Ended Stanislaw Augustus II The Strong Royal Mail 1707
Sold by Chicago Estate Advisors LLC
Stanisław Augustus II 'The Strong' Royal letter dated 1707, signed
King of Poland
Augustus II the Strong (Polish: August II Mocny; German: August der Starke; Lithuanian: Augustas II; 12 May 1670 – 1 February 1733), also known in Saxony as Frederick Augustus I, was Elector of Saxony from 1697, Imperial Vicar and elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania in the years 1697–1706 and from 1709 until his death in 1733. He was succeeded by his son, Augustus III of Poland.
Augustus' great physical strength earned him the nicknames "the Strong", "the Saxon Hercules" and "Iron-Hand". He liked to show that he lived up to his name by breaking horseshoes with his bare hands and engaging in fox tossing by holding the end of his sling with just one finger while two of the strongest men in his court held the other end. He is also notable for fathering a very large number of children.
In order to be elected King of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Augustus converted to Roman Catholicism. As a Catholic, he received the Order of the Golden Fleece from the Holy Roman Emperor. As Elector of Saxony, he is perhaps best remembered as a patron of the arts and architecture. He established the Saxon capital of Dresden as a major cultural centre, attracting artists from across Europe to his court. Augustus also amassed an impressive art collection and built lavish baroque palaces in Dresden and Warsaw.
His reigns brought Poland some troubled times. He led the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in the Great Northern War, which allowed the Russian Empire to strengthen its influence in Europe, especially within Poland. His main pursuit was bolstering royal power in the Commonwealth, characterized by broad decentralization in comparison with other European monarchies. He tried to accomplish this goal using foreign powers and thus destabilized the state. Augustus ruled Poland with an interval; in 1704 the Swedes installed nobleman Stanisław Leszczyński as king, who officially reigned from 1706 to 1709 and after Augustus' death in 1733 which sparked the War of the Polish Succession.
The weakened Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth soon came to be regarded as almost a protectorate of Russia.
In 1709 Augustus II returned to the Polish throne under Russian auspices. Once again he attempted to establish an absolute monarchy in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, but was faced with opposition from the nobility (szlachta, see Tarnogród Confederation). He was handicapped by the mutual jealousy of the Saxons and the Poles, and a struggle broke out in Poland which was only ended when the king promised to limit the number of his army in that country to 18,000 men. Peter the Great seized on the opportunity to pose as mediator, threatened the Commonwealth militarily, and in 1717 forced Augustus and the nobility to sign an accommodation favorable to Russian interests, at the Silent Sejm (Sejm Niemy).
For the remainder of his reign, in an uneasy relationship, Augustus was more or less dependent on Russia (and to a lesser extent, on Austria) to maintain his throne. He gave up his dynastic ambitions and concentrated instead on attempts to strengthen the Commonwealth. Faced with both internal and foreign opposition, however, he achieved little. In 1729 he established the Grand Musketeers Company in Dresden, one of the oldest Polish officers' schools, which in 1730 was relocated to Warsaw.
Capsule with the heart of Augustus II the Strong in the Dresden Cathedral
Augustus died at Warsaw in 1733. Although he had failed to make the Polish throne hereditary in his house, his eldest son, Frederick Augustus II of Saxony, did succeed him to the Polish throne as Augustus III of Poland—although he had to be installed by the Russian army in the War of the Polish Succession.
He was buried in Poland's royal Wawel Cathedral in Kraków, but his heart rests in the Dresden Cathedral.
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