Saxon troops but was defeated (1702) by Charles XII. The Treaty of Altranstädt (1706) forced him to renounce the Polish crown in favor of Stanislaus IStanislaus I,
1677–1766, king of Poland (1704–1709, 1733–35) and duke of Lorraine (1735–66). He was born Stanislaus Leszczynski. Early in the Northern War (1700–1721), Charles XII of Sweden overran Poland and expelled King Augustus II.
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 and to give up his alliance with Russia. After Charles's defeat by the Russians at Poltava (1709), Augustus revived the alliance and recovered Poland. In Poland, where he kept a Saxon force, Augustus was highly unpopular. After his death, the ascension of his son and successor in Saxony, Augustus IIIAugustus III,
1696–1763, king of Poland (1735–63) and, as Frederick Augustus II, elector of Saxony (1733–63); son of Augustus II, whom he succeeded in Saxony.
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, to the Polish throne was unsuccessfully contested by Stanislaus I, who was backed by France. Among Augustus's many mistresses was Maria Aurora KönigsmarkKönigsmark, Countess Maria Aurora
, 1666–1728, Swedish noblewoman; sister of Count Philipp Christoph Königsmark. She went to Dresden in search of her missing brother and there became the mistress of Augustus II of Poland and Saxony.
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; her son, Maurice de SaxeSaxe, Maurice, comte de
, 1696–1750, marshal of France, one of the greatest generals of his age. He was the illegitimate son of Augustus II of Poland and Saxony and Countess Maria Aurora von Königsmark.
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, was one of Augustus's innumerable illegitimate offspring. A patron of the arts, Augustus greatly embellished Dresden and created the MeissenMeissen
, city (1994 pop. 33,075), Saxony, E central Germany, on the Elbe River. A porcelain manufacturing center since 1710, Meissen is famous for its delicate figurines (often called "Dresden" china); the industry is supported by local deposits of kaolin and potter's earth.
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 china manufactures. He is also called Augustus the Strong.

Augustus II

 

(also Augustus the Strong; Polish, August II Mocny). Born May 12, 1670, in Dresden; died Feb. 1, 1733, in Warsaw. Elector of Saxony under the name Frederick Augustus I (1694–1733). King of Poland (1697–1706, 1709–33).

The son of the Saxon elector John George III, Augustus was elected to the Polish throne upon the death of King Jan III Sobieski. The election of Augustus was largely a result of Russia’s support for his candidacy. Augustus fought against Sweden in the Northern War of 1700–21. Under the Altranstadt Peace, which he concluded with Charles XII in 1706, Augustus was obliged to renounce the Polish crown.

After the defeat of the Swedish Army by Russia at the battle of Poltava in 1709, Peter I helped Augustus regain the Polish throne. Augustus’ desire to impose absolutism on Poland brought him into conflict with the Polish magnates and szlachta (gentry). To thwart the king’s plans, these two groups joined to form the Tarnogród Confederation. The conflict ended with the king’s defeat, which was confirmed by the Niemy, or Silent, Sejm in 1717.