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Frederick (Prussia)

war attack military emperor

Frederick (Prussia), name of 3 kings of Prussia. Frederick I (1657–1713), elector of Brandenburg from 1688, sought the title of king from the Emperor Leopold I. In 1700 he obtained it in exchange for military assistance and in 1701 he crowned himself king of Prussia, which was the major part of his domain. Frederick II (the Great) (1712–86) was one of the most influential 18th-century monarchs. As a boy his inclinations were artistic rather than military. He succeeded his father Frederick William I, in 1740. He almost immediately used his father's strong army to win Silesia from Austria, thus precipitating the War of the Austrian Succession. There followed a period of peace, which he used to strengthen Prussia, encouraging both arts and commerce. Fearing attack by an alliance of Austria, Russia, and France, he made a preemptive attack on Saxony in 1756, beginning the Seven Years War, from which Prussia emerged unscathed but exhausted. Frederick rebuilt the economy at considerable personal expense. Through the partition of Poland and the War of the Bavarian Succession he made further territorial gains for Prussia. By the end of his reign he had doubled the country's area and left it rich, powerful, more humanely governed, and dominant in Germany. Frederick III (1831–88), son of Emperor William I, was cultivated and liberal. A distinguished army commander, he was a determined opponent of Bismarck's imperial policies. He died of cancer only 3 months after his coronation.

See also: Prussia.

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