Portrait of Frederick II (1720-1785), Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (1760-1785), 1773
Frederick II (German: Landgraf Friedrich II von Hessen-Kassel) (14 August 1720 – 31 October 1785) was Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel) from 1760 to 1785. He ruled as an enlightened despot, and raised money by renting soldiers (called "Hessians") to Great Britain to help fight the American Revolutionary War. He combined Enlightenment ideas with Christian values, cameralist plans for central control of the economy, and a militaristic approach toward international diplomacy. Frederick was born at Kassel in Hesse, the son of William VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel and his wife Dorothea Wilhelmine of Saxe-Zeitz. His paternal grandfather was Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, and his paternal uncle was Frederick I of Sweden. His education was initially entrusted to Colonel August Moritz von Donop and then from 1726 to 1733 to the Swiss theologian and philosopher, Jean-Pierre de Crousaz. On 8 May 1740, by proxy in London, and on 28 June 1740 in person in Kassel, Frederick married Princess Mary, fourth daughter of King George II of Great Britain and Caroline of Ansbach. After being formally separated from his wife in 1755, Friedrich entered active service in the Prussian military. In 1760, he succeeded his father as Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel. Despite Frederick's Catholicism, the principality remained Calvinist, and Frederick's children were raised as Protestants in Denmark. During the 17th and 18th centuries, it was a fairly widespread practice for smaller principalities to rent out troops to other princes. However, the practice was carried to excess in Hesse-Kassel, which maintained 7% of its entire population under arms throughout the eighteenth century. Frederick hired out so many troops to his nephew, King George III of Great Britain, for use in the American War of Independence, that "Hessian" has become an American term for all German soldiers deployed by the British in the War. Frederick used the revenue to finance his patronage of the arts and his opulent lifestyle. Landgrave Frederick II died in 1785 at Castle Weißenstein, Kassel. He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, William.
Read more: Wikipedia