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Augustus II the Strong
 


  Augustus II the Strong, the Elector of Saxony (1694-1733) and the King of Poland (1697-1706, 1709-1733). His great physical strength earned him the by-name "the Strong". Augustus was a son of John George III of Saxony and Princess Anne Sophie of Denmark. Following the death of his elder brother John George IV he became Elector of Saxony in 1694. Following the death of Polish King Jan III Sobietski and turning into Catholicism he was elected King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonweal in 1697. For many years he was involved into the war of the Holy League against Ottoman Empire and finally succeeded in signing the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699). When Charles XI of Sweden died in 1697, he was succeeded to the throne by his fifteen-year-old son Charles. This was seen as an opportunity by Russia, Denmark and Poland-Saxony to regain their lands captured by Sweden in XVI century. After forming an alliance with Denmark and Poland-Saxony and making peace with Ottoman Empire Russian tsar Peter I declared war on Sweden in 1700. It was in this way the twenty-one-year Great Northern war began.
  But young Swedish king proved an able gifted military commander. First he succeeded in forcing the Denmark out of the war and then he defeated Russian army at Narva (1700). After that he focused on the struggle against the King of Poland. The aim of this campaign was to depose Augustus II. Charles XII won the battles of Riga (1701), Kliszow (1702), Pulutsk (1703), Fraustadt (1706). On September, 1 1706, Swedish king invaded Saxony, dethroned Augustus and placed Stanislaus Leszczynski on the Polish throne by the Treaty of Altranstadt. Meanwhile Tsar Peter I had rebuilt Russian army following the western pattern. At the Battle of Poltava he defeated Swedes and put an end to the Swedish Empire. Soon after that the weak Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth became fully dependent of Russia.
  The Battle of Poltava secured Augustus IIís return to the Polish throne. He failed to reestablish an absolute monarchy in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth facing with opposition from the nobility. Augustus II was well known among his contemporaries as a big connoisseur of fine arts and architecture. During his reign many palaces in baroque style with unique art collections were built in Dresden. Being a big fond of porcelain he founded the manufacture of fine porcelain at the Meissen and Dresden. Augustus died in 1733. His eldest son, Frederick Augustus II of Saxony, succeed him to the Polish throne as Augustus III of Poland.


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