Augustus III, 1696–1763, king of Poland (1735–63) and, as Frederick Augustus II, elector of Saxony (1733–63); son of Augustus II, whom he succeeded in Saxony. Elected king of Poland by a minority, he allied himself with Empress Anna of Russia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI in the War of the Polish Succession (1733–35) and secured the throne from Stanislaus I. In the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48), Augustus at first offered to support Maria Theresa in return for a corridor between Poland and Saxony. He was refused and entered the coalition against her, claiming rights as a son-in-law of her uncle, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I. He changed sides in 1742. When the Seven Years War began (1756) with a surprise attack on Saxony, Augustus fled to Poland; he returned to Dresden only after the war was over (1763). He was a patron of the arts, and his indolence and sensuality kept him from state affairs, which he left to his ministers, notably Count Brühl. Augustus's death ended the union of Saxony and Poland. His grandson became elector of Saxony (and later, as Frederick Augustus I, king), but Stanislaus II was elected king of Poland with Russian support.
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