King in Prussia
King in Prussia was a title used by the Electors of Brandenburg from 1701 to 1772. Subsequently they used the title King of Prussia.

The Prince-Elector
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

 of Brandenburg
Brandenburg is one of the sixteen federal-states of Germany. It lies in the east of the country and is one of the new federal states that were re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former West Germany and East Germany. The capital is Potsdam...

 was a subject of the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

. In addition to his electorate which was part of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, he also ruled the Duchy of Prussia which lay outside of the Empire. The Duchy was originally a fief that the Dukes held of the King of Poland, of whom they were vassals, until the Treaties of Labiau
Treaty of Labiau
The Treaty of Labiau was a treaty signed between Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg and Charles X Gustav of Sweden on 10 November / 20 November 1656 in Labiau...

 (1656) and Bromberg
Treaty of Bromberg
The Treaty of Bromberg or Treaty of Bydgoszcz was a treaty between John II Casimir of Poland and Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg-Prussia, ratified at Bromberg on 6 November 1657...

 (1657), with which Frederick William I had achieved full sovereignty from the Polish Crown. While formally only a Margrave
A margrave or margravine was a medieval hereditary nobleman with military responsibilities in a border province of a kingdom. Border provinces usually had more exposure to military incursions from the outside, compared to interior provinces, and thus a margrave usually had larger and more active...

 within the Empire, in 1701 Elector Frederick III
Frederick I of Prussia
Frederick I , of the Hohenzollern dynasty, was Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia in personal union . The latter function he upgraded to royalty, becoming the first King in Prussia . From 1707 he was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel...

 wanted to show his greatness by adopting the title king
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

. At the time there were only three royal titles within the Empire: "King of the Germans" (a title held by the Emperor), "King of Bohemia" (often held by the Emperor as well), and "King of the Romans
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

" (held by the Emperor's heir).

In return for Hohenzollern assistance in the War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

 and support for the Habsburg candidate in the subsequent election, Emperor Leopold I
Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
| style="float:right;" | Leopold I was a Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and King of Bohemia. A member of the Habsburg family, he was the second son of Emperor Ferdinand III and his first wife, Maria Anna of Spain. His maternal grandparents were Philip III of Spain and Margaret of Austria...

 allowed Frederick to crown himself "King in Prussia", not "King of Prussia"; Frederick was only an elector in his domains within the borders of the Empire, not a king; he was only king in his former Duchy.

On 17 January 1701, Frederick dedicated the Royal coat of arms, the Prussian black eagle with the motto "suum cuique" imprinted. On 18 January, he crowned himself and his wife Sophie Charlotte in a baroque ceremony in Königsberg Castle
Königsberg Castle
The Königsberg Castle was a castle in Königsberg, Germany , and was one of the landmarks of the East Prussian capital Königsberg.- History :...


Even so, his move was controversial, and only became widely accepted after the Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Utrecht
The Treaty of Utrecht, which established the Peace of Utrecht, comprises a series of individual peace treaties, rather than a single document, signed by the belligerents in the War of Spanish Succession, in the Dutch city of Utrecht in March and April 1713...

 in 1713. The title "King of Prussia" implied lordship over the entire Prussian region, not simply the Duchy of Prussia, and the assumption of such a title by the Hohenzollern margraves would have threatened neighboring Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

; because the province of Royal Prussia
Royal Prussia
Royal Prussia was a Region of the Kingdom of Poland and of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth . Polish Prussia included Pomerelia, Chełmno Land , Malbork Voivodeship , Gdańsk , Toruń , and Elbląg . It is distinguished from Ducal Prussia...

 was part of the Kingdom of Poland
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...

, the Kings of Poland titled themselves Kings of Prussia until 1742.

Throughout the 18th century the power of the Kings in Prussia continued to increase. They were victorious over the Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 in the three Silesian Wars
Silesian Wars
The Silesian Wars were a series of wars between Prussia and Austria for control of Silesia. They formed parts of the larger War of the Austrian Succession and Seven Years' War. They eventually ended with Silesia being incorporated into Prussia, and Austrian recognition of this...

, greatly increasing their power through the acquisition of Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

. King Frederick II
Frederick II of Prussia
Frederick II was a King in Prussia and a King of Prussia from the Hohenzollern dynasty. In his role as a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire, he was also Elector of Brandenburg. He was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel...

 adopted the title King of Prussia in 1772, the same year he annexed most of Royal Prussia in the First Partition of Poland
Partitions of Poland
The Partitions of Poland or Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth took place in the second half of the 18th century and ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland for 123 years...

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