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 III. 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 Patkul, Augustus allied himself (1699) with Peter I of Russia and Frederick IV of Denmark for an attack on young Charles XII of Sweden. In the resulting conflict (see Northern War) Augustus invaded Livonia 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 I 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 III, to the Polish throne was unsuccessfully contested by Stanislaus I, who was backed by France. Among Augustus's many mistresses was Maria Aurora Königsmark; her son, Maurice de Saxe, was one of Augustus's innumerable illegitimate offspring. A patron of the arts, Augustus greatly embellished Dresden and created the Meissen china manufactures. He is also called Augustus the Strong.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on Augustus II from Infoplease:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Polish History: Biographies