Augustus III

Augustus III
Polish August Fryderyk

born Oct. 17, 1696, Dresden, Saxony
died Oct. 5, 1763, Dresden

King of Poland and elector of Saxony (as Frederick Augustus II), whose reign (1733–63) marked a great period of disorder within Poland.

He cared more for pleasure than affairs of state and left the administration of Saxony and Poland to his chief adviser, Heinrich von Brühl (1700–1763), and the powerful Czartoryski family. He gave Saxon support to Austria in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War.

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▪ king of Poland and elector of Saxony
also called  Augustus Frederick , Polish  August III Wettin , German  August Friedrich 
born Oct. 17, 1696, Dresden, Saxony [Germany]
died Oct. 5, 1763, Dresden

      king of Poland and elector of Saxony (as Frederick Augustus II), whose reign witnessed one of the greatest periods of disorder within Poland. More interested in ease and pleasure than in affairs of state, this notable patron of the arts left the administration of Saxony and Poland to his chief adviser, Heinrich von Brühl (Brühl, Heinrich, Graf von), who in turn left Polish administration chiefly to the powerful Czartoryski family.

      The only legitimate son of Frederick Augustus I of Saxony (Augustus II of Poland), he followed his father's example by joining the Roman Catholic Church in 1712. In 1719 he married Maria Josepha, daughter of the Holy Roman emperor Joseph I. He became elector of Saxony on his father's death (1733). As a candidate for the Polish crown, he secured the support of the emperor Charles VI by assenting to the Pragmatic Sanction (Pragmatic Sanction of Emperor Charles VI) of 1713, designed to preserve the integrity of the Habsburg inheritance, and that of the Russian empress Anna by supporting Russia's claim to Courland. Chosen king by a small minority of electors on Oct. 5, 1733, he drove his rival, the former Polish king Stanisław I Leszczyński, into exile. He was crowned in Kraków on Jan. 17, 1734, and was generally recognized as king in Warsaw in June 1736.

      Augustus gave Saxon support to Austria against Prussia in the War of the Austrian Succession (Austrian Succession, War of the) (1742) and again in the Seven Years' War (1756). His last years were marked by the increasing influence of the Czartoryski and Poniatowski families, and by the intervention of Catherine the Great (Catherine II) of Russia in Polish affairs. His rule deepened the anarchization of Poland and increased the country's dependence on its neighbours.

Additional Reading
Maria Bogucka, The Lost World of the “Sarmatians,” trans. from Polish (1996).

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