Friedrich II., Frederick the Great, Friedrich der GroßeOccupation:
King of Prussia (1740-1786)Born:
1712-01-24 in Berlin, PrussiaDied:
17 August 1786 in Potsdam, Prussia
Frederick II (German: Friedrich II.; 24 January 1712 – 17 August 1786) was a King of Prussia (1740–1786) from the Hohenzollern dynasty. In his role as a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire, he was Frederick IV (Friedrich IV.) of Brandenburg. He was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel. He became known as Frederick the Great (Friedrich der Große) and was nicknamed der alte Fritz ("Old Fritz").
Interested primarily in the arts during his youth, Frederick unsuccessfully attempted to flee from his authoritarian father, Frederick William I, after which he was forced to watch the execution of a childhood friend named Hans Hermann von Katte. Upon ascending to the Prussian throne, he attacked Austria and claimed Silesia during the Silesian Wars, winning military acclaim for himself and Prussia. Near the end of his life, Frederick united most of his disconnected realm through the First Partition of Poland.
Frederick was a proponent of enlightened absolutism. For years he was a correspondent of Voltaire, with whom the king had an intimate, if turbulent, friendship. He modernized the Prussian bureaucracy and civil service and promoted religious tolerance throughout his realm. Frederick patronized the arts and philosophers, and wrote flute music. Frederick is buried at his favorite residence, Sanssouci in Potsdam. Because he died childless, Frederick was succeeded by his nephew, Frederick William II of Prussia, son of his brother, Prince Augustus William of Prussia.