|Name||George William Frederick of Hanover (George III)|
, , United Kingdom
|| June 04, 1738
|Died||January 29, 1820
Nov 29, 2004 04:14pm
|Info||King George III is famous - or infamous - for two things, losing the American Colonies in the American War of Independence (1775-1783) and going mad. |
His reign saw the revival of the two-party political system after half-century of Whig dominance, the expansion and subsequent loss of most of Britain's colonies in North America, protracted war with France and the beginning of the most rapid phase of British industrialisation.
Whig political supremacy under the earlier Hanoverians was challenged by the king's promotion of supporters of greater royal control of government, who came to be styled Tories (the name attached to earlier opponents of the Whigs in 1680-1715). The Whigs subsequently became the party increasingly of the country's newer commercial and industrial interests, becoming in the latter stages of the reign the party of limited social and political reform.
During his early reign, George III appointed a succession of Prime Ministers, many of them favorites and not fully qualified. This bureaucratic instability led to denouncements of George by the Whig party as an autocrat in the manner of Charles I of England.
Under William Pitt the Elder Britain won the Seven Years' War (known as the French and Indian War in North America), and Britain acquired all of France's possessions on the North American mainland, including French Canada, and the Ohio Valley. However, winning the war plunged Britain deep into a debt so large that at one point, almost half of the national revenue went toward paying interest on it. The problem of resolving this debt would indirectly lead to the American Revolution, conducted under Prime Minister Lord North.
Partly as a consequence of this, the Government claimed Australia as the new place of penal servitude of convicts, a purpose America had served up to that time. The eastern two-thirds of Australia had been claimed by Captain James Cook as a British possession in 1770. The first settlement was set up in Sydney in 1788.
The subsequent premiership of William Pitt, the Younger (1783-1801 and 1804-06) started the restoration of Britain's fortunes and the successful prosecution (largely through subsidies to European allies) of war with revolutionary and Napoleonic France (1793-1802 and 1803-1814) and the final defeat of Napoleon I in 1815.
Founded largely on technical advances in cotton manufacture from the 1760s onwards, Britain's industrialisation took off with the revival of trade in the 1780s, transforming the country within half a century from a predominantly rural society still earning its principal income from agriculture into the "workshop of the world" through its reliance on steam power and factory production.