George I of Great Britain
Overview
 
George I was King of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 and Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

 from 1 August 1714 until his death, and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) in 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...

 from 1698.

George was born in Hanover
Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

, in what is now Germany, and inherited the titles and lands of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg from his father and uncles. A succession of European wars expanded his German domains during his lifetime, and in 1708 he was ratified as prince-elector
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 Hanover.
Encyclopedia
George I was King of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 and Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

 from 1 August 1714 until his death, and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) in 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...

 from 1698.

George was born in Hanover
Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

, in what is now Germany, and inherited the titles and lands of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg from his father and uncles. A succession of European wars expanded his German domains during his lifetime, and in 1708 he was ratified as prince-elector
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 Hanover. At the age of 54, after the death of Queen Anne of Great Britain, George ascended the British throne
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

 as the first monarch of the House of Hanover
House of Hanover
The House of Hanover is a deposed German royal dynasty which has ruled the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg , the Kingdom of Hanover, the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Kingdom of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

. Although over fifty Roman Catholics bore closer blood relationships to Anne, the Act of Settlement 1701
Act of Settlement 1701
The Act of Settlement is an act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the succession to the English throne on the Electress Sophia of Hanover and her Protestant heirs. The act was later extended to Scotland, as a result of the Treaty of Union , enacted in the Acts of Union...

 prohibited Catholics from inheriting the British throne. George, however, was Anne's closest living Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 relative. In reaction, Jacobites
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 attempted to depose George and replace him with Anne's Catholic half-brother, James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

, but their attempts failed.

During George's reign the powers of the monarchy diminished and Britain began a transition to the modern system of cabinet government led by a prime minister. Towards the end of his reign, actual power was held by Sir Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, KG, KB, PC , known before 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman who is generally regarded as having been the first Prime Minister of Great Britain....

, Britain's first de facto prime minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

. George died on a trip to his native Hanover, where he was buried.

Early life

George was born on 28 May 1660 in Hanover in 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 was the eldest son of Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Brunswick-Lüneburg
The Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg , or more properly Duchy of Brunswick and Lüneburg, was an historical ducal state from the late Middle Ages until the late Early Modern era within the North-Western domains of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, in what is now northern Germany...

, and his wife, Sophia of the Rhineland Palatinate
Sophia of Hanover
Sophia of the Palatinate was an heiress to the crowns of England and Ireland and later the crown of Great Britain. She was declared heiress presumptive by the Act of Settlement 1701...

. Sophia was the granddaughter of King James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 of England through her mother, Elizabeth of Bohemia
Elizabeth of Bohemia
Elizabeth of Bohemia was the eldest daughter of King James VI and I, King of Scotland, England, Ireland, and Anne of Denmark. As the wife of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, she was Electress Palatine and briefly Queen of Bohemia...

.

For the first year of his life, George was the only heir to the German territories of his father and three childless uncles. In 1661 George's brother, Frederick Augustus, was born and the two boys (known as Görgen and Gustchen within the family) were brought up together. Their mother was absent for almost a year (1664–5) during a long convalescent holiday in Italy, but she corresponded regularly with her sons' governess and took a great interest in her sons' upbringing, even more so on her return. After Sophia's tour she bore Ernest Augustus another four sons and a daughter. In her letters Sophia describes George as a responsible, conscientious child who set an example to his younger brothers and sisters.

By 1675 George's eldest uncle had died without issue, but his remaining two uncles had married, putting George's inheritance in jeopardy as his uncles' estates might pass to their own sons, should they have had any, instead of to George. George's father took him hunting and riding, and introduced him to military matters; mindful of his uncertain future, Ernest Augustus took the fifteen-year-old George on campaign in the Franco-Dutch War
Franco-Dutch War
The Franco-Dutch War, often called simply the Dutch War was a war fought by France, Sweden, the Bishopric of Münster, the Archbishopric of Cologne and England against the United Netherlands, which were later joined by the Austrian Habsburg lands, Brandenburg and Spain to form a quadruple alliance...

 with the deliberate purpose of testing and training his son in battle.

In 1679 another uncle died unexpectedly without sons and Ernest Augustus became reigning Duke of Calenberg-Göttingen
Principality of Göttingen
The Principality of Göttingen was a subdivision of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire with Göttingen as its capital. It was split off from the principality of Brunswick in 1286 in the course of an estate division among members of the House of Welf...

, with his capital at Hanover. George's surviving uncle, George William of Celle
George William, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
George William was duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and ruled first over the Principality of Calenberg, a subdivision of the duchy, then over the Lüneburg subdivision. In 1689 he occupied the Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg....

, had married his mistress in order to legitimise his only daughter, Sophia Dorothea of Celle
Sophia Dorothea of Celle
Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick and Lunenburg was the wife and cousin of George Louis, Elector of Hanover, later George I of Great Britain, and mother of George II through an arranged marriage of state, instigated by the machinations of Duchess Sophia of Hanover...

, but looked unlikely to have any further children. Under Salic law
Salic law
Salic law was a body of traditional law codified for governing the Salian Franks in the early Middle Ages during the reign of King Clovis I in the 6th century...

, where inheritance of territory was restricted to the male line, the succession of George and his brothers to the territories of their father and uncle now seemed secure. In 1682, the family agreed to adopt the principle of primogeniture
Primogeniture
Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings . Historically, the term implied male primogeniture, to the exclusion of females...

, meaning George would inherit all the territory and not have to share it with his brothers.

Marriage

The same year, George married his first cousin, Sophia Dorothea of Celle
Sophia Dorothea of Celle
Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick and Lunenburg was the wife and cousin of George Louis, Elector of Hanover, later George I of Great Britain, and mother of George II through an arranged marriage of state, instigated by the machinations of Duchess Sophia of Hanover...

, thereby securing additional incomes that would have been outside Salic laws requiring male inheritance. The marriage of state
Marriage of state
A marriage of state in ancient use is a diplomatic marriage or union between two members of different nation-states or internally, between two power blocks, usually in authoritarian societies and is a practice which dates back into pre-history, as far back as early Grecian cultures in western...

 was arranged primarily as it ensured a healthy annual income and assisted the eventual unification of Hanover and Celle. His mother was at first against the marriage because she looked down on Sophia Dorothea's mother (who was not of royal birth), and because she was concerned by Sophia Dorothea's legitimated status. However, she was eventually won over by the advantages inherent in the marriage.

In 1683, George and his brother, Frederick Augustus, served in the Great Turkish War
Great Turkish War
The Great Turkish War refers to a series of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and contemporary European powers, then joined into a Holy League, during the second half of the 17th century.-1667–1683:...

 at the Battle of Vienna
Battle of Vienna
The Battle of Vienna took place on 11 and 12 September 1683 after Vienna had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire for two months...

, and Sophia Dorothea bore George a son, George Augustus
George II of Great Britain
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death.George was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain. He was born and brought up in Northern Germany...

. The following year, Frederick Augustus was informed of the adoption of primogeniture, meaning he would no longer receive part of his father's territory as he had expected. It led to a breach between father and son, and between the brothers, that lasted until Frederick Augustus's death in battle in 1690. With the imminent formation of a single Hanoverian state, and the Hanoverians' continuing contributions to the Empire's wars, Ernest Augustus was made an Elector of the Holy Roman Empire in 1692. George's prospects were now better than ever as the sole heir to his father's electorate and his uncle's duchy.

Sophia Dorothea had a second child, a daughter named after her, in 1687 but there were no other pregnancies. The couple became estranged—George preferred the company of his mistress, Melusine von der Schulenburg, by whom he had two daughters in 1692 and 1693; and Sophia Dorothea, meanwhile, had her own romance with the Swedish Count Philip Christoph von Königsmarck
Philip Christoph von Königsmarck
Philip Christoph von Königsmarck or Philipp Christoph Königsmarck, was a Swedish count of Brandenburgian extraction and a soldier...

. Threatened with the scandal of an elopement, the Hanoverian court, including George's brothers and Sophia, urged the lovers to desist, but to no avail. According to diplomatic sources from Hanover's enemies, in July 1694 the count was killed, possibly with the connivance of George, and his body thrown into the river Leine
Leine
The Leine is a river in Thuringia and Lower Saxony, Germany. It is a left tributary of the Aller river and 281 km in length.The river's source is located close to the town of Leinefelde in Thuringia...

 weighted with stones. The murder was claimed to have been committed by four of Ernest Augustus's courtiers, one of whom (Don Nicolò Montalbano) was paid the enormous sum of 150,000 thaler
Thaler
The Thaler was a silver coin used throughout Europe for almost four hundred years. Its name lives on in various currencies as the dollar or tolar. Etymologically, "Thaler" is an abbreviation of "Joachimsthaler", a coin type from the city of Joachimsthal in Bohemia, where some of the first such...

s, which was about one hundred times the annual salary of the highest paid minister. Later rumours supposed that Königsmarck was hacked to pieces and buried beneath the Hanover palace floorboards. However, sources in Hanover itself, including Sophia, denied any knowledge of Königsmarck's whereabouts.

George's marriage to Sophia Dorothea was dissolved, not on the grounds that either of them had committed adultery, but on the grounds that Sophia Dorothea had abandoned her husband. With the concurrence of her father, George had Sophia Dorothea imprisoned in Ahlden House in her native Celle
Celle
Celle is a town and capital of the district of Celle, in Lower Saxony, Germany. The town is situated on the banks of the River Aller, a tributary of the Weser and has a population of about 71,000...

, where she stayed until she died more than thirty years later. She was denied access to her children and father, forbidden to remarry and only allowed to walk unaccompanied within the mansion courtyard. She was, however, endowed with an income, establishment, and servants, and was allowed to ride in a carriage outside her castle, albeit under supervision.

Electoral reign

Ernest Augustus died on 23 January 1698 leaving all of his territories to George with the exception of the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück
Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück
The Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück was a prince-bishopric centred on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Osnabrück. The diocese was erected in 772 and is the oldest see founded by Charlemagne, in order to Christianize the conquered stem-duchy of Saxony....

, an office he had held since 1661. George thus became Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Brunswick-Lüneburg
The Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg , or more properly Duchy of Brunswick and Lüneburg, was an historical ducal state from the late Middle Ages until the late Early Modern era within the North-Western domains of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, in what is now northern Germany...

 (also known as Hanover, after its capital) as well as Archbannerbearer and a Prince-Elector
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 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...

. His court in Hanover was graced by many cultural icons such as the mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German philosopher and mathematician. He wrote in different languages, primarily in Latin , French and German ....

 and the composer George Frideric Händel
George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

.

Shortly after George's accession to his paternal dukedom, Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, who was second-in-line to the English and Scottish thrones, died. By the terms of the English Act of Settlement 1701
Act of Settlement 1701
The Act of Settlement is an act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the succession to the English throne on the Electress Sophia of Hanover and her Protestant heirs. The act was later extended to Scotland, as a result of the Treaty of Union , enacted in the Acts of Union...

, George's mother, Sophia, was designated as the heir to the English throne if the then reigning monarch (William III
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

) and his sister-in-law, Princess Anne of Denmark
Anne of Great Britain
Anne ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Act of Union, two of her realms, England and Scotland, were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.Anne's Catholic father, James II and VII, was deposed during the...

 (later Queen Anne) died without surviving issue. The succession was so designed because Sophia was the closest Protestant relative of the British Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

; fifty-six Catholic relations with superior hereditary claims were bypassed. The likelihood of any of them converting to Protestantism for the sake of the succession was remote; some had already refused.

In August 1701 George was invested with the Order of the Garter
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

 and, within six weeks, the nearest Catholic claimant to the throne of England, ex-King James II
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

, died. William III died the following March and was succeeded by Anne. Sophia became heir presumptive to the new Queen of England. Sophia was in her seventy-first year, older than Anne by thirty-five years, but she was very fit and healthy and invested time and energy in securing the succession either for herself or her son. However, it was George who understood the complexities of English politics and constitutional law
History of the British constitution
The History of the Constitution of the United Kingdom is a story that begins before the creation of the United Kingdom itself and continues to the present day...

, which required further acts in 1705 to naturalise Sophia and her heirs as English subjects, and to detail arrangements for the transfer of power through a Regency Council. In the same year, George's surviving uncle died and he inherited further German dominions: the Principality of Lüneburg
Principality of Lüneburg
The Principality of Lüneburg was a territorial division of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg within the Holy Roman Empire, immediately subordinate to the emperor. It existed from 1269 until 1705 and its territory lay within the modern-day state of Lower Saxony in Germany...

-Grubenhagen, centred at Celle
Celle
Celle is a town and capital of the district of Celle, in Lower Saxony, Germany. The town is situated on the banks of the River Aller, a tributary of the Weser and has a population of about 71,000...

.

Shortly after George's accession in Hanover, 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...

 broke out. At issue was the right of Philip
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

, the grandson of King Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

, to succeed to the Spanish throne under the terms of King Charles II of Spain
Charles II of Spain
Charles II was the last Habsburg King of Spain and the ruler of large parts of Italy, the Spanish territories in the Southern Low Countries, and Spain's overseas Empire, stretching from the Americas to the Spanish East Indies...

's will
Will (law)
A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his/her estate and provides for the transfer of his/her property at death...

. 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...

, the United Dutch Provinces
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

, England, Hanover and many other German states opposed Philip's right to succeed because they feared that the French House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 would become too powerful if it also controlled Spain. As part of the war effort, George invaded his neighbouring state, Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, which was pro-French, writing out some of the battle orders himself. The invasion succeeded with few lives lost. As a reward, the prior Hanoverian annexation of the Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg
Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg
The Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg between the 14th and 17th centuries), later also known as the Duchy of Lauenburg, was a reichsfrei duchy that existed 1296–1803 and 1814–1876 in the extreme southeast region of what is now Schleswig-Holstein...

 by George's uncle, was recognised by the British and Dutch.

In 1706, the Elector of Bavaria
Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria
Maximilian II , also known as Max Emanuel or Maximilian Emanuel, was a Wittelsbach ruler of Bavaria and an elector of the Holy Roman Empire. He was also the last Governor of the Spanish Netherlands and duke of Luxembourg...

 was deprived of his offices and titles for siding with Louis against the Empire. The following year, George was invested as an Imperial Field Marshal with command of the imperial army stationed along the Rhine. His tenure was not altogether successful, partly because he was deceived by his ally, the Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Prince of Mindelheim, KG, PC , was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs through the late 17th and early 18th centuries...

, into a diversionary attack, and partly because Emperor Joseph I
Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor
Joseph I , Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia, King of Hungary, King of the Romans was the elder son of Emperor Leopold I and his third wife, Eleonor Magdalene of Neuburg....

 appropriated the funds necessary for George's campaign for his own use. Despite this, the German princes thought that he had acquitted himself well. In 1708 they formally confirmed George's position as a Prince-Elector
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...

 in recognition of, or because of, his service. George did not hold Marlborough's actions against him which he understood were part of a plan to lure French forces from the main attack.

In 1709, George resigned as Field Marshal, never to go on active service again. In 1710, he was granted the dignity of Archtreasurer of the Empire, an office formerly held by the Elector Palatine—the absence of the Elector of Bavaria allowed a reshuffling of offices. The death of the Emperor in 1711 threatened to destroy the balance of power in the opposite direction, so the war ended in 1713 with the ratification of 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...

. Philip was allowed to succeed to the Spanish throne but was removed from the line of succession to the French throne, and the Elector of Bavaria was restored.

Accession in Great Britain

Though both England and Scotland recognised Anne as their Queen, only the English Parliament had settled on Sophia, Electress of Hanover, as the heir. The Parliament of Scotland
Parliament of Scotland
The Parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The unicameral parliament of Scotland is first found on record during the early 13th century, with the first meeting for which a primary source survives at...

 had not formally settled the succession question for the Scottish throne. In 1703, the Estates passed a bill that declared that their selection for Queen Anne's successor would not be the same individual as the successor to the English throne, unless England granted full freedom of trade to Scottish merchants in England and its colonies. At first Royal Assent
Royal Assent
The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law...

 was withheld but the following year Anne capitulated to the wishes of the Estates and assent was granted to the bill, which became the Act of Security 1704
Act of Security 1704
The Act of Security 1704 was a response by the Parliament of Scotland to the Parliament of England's Act of Settlement 1701. Queen Anne's last surviving child, William, Duke of Gloucester had died in 1700, and both parliaments needed to find a Protestant successor...

. In response the English Parliament passed measures which threatened to restrict Anglo-Scottish trade and cripple the Scottish economy if the Estates did not agree to the Hanoverian succession. Eventually, in 1707, both Parliaments agreed on an Act of Union
Acts of Union 1707
The Acts of Union were two Parliamentary Acts - the Union with Scotland Act passed in 1706 by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland - which put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706,...

 which united England and Scotland into a single political entity, the Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

, and established the rules of succession as laid down by the Act of Settlement 1701
Act of Settlement 1701
The Act of Settlement is an act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the succession to the English throne on the Electress Sophia of Hanover and her Protestant heirs. The act was later extended to Scotland, as a result of the Treaty of Union , enacted in the Acts of Union...

. The union created the largest free trade area in eighteenth century Europe.

Whig
British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

 politicians believed Parliament had the right to determine the succession, and bestow it on the nearest Protestant relation of the Queen, while many Tories
Tory
Toryism is a traditionalist and conservative political philosophy which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom, but also features in parts of The Commonwealth, particularly in Canada...

 were more inclined to believe in the hereditary right of the Stuarts. In 1710, George announced that he would succeed in Britain by hereditary right, as the right had only been removed from the Catholic Stuarts, and he retained it. "This declaration was meant to scotch any Whig interpretation that parliament had given him the kingdom [and] ... convince the Tories that he was no usurper."

George's mother, the Electress Sophia, died on 28 May 1714 at the age of 83. She had collapsed after rushing to shelter from a shower of rain in Herrenhausen gardens
Herrenhausen Gardens
The Herrenhausen Gardens , located in Lower Saxony's capital of Hanover are made up of the Great Garden , the Berggarten, the Georgengarten and the Welfengarten. The gardens are a heritage of the Kings of Hanover.The Great Garden has always been one of the most distinguished baroque formal gardens...

. George was now Queen Anne's direct heir. He swiftly revised the membership of the Regency Council that would take power after Anne's death, as it was known that Anne's health was failing and politicians in Britain were jostling for power. She suffered a stroke, which left her unable to speak and died on 1 August. The list of regents was opened, the members sworn in, and George was proclaimed King of Great Britain and Ireland. Partly due to contrary winds, which kept him in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 awaiting passage, he did not arrive in Britain until 18 September. George was crowned at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 on 20 October.
James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...



King of England,
Scotland and Ireland
See Descendants
Descendants of James I of England
James VI and I was, from 1567, King of Scots and, from 1603, King of England and Ireland, being the first monarch of the House of Stuart to rule all three countries....

Daughter Granddaughter Great-grandson
Elizabeth of Bohemia
Elizabeth of Bohemia
Elizabeth of Bohemia was the eldest daughter of King James VI and I, King of Scotland, England, Ireland, and Anne of Denmark. As the wife of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, she was Electress Palatine and briefly Queen of Bohemia...



Electress Palatine and
Queen of Bohemia
Sophia of Hanover
Sophia of Hanover
Sophia of the Palatinate was an heiress to the crowns of England and Ireland and later the crown of Great Britain. She was declared heiress presumptive by the Act of Settlement 1701...



Electress of Hanover
George I

King of Great Britain and Ireland


George mainly lived in Great Britain after 1714 though he visited his home in Hanover in 1716, 1719, 1720, 1723 and 1725; in total George spent about one fifth of his reign as King in Germany. A clause in the Act of Settlement that forbade the British monarch from leaving the country without Parliament's permission was unanimously repealed in 1716. During all but the first of the King's absences power was vested in a Regency Council rather than his son, George Augustus, Prince of Wales.

Wars and rebellions

Within a year of George's accession the Whigs won an overwhelming victory in the general election of 1715
British general election, 1715
The British general election of 1715 returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 5th Parliament of Great Britain to be held, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707...

. Several members of the defeated Tory Party sympathised with the Jacobites
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

, and some disgruntled Tories sided with a Jacobite rebellion which became known as "The Fifteen". The Jacobites sought to put Anne's Catholic half-brother, James Stuart
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

 (called "James III" by his supporters and "the Pretender" by his opponents), on the Throne. The Pretender's supporters, led by Lord Mar
John Erskine, 22nd Earl of Mar
John Erskine, 22nd and de jure 6th Earl of Mar, KT , Scottish Jacobite, was the eldest son of the 21st Earl of Mar , from whom he inherited estates that were heavily loaded with debt. By modern reckoning he was 22nd Earl of Mar of the first creation and de jure 6th Earl of Mar of the seventh...

, an embittered Scottish nobleman who had previously supported the "Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

", instigated rebellion in Scotland where support for Jacobitism was stronger than in England. "The Fifteen", however, was a dismal failure; Lord Mar's battle plans were poor, and the Pretender arrived late with too little money and too few arms. By the end of the year the rebellion had all but collapsed. Faced with impending defeat, Lord Mar and the Pretender fled to France in February 1716. After the rebellion was defeated, although there were some executions and forfeitures, George acted to moderate the Government's response, showed leniency, and spent the income from the forfeited estates on schools for Scotland and paying off part of the national debt.

George's distrust of the Tories aided the passing of power to the Whigs. Whig dominance would grow to be so great under George that the Tories would not return to power for another half-century. After the election, the Whig-dominated Parliament passed the Septennial Act 1715
Septennial Act 1715
The Septennial Act 1715 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain. It was passed in May 1716. It increased the maximum length of a parliament from three years to seven...

, which extended the maximum duration of Parliament to seven years (although it could be dissolved earlier by the Sovereign). Thus Whigs already in power could remain in such a position for a greater period of time.

After his accession in Great Britain, George's relationship with his son (which had always been poor) worsened. George Augustus, Prince of Wales, encouraged opposition to his father's policies, including measures designed to increase religious freedom in Britain and expand Hanover's German territories at the expense of Sweden. In 1717 the birth of a grandson led to a major quarrel between George and the Prince of Wales. The King, supposedly following custom, appointed the Lord Chamberlain
Lord Chamberlain
The Lord Chamberlain or Lord Chamberlain of the Household is one of the chief officers of the Royal Household in the United Kingdom and is to be distinguished from the Lord Great Chamberlain, one of the Great Officers of State....

, the Duke of Newcastle
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and 1st Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, KG, PC was a British Whig statesman, whose official life extended throughout the Whig supremacy of the 18th century. He is commonly known as the Duke of Newcastle.A protégé of Sir Robert Walpole, he served...

, as one of the baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

al sponsors of the child. The King was angered when the Prince of Wales, disliking Newcastle, verbally insulted the Duke at the christening, which the Duke misunderstood as a challenge to a duel. The Prince was told to leave the royal residence, St. James's Palace
St. James's Palace
St. James's Palace is one of London's oldest palaces. It is situated in Pall Mall, just north of St. James's Park. Although no sovereign has resided there for almost two centuries, it has remained the official residence of the Sovereign and the most senior royal palace in the UK...

. The Prince's new home, Leicester House
Leicester Square
Leicester Square is a pedestrianised square in the West End of London, England. The Square lies within an area bound by Lisle Street, to the north; Charing Cross Road, to the east; Orange Street, to the south; and Whitcomb Street, to the west...

, became a meeting place for the King's political opponents. George and his son were later reconciled at the insistence of Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, KG, KB, PC , known before 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman who is generally regarded as having been the first Prime Minister of Great Britain....

 and the desire of the Princess of Wales
Caroline of Ansbach
Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach was the queen consort of King George II of Great Britain.Her father, John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, was the ruler of a small German state...

, who had moved out with her husband but missed her children who had been left in the care of the King. Following the quarrel at the baptism, father and son would never again be on cordial terms.

George was active in directing British foreign policy during his early reign. In 1717 he contributed to the creation of the Triple Alliance
Triple Alliance (1717)
The Triple Alliance was a treaty between the Dutch Republic, France and Great Britain, against Spain, attempting to maintain the agreement of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. The three states were concerned about Spain becoming a superpower in Europe. As a result of this militarisation took place,...

, an anti-Spanish league composed of Great Britain, France and the United Provinces
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

. In 1718 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...

 was added to the body which became known as the Quadruple Alliance
Quadruple Alliance
The term "Quadruple Alliance" refers to several historical military alliances; none of which remain in effect.# The Quadruple Alliance of August 1673 was an alliance between the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Spain, Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine, and the United Provinces of the Netherlands, in...

. The subsequent War of the Quadruple Alliance
War of the Quadruple Alliance
The War of the Quadruple Alliance was a result of the ambitions of King Philip V of Spain, his wife, Elisabeth Farnese, and his chief minister Giulio Alberoni to retake territories in Italy and to claim the French throne. It saw the defeat of Spain by an alliance of Britain, France, Austria , and...

 involved the same issue as the War of the Spanish Succession. The Treaty of Utrecht (1713) had recognised the grandson of King Louis XIV of France, Philip, as the King of Spain on the condition that he gave up his rights to succeed to the French throne. Upon the death of Louis XIV in 1715, however, Philip sought to overturn the treaty.

Spain supported a Jacobite-led invasion of Scotland in 1719 but stormy seas allowed only about three hundred Spanish troops to arrive in Scotland. A base was established at Eilean Donan
Eilean Donan
Eilean Donan is a small island in Loch Duich in the western Highlands of Scotland. It is connected to the mainland by a footbridge and lies about half a mile from the village of Dornie. Eilean Donan is named after Donnán of Eigg, a Celtic saint martyred in 617...

 Castle on the west Scottish coast, only for it to be destroyed by British ships a month later. Attempts by the Jacobites to recruit Scottish clansmen yielded a fighting force of only about a thousand men. The Jacobites were poorly equipped, and were easily defeated by British artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 at the Battle of Glen Shiel
Battle of Glen Shiel
The Battle of Glen Shiel was a battle in Glen Shiel, in the West Highlands of Scotland on 10 June 1719, between British government troops and an alliance of Jacobites and Spaniards, resulting in a victory for the government forces. It was the last close engagement of British and foreign troops on...

. The clansmen dispersed into the Highlands
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

, and the Spaniards surrendered. The invasion never posed any serious threat to George's government. With the French this time fighting against him in the War, Philip's armies fared poorly. As a result the Spanish and French thrones remained separate.

Simultaneously Hanover gained from the resolution of the Great Northern War
Great Northern War
The Great Northern War was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in northern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of...

 which had been caused by rivalry between Sweden
Swedish Empire
The Swedish Empire refers to the Kingdom of Sweden between 1561 and 1721 . During this time, Sweden was one of the great European powers. In Swedish, the period is called Stormaktstiden, literally meaning "the Great Power Era"...

 and Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 for control of the Baltic
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. The Swedish territories of Bremen and Verden
Bremen-Verden
Bremen-Verden, formally the Duchies of Bremen and Verden , were two territories and immediate fiefs of the Holy Roman Empire, which emerged and gained Imperial immediacy in 1180...

 were ceded to Hanover in 1719, with Hanover paying Sweden monetary compensation for the loss of territory.

Ministries

In Hanover the King was absolute monarch. All government expenditure above 50 thalers (between 12 and 13 British pounds
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

), and the appointment of all army officers, all ministers, and even government officials above the level of copyist, was in his personal control. In contrast in Great Britain George had to govern through Parliament.

In 1715 when the Whigs came to power, George's chief ministers included Sir Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, KG, KB, PC , known before 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman who is generally regarded as having been the first Prime Minister of Great Britain....

, Lord Townshend
Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend
Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend Bt, KG, PC was a British Whig statesman. He served for a decade as Secretary of State, directing British foreign policy...

 (Walpole's brother-in-law), Lord Stanhope
James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope
James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope PC was a British statesman and soldier who effectively served as Chief Minister between 1717 and 1721. He is probably best remembered for his service during War of the Spanish Succession...

 and Lord Sunderland
Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland
Sir Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland KG PC , known as Lord Spencer from 1688 to 1702, was an English statesman...

. In 1717 Lord Townshend was dismissed and Walpole resigned from the Cabinet over disagreements with their colleagues; Lord Stanhope became supreme in foreign affairs, and Lord Sunderland the same in domestic matters.

Lord Sunderland's power began to wane in 1719. He introduced a Peerage Bill which attempted to limit the size of the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 by restricting new creations. The measure would have solidified Sunderland's control of the House by preventing the creation of opposition peers but it was defeated after Walpole led the opposition to the bill by delivering what was considered "the most brilliant speech of his career". Walpole and Townshend were reappointed as ministers the following year and a new, supposedly unified, Whig government formed.

Greater problems arose over financial speculation and the management of the national debt. Certain government bonds could not be redeemed without the consent of the bondholder and had been issued when interest rates were high; consequently each bond represented a long-term drain on public finances, as bonds were hardly ever redeemed. In 1719 the South Sea Company proposed to take over £31 million (three fifths) of the British national debt by exchanging government securities for stock in the company. The Company bribed Lord Sunderland, Melusine von der Schulenburg and Lord Stanhope's cousin, Charles Stanhope, who was Secretary of the Treasury, to support their plan. The Company enticed bondholders to convert their high-interest, irredeemable bonds to low-interest, easily-tradeable stocks by offering apparently preferential financial gains. Company prices rose rapidly; the shares had cost £128 on 1 January 1720, but were valued at £500 when the conversion scheme opened in May. On 24 June the price reached a peak of £1050. The company's success led to the speculative flotation of other companies, some of a bogus nature, and the Government, in an attempt to suppress these schemes and with the support of the Company, passed the Bubble Act
Bubble Act
Bubble Act 1720 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain that forbade all joint-stock companies not authorised by royal charter. It was passed on 9 June 1720, and was also known as the Royal Exchange and London Assurance Corporation Act 1719, because those companies were incorporated under...

. With the rise in the market now halted, uncontrolled selling began in August, which caused the stock to plummet to £150 by the end of September. Many individuals—including aristocrats—lost vast sums and some were completely ruined. George, who had been in Hanover since June, returned to London in November—sooner than he wanted or was usual—at the request of the ministry.

The economic crisis, known as the South Sea Bubble, made George and his ministers extremely unpopular. In 1721 Lord Stanhope, though personally innocent, collapsed and died after a stressful debate in the House of Lords, and Lord Sunderland resigned from public office. Lord Sunderland retained a degree of personal influence with George until his sudden death in 1722 allowed the rise of Sir Robert Walpole. Walpole became de facto Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

, although the title was not formally applied to him (officially, he was First Lord of the Treasury
First Lord of the Treasury
The First Lord of the Treasury is the head of the commission exercising the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer in the United Kingdom, and is now always also the Prime Minister...

 and Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

). His management of the South Sea crisis, by rescheduling the debts and arranging some compensation, helped the return to financial stability. Through Walpole's skillful management of Parliament, George managed to avoid direct implication in the Company's fraudulent actions. Claims that George had received free stock as a bribe are not supported by evidence; indeed receipts in the Royal Archives
Royal Archives
The Royal Archives, also known as the Queen's Archives, are a division of the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. It is operationally under the control of the Keeper of the Royal Archives, who is customarily the Private Secretary to the Sovereign.Although Sovereigns have kept...

 show that he paid for his subscriptions and that he lost money in the crash.

Later years

As requested by Walpole, George revived The Most Honourable Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

 in 1725 which enabled Walpole to reward or gain political supporters by offering them the honour. Walpole became extremely powerful and was largely able to appoint ministers of his own choosing. Unlike his predecessor, Queen Anne, George rarely attended meetings of the Cabinet; most of his communications were in private, and he only exercised substantial influence with respect to British foreign policy. With the aid of Lord Townshend, he arranged for the ratification by Great Britain, France and Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 of the Treaty of Hanover
Treaty of Hanover
The Treaty of Hanover was developed in response to the Treaty of Vienna in which King Philip V of Spain allied himself with Habsburg Austria after his daughter's engagement to Louis XV of France was broken off. This accord was concluded by Great Britain, France and Prussia on September 3, 1725...

, which was designed to counter-balance the Austro-Spanish Treaty of Vienna
Treaty of Vienna (1725)
The Treaty of Vienna was signed on April 30, 1725 between Emperor Charles VI of Austria and King Philip V of Spain.The treaty guaranteed the Pragmatic Sanction of the Habsburgs, which was first declared in 1713. Based on the terms of the treaty, the Austrian Empire relinquished all claims to the...

 and protect British trade.

George, although increasingly reliant on Walpole, could still have replaced his ministers at will. Walpole was actually afraid of being removed towards the end of George I's reign, but such fears were put to an end when George died during his sixth trip to his native Hanover since his accession as King. He suffered a stroke on the road between Delden
Delden
Delden is a city in the Dutch province of Overijssel and, since 2001, in the municipality of Hof van Twente.Although its population is small, it gained city rights in 1333. Castle Twickel is a famous landmark near Delden and the Baron van Heeckeren of Twickel built a watertower in Delden...

 and Nordhorn
Nordhorn
Nordhorn is the district seat of Grafschaft Bentheim in Lower Saxony's southwesternmost corner near the border with the Netherlands and the boundary with North Rhine-Westphalia.- Name's origin :...

 on the 9 June 1727, and was taken by carriage to the Prince-Bishop's palace at Osnabrück where he died in the early hours of 11 June 1727. He was buried in the Chapel of Leine Castle
Leineschloss
The Leineschloss , situated on the Leine in Hanover, Germany, is the former residence of the Hanoverian kings and the current seat of the Landtag of Lower Saxony....

 but his remains were moved to the chapel at Herrenhausen
Herrenhausen Gardens
The Herrenhausen Gardens , located in Lower Saxony's capital of Hanover are made up of the Great Garden , the Berggarten, the Georgengarten and the Welfengarten. The gardens are a heritage of the Kings of Hanover.The Great Garden has always been one of the most distinguished baroque formal gardens...

 after World War II.

George was succeeded by his son, George Augustus, who took the throne as George II
George II of Great Britain
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death.George was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain. He was born and brought up in Northern Germany...

. It was widely assumed, even by Walpole for a time, that George II planned to remove Walpole from office but was prevented from doing so by his wife, Queen Caroline
Caroline of Ansbach
Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach was the queen consort of King George II of Great Britain.Her father, John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, was the ruler of a small German state...

. However, Walpole commanded a substantial majority in Parliament and George II had little choice but to retain him or risk ministerial instability. In subsequent reigns the power of the Prime Minister increased further at the expense of the power of the Sovereign.

Legacy

George was ridiculed by his British subjects; some of his contemporaries, such as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, thought him unintelligent on the flimsy grounds that he was wooden in public. Though he was unpopular due to his supposed inability to speak English, such an inability may not have existed later in his reign as documents from that time show that he understood, spoke and wrote English. He certainly spoke fluent German and French, good Latin, and some Italian and Dutch. His treatment of his wife, Sophia Dorothea, became something of a scandal. The British perceived him as too German, and in the opinion of historian Ragnhild Hatton
Ragnhild Hatton
Ragnhild Marie Hatton, Ragnhild Marie Hatton, Ragnhild Marie Hatton, (born in Bergen, Norway on 10 January 1913 - died in London on 16 May 1995, was professor of International History at the London School of Economics...

, wrongly assumed that he had a succession of German mistresses. However in Europe he was seen as a progressive ruler supportive of the Enlightenment who permitted his critics to publish without risk of severe censorship, and provided sanctuary to Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 when the philosopher was exiled from Paris in 1726. European and British sources agree that George was reserved, temperate and financially prudent; George disliked to be in the public light at social events, avoided the royal box at the opera and often travelled incognito to the house of a friend to play cards.

Despite some unpopularity, the Protestant George I was seen by most of his subjects as a better alternative to the Roman Catholic Pretender James
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

. William Makepeace Thackeray
William Makepeace Thackeray
William Makepeace Thackeray was an English novelist of the 19th century. He was famous for his satirical works, particularly Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of English society.-Biography:...

 indicates such ambivalent feelings as he wrote:
Writers of the nineteenth century, such as Thackeray, Sir Walter Scott
Walter Scott
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time....

 and Lord Mahon
Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl Stanhope
Philip Henry Stanhope, 5th Earl Stanhope FRS , styled Viscount Mahon between 1816 and 1855, was a British politician and historian...

, were reliant on biased first-hand accounts published in the previous century such as Lord Hervey's memoirs, and looked back on the Jacobite cause with romantic, even sympathetic, eyes. They in turn, influenced British authors of the first half of the twentieth century such as G. K. Chesterton
G. K. Chesterton
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, KC*SG was an English writer. His prolific and diverse output included philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics, and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction....

, who introduced further anti-German and anti-Protestant bias into the interpretation of George's reign. However, in the wake of World War II continental European archives were opened to historians of the later twentieth century and nationalistic anti-German feeling subsided. George's life and reign were re-explored by scholars such as Beattie and Hatton, and his character, abilities and motives re-assessed in a more generous light. John H. Plumb noted that:
Yet the character of George I remains elusive—he was in turn genial and affectionate in private letters to his daughter, and then dull and awkward in public. Perhaps his own mother summed him up when "explaining to those who regarded him as cold and overserious that he could be jolly, that he took things to heart, that he felt deeply and sincerely and was more sensitive than he cared to show." Whatever his true character, he ascended a precarious throne, and either by political wisdom and guile, or through accident and indifference, he left it secure in the hands of the Hanoverians and of Parliament.

Titles and styles

  • 28 May 1660 – 18 December 1679: His Highness Duke Georg Ludwig of Brunswick-Lüneburg
  • 18 December 1679 – October 1692: His Highness The Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg
  • October 1692 – 23 January 1698: His Serene Highness The Electoral Prince of Hanover
  • 23 January 1698 – 1 August 1714: His Most Serene Highness George Louis, Archbannerbearer of the Holy Roman Empire and Prince-Elector, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
  • 1 August 1714 – 11 June 1727: His Majesty The King


In Great Britain George I used the official style "George, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France
English claims to the French throne
The English claims to the French throne have a long and complex history between the 1340s and the 19th century.From 1340 to 1801, with only brief intervals in 1360-1369 and 1420–1422, the kings and queens of England, and after the Acts of Union in 1707 the kings and queens of Great Britain, also...

 and Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

, Defender of the Faith
Fidei defensor
Fidei defensor is a Latin title which translates to Defender of the Faith in English and Défenseur de la Foi in French...

, etc." In some cases (especially in treaties), the formula "Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Brunswick-Lüneburg
The Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg , or more properly Duchy of Brunswick and Lüneburg, was an historical ducal state from the late Middle Ages until the late Early Modern era within the North-Western domains of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, in what is now northern Germany...

, Archtreasurer and Prince-Elector
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 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...

" was added before the phrase "etc."

Arms

As King his arms were: Quarterly
Quartering (heraldry)
Quartering in heraldry is a method of joining several different coats of arms together in one shield by dividing the shield into equal parts and placing different coats of arms in each division....

, I, Gules
Gules
In heraldry, gules is the tincture with the colour red, and belongs to the class of dark tinctures called "colours". In engraving, it is sometimes depicted as a region of vertical lines or else marked with gu. as an abbreviation....

 three lions passant guardant in pale
Pale (heraldry)
A pale is a term used in heraldic blazon and vexillology to describe a charge on a coat of arms , that takes the form of a band running vertically down the center of the shield. Writers broadly agree that the width of the pale ranges from about one-fifth to about one-third of the width of the...

 Or
Or (heraldry)
In heraldry, Or is the tincture of gold and, together with argent , belongs to the class of light tinctures called "metals". In engravings and line drawings, it may be represented using a field of evenly spaced dots...

 (for England) impaling
Impalement (heraldry)
In heraldry, impalement is the combination of two coats of arms side-by-side in one shield or escutcheon to denote union, most often that of a husband and wife, but also for ecclesiastical use...

 Or a lion rampant within a tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland
Royal coat of arms of Scotland
The royal coat of arms of Scotland was the official coat of arms of the monarchs of Scotland, and was used as the official coat of arms of the Kingdom of Scotland until the Acts of Union of 1707...

); II, Azure
Azure
In heraldry, azure is the tincture with the colour blue, and belongs to the class of tinctures called "colours". In engraving, it is sometimes depicted as a region of horizontal lines or else marked with either az. or b. as an abbreviation....

 three fleurs-de-lis Or (for France); III, Azure a harp Or stringed Argent
Argent
In heraldry, argent is the tincture of silver, and belongs to the class of light tinctures, called "metals". It is very frequently depicted as white and usually considered interchangeable with it...

 (for Ireland
Coat of arms of Ireland
The arms of Ireland is blazoned as Azure a harp Or, stringed Argent . These arms have long been Ireland's heraldic emblem. References to them as being the arms of the king of Ireland can be found as early as the 13th century...

); IV, tierced per pale and per chevron
Division of the field
In heraldry, the field of a shield can be divided into more than one area of different tinctures, usually following the lines of one of the ordinaries and carrying its name...

 (for Hanover), I Gules two lions passant guardant Or (for Brunswick), II Or a semy of hearts Gules a lion rampant Azure (for Lüneburg), III Gules a horse courant Argent (for Westphalia
Coat of arms of Lower Saxony
The coat of arms of the German federal-state of Lower Saxonyshows a white Saxon steed on a red background.It is used on the flag of Lower Saxony.-History:...

), overall an escutcheon Gules charged with the crown of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 Or (for the dignity of Archtreasurer of the Holy Roman Empire).




Issue

Name|DeathGeorge II
George II of Great Britain
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death.George was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain. He was born and brought up in Northern Germany...

9 November 1683 25 October 1760 married, 1705, Caroline of Ansbach
Caroline of Ansbach
Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach was the queen consort of King George II of Great Britain.Her father, John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, was the ruler of a small German state...

; had issue
Sophia, Queen in Prussia
Sophia Dorothea of Hanover
Sophia Dorothea of Hanover was a Queen consort in Prussia as wife of Frederick William I. She was the sister of George II of Great Britain and the mother of Frederick the Great.- Biography :...

26 March 1687 28 June 1757 married, 1706, Frederick William, Margrave of Brandenburg (later Frederick William I of Prussia
Frederick William I of Prussia
Frederick William I of the House of Hohenzollern, was the King in Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg from 1713 until his death...

); had issue
Dates in this table are New Style


He also had three illegitimate children with his mistress Ehrengard Melusine von der Schulenburg
Ehrengard Melusine von der Schulenburg, Duchess of Kendal and Munster
Ehrengard Melusine Baroness von der Schulenburg, Duchess of Kendal and Duchess of Munster was born at Emden near Magdeburg. Her middle name was probably given in reference to the Melusine legends. Her brother was Marshal Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg...

:
  • Anna Luise Sophie von der Schulenburg, Countess of Dölitz (1692–1773), who married Ernst August Philipp von dem Bussche zu Ippenburg (1681–1761)
  • Melusina von der Schulenburg, Countess of Walsingham
    Melusina von der Schulenburg, Countess of Walsingham
    Petronilla Melusine von der Schulenburg, 1st Countess of Walsingham was the illegitimate daughter of King George I of Great Britain and his longtime mistress, Melusine von der Schulenburg, Duchess of Kendal....

     (1693–1778), who married Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield
    Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield PC KG was a British statesman and man of letters.A Whig, Lord Stanhope, as he was known until his father's death in 1726, was born in London. After being educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he went on the Grand Tour of the continent...

  • Margaret Gertrude von der Schulenburg, Countess of Oeynhausen (1701–1726), who married Albrecht Wolfgang, Count of Schaumburg-Lippe.

Ancestry



See also

Fictional portrayals
Actor Work (year)
Peter Bull
Peter Bull
Peter Cecil Bull, DSC was a British character actor.- Biography :He was the fourth and youngest son of Hammersmith MP Sir William James Bull, 1st Bt..Bull was educated at Winchester College...

Saraband for Dead Lovers
Saraband for Dead Lovers
Saraband for Dead Lovers is a 1948 British historical drama film directed by Basil Dearden and starring Stewart Granger and Joan Greenwood. It is based on the novel by Helen Simpson...

(1948)
Eric Pohlmann
Eric Pohlmann
Eric Pohlmann was an Austrian theatre, film and television character actor.Born Erich Pollak in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, he was a classically trained actor who studied under the renowned director Max Reinhardt...

Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue
Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue
Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue is a 1953 British-American action film, made by Walt Disney Productions. This film is about Robert Roy MacGregor. Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue is the final Disney film released through RKO....

(1953)
Otto Waldis (uncredited) The Iron Glove (1954)
Steve Plytas
Steve Plytas
Steve Plytas was an actor who worked in British films and television....

"A Bed-Full of Miracles" (1969)
episode of Rogues' Gallery (TV series)
Rogues' Gallery (TV series)
Rogues' Gallery was a British television series which first aired on ITV between 1968 and 1969. It was set around London's Newgate Prison in the 18th century.-Main cast:* Diane Cilento ... Lady Sarah Bellasize* Jim Dale ... Lucifer Kane...

  • Succession to the British Throne
    Succession to the British Throne
    Succession to the British throne is governed both by common law and statute. Under common law the crown is currently passed on by male-preference primogeniture. In other words, succession passes first to an individual's sons, in order of birth, and subsequently to daughters, again in order of birth....


Further reading

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