George I

George I

b. 17/28 May 1660, Osnabrück, Hanover [1]
d. 11/22 Jun 1727, Osnabrück, Hanover [2]

Title: By the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc. = Dei gratia, Magne Britannie, Francie et Hibernie Rex, Fidei Defensor, etc.
Term: 1/12 Aug 1714 - 11/22 Jun 1727
Chronology: 1/12 Aug 1714, succeeded to the throne according to the Act of Settlement of 12 Jun 1701 (proclaimed in London 1/12 Aug 1714, in Edinburgh 5/16 Aug 1714) [3]
  18/29 Sep 1714, landed at Greenwich [4]
20/31 Oct 1714, crowned, Westminster Abbey [5]
11/22 Jun 1727, died [6]
Names/titles: Private name: Georg Ludwig (in English: George Louis); Herzog zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg (Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg) [13/23 Jan 1698 - 11/22 Jun 1727]; Erzpannerträger [from 1710 Erzschatzmeister] und Kurfürst des Heiligen Römischen Reiches (Archbannerbearer [from 1710 Archtreasurer] and Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire) [13/23 Jan 1698 - 11/22 Jun 1727]
Biography:

Son of Ernst August Herzog zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg (Kurfürst from 1692), and Sophie, a granddaughter of King James I of England. He succeeded his father in 1698. The Act of Settlement (12 Jun 1701), seeking to ensure a Protestant succession in Great Britain, decreed that, in default of issue to either King William III or Princess Anne (later Queen Anne), the crown was to pass to Sophia as granddaughter of James I, and to "the heirs of her body being Protestants." Thus, George became heir to the throne after his mother died on 8 Jun 1714 and acceded on 1/12 Aug 1714 upon the death of Queen Anne. He landed at Greenwich on 18/29 Sep 1714. The German affairs remained a primary concern for George I throughout his reign in Great Britain. He made periodic lengthy visits to Hanover [7] and was unable to speak English until the end of his life. Unpopular in England, George survived two Jacobite rebellions in 1715 and 1719. In 1715 the intrigues with the Jacobites led to dismissal of key Tory ministers including Viscount Bolingbroke, Duke of Ormonde and Stafford. As a result, George relied on the Whig ministers reasoning that the Tories were favorable to the Stuart cause. The administrative skills of George's ministers, Earl Stanhope, Viscount Townshend and Robert Walpole, strengthened the position of the House of Hanover in domestic affairs. Showing a keen interest in foreign politics, George I contributed to the formation of the third Triple Alliance with the Netherlands and France. The king's involvement in the South Sea Company affair (1720) undermined his position. However, Walpole's handling of the affair helped the king avoid a conflict with the House of Commons. Since that time the Whigs dominated political scene, and Walpole's preeminence among his colleagues earned his position of First Lord of the Treasury the unofficial title of prime minister. The Treaty of Hanover between England, France and Prussia, arranged by George I and Viscount Townshend, was signed (Sep 1725) to safeguard the British trade interests. Biography source: [8]


[1] George I was born on 28th of May and not on 28th of March as some souces including Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (Leipzig, 1875-1910) assert. For instance, The London Gazette No. 6481 (From Saturday May 28, to Tuesday May 31, 1726) reports that "Saturday last [i.e. 28 May] being His Majesty's Birth-Day, the Celebration of it at Court was deferred till to Day [i.e. 30 May]". Similar reports are found annually in the Gazette since 1715 to 1727 inclusively.
[2] A number of contradicting accounts surrounds the death of George I, who has apparently died of paralytic stroke during his trip to Hanover. Archdeacon Coxe, claiming that his account of the king's death comes from "persons at Hanover and Osnaburg, who recollected the event", believes that "the exact time and place of his death cannot be ascertained". However, Coxe adds that "On their arrival at the place of his brother, the bishop of Osnaburg, he was immediately bled, but all attempts to recover him proved ineffectual" ("Memoirs of the Life and Administration of Sir Robert Walpole, Earl Of Oxford, in three volumes", by William Coxe [London, 1800], vol. I, pp. 463-464). The London Gazette (Numb. 6590. From Tuesday June 13, to Saturday June 17, 1727) reported that "His Majesty... travelled on to his Highness the Duke of York at Osnabrug, where he arrived about Ten at Night..." and "departed this Life the 11th, about One in the Morning". A letter written by George Baillie, Esq., to the Earl of Marchmont and kept in the Marchmont papers (vol. II, p. 411) indicates that the king "arrived at Osnaburg, where he died about one o'clock on Sunday morning..."
[3] The London Gazette. Numb. 5247. From Saturday July 31, to Tuesday August 3, 1714.
[4] The London Gazette. Numb. 5261. From Saturday September 18, to Tuesday September 21, 1714.
[5] The London Gazette. Numb. 5270. From Tuesday October 19, to Saturday October 23, 1714.
[6] The London Gazette. Numb. 6590. From Tuesday June 13, to Saturday June 17, 1727.
[7] Absence from Great Britain during his reign: 1/12 Aug 1714 - 18/29 Sep 1714 (26 lords justices appointed to act as regency); 7/18 Jul 1716 - 18/29 Jan 1717 (George, Prince of Wales, styled "Guardian of the Kingdom (Realm) of Great Britain, and His Majesty's Lieutenant within the same", serving 12/23 Jul 1716 - 19/30 Jan 1717); 11/22 May 1719 - 14/25 Nov 1719; 15/26 Jun 1720 - 10/21 Nov 1720; 5/16 Jun 1723 - 28 Dec 1723/8 Jan 1724; 4/15 Jun 1725 - 3/14 Jan 1726 (George, Prince of Wales, Guardian of the Kingdom); 3/14 Jun 1727 - 11/22 Jun 1727.
[8] "George I: Elector and King", by Ragnhild Hatton (London: Thames and Hudson, 1978).
Image: studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1716.
Last updated on: 14 Mar 2010 03:57:55