Frederick William I Biography

Frederick William I of Hohenzollern (Berlin, Prussia 14 August 1688 – Potsdam, Prussia, 31 May 1740). Military leader, Political Leader, Noble and Monarch of Prussian origin, also known as the Sergeant King, for always wearing military uniform.


He was the second king of Prussia, whose term extended for twenty-seven years, from 1713 to 1740. His greatest achievement was the creation of the Potsdam Guard, made up of the highest soldiers and physical builds in Europe.

Beginnings as monarch

Frederick William I of Hohenzollern was born on 14 August 1688, in Berlin, Prussia. He was the son and successor of King Frederick I, the first monarch of Prussia, and his second wife, Queen Sofia Charlotte. From his youth he distinguished himself by his severity and righteousness, being known as a man with little sense of humor and nothing given to amusements.

Some researchers say that his figure is historically linked to a cane, with which he hit hard anyone who evoked his anger. He replaced his father on the throne in 1713.

Her first actions as monarch were aimed at eliminating the sumptuous and other luxuries of the court and its members. He also established an arduous regime of work, in which he demanded from his collaborators the greatest dedication and perfection.

Similarly, from the very first point of his term, he had to deal with disputes that Sweden had over the Pomeranian region. Frederick William I was then forced to star in the only war that happened during his tenure, and which led to the defeat of Charles XII of Sweden, thanks to which Prussia won the territories of West Pomerania, Stettin and the mouths of Oder, through the Stockholm Treaty, signed in 1720.

Reforms of King Sergeant

His command differed greatly from his father’s. It completely eliminated privileges, and pushed austerity and effectiveness to the limit. Centralized Financial Management, strengthened and protected the fields of industry and agriculture, bringing great strengthening and growth of the national economy.

He similarly propelled the colonization of all uninhabited areas, and ordered the creation of schools throughout the territory, decreing compulsory education, causing only a generation later, Prussia to be at the forefront of education throughout europa.

However, perhaps this monarch’s increased effort was focused on further strengthening and organizing the Army. In 1722 he decreed a national recruitment movement and created the Berlin Cadet School, achieving disciplined and efficient encounters, giving Prussia one of the most powerful armies in Europe.

In 1723, he created the Supreme General Directory of Finance, territories and war, through which he strengthened the centralization of his mandate.

In his career of making his Army troops stronger and stronger, he concluded that the solution was to procure the recruiting of soldiers of great stature. He then created the Potsdam Guard, which admitted men of more than 1.85 metres from all over Europe, creating a regiment of some eighty thousand soldiers, made up of the tallest and strongest European men of the time.

In 1728, he also created the Foreign Office, through which he established his international policy, aimed at strengthening his bonds of friendship with Austria, and his estrangement from England and France.

Conflicts with his successor

Frederick William I was married to George II’s sister Sofia Dorotea of Hanover, with whom he had a son whom he named Federico, and with whom he would maintain a conflicted relationship.

His son grew up under the influence of his mother, who instilled in him a French education, very different from the strict and martial education his father choped for his successor. On one occasion, King Sergeant got his son reading Poetry, hitting him hard and trying to strangle him with the cord of a curtain.

These actions by his father caused Frederick to decide to flee with his friend, Lieutenant Hans Hermmann von Katte, to England. However, they were discovered in their attempt, being captured. Frederick William locked up his son, for a time took away the title of crown prince and forced him to see the execution of his accomplice.

After keeping him for a while in captivity, he released him to marry Isabel Cristina of Brunswick. Having regained his title of heir to the throne, Prince Frederick moved to Rheinsberg, away from his father, from then on, starting his correspondence with Voltaire, a French philosopher, who for forty years of letters sowed the spirit of the Enlightenment.

Final years and Frederick II the Great

Finally, on 31 May 1740, King Sergeant, Frederick William I of Prussia died in Potsdam. He was immediately succeeded on the throne by his son Frederick, who took the name Of Frederick II, The Great, who distinguished himself in turn by eliminating torture as punishment and declaring freedom of the press and worship.

However, although it is contradictory, unlike his father, who always forged the military character of his kingdom without undertaking any war, Frederick II triggered the Seven Years’ War, which nevertheless succeeded in defeating Austria, France and England, revealing to the world the existence of Prussia.

Image source: venamimundo.com

Frederick William I Biography
Source: Education  
July 31, 2019


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