On this day in 1840 Frederick William III of Prussia (b. 1770) died.
Frederick William III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. He ruled Prussia during the difficult times of the Napoleonic wars and the end of the old German Empire.
Steering a careful course between France and her enemies, after a major military defeat in 1806, he eventually and reluctantly joined the coalition against Napoleon in the Befreiungskriege.
Following Napoleon’s defeat he was King of Prussia during the Congress of Vienna which assembled to settle the political questions arising from the new, post-Napoleonic order in Europe.
At the Congress of Vienna, Frederick William’s ministers succeeded in securing important territorial increases for Prussia, although they failed to obtain the annexation of all of Saxony, as they had wished.
Following the war, Frederick William turned towards political reaction, abandoning the promises he had made in 1813 to provide Prussia with a constitution.
He died on 7 June 1840 in Berlin, survived by his second wife. His eldest son, Frederick William IV, succeeded him. Frederick William III is buried at the Mausoleum in Schlosspark Charlottenburg, Berlin.