Hanover King: George I

The Hanoverian era began, after the death of Queen Anne in 1714, who died without leaving a heir.

Her successor, was supposed to be Sophia, daughter of Elizabeth of Bohemia, the daughter of James I, who would continue the Protestant Stuart line.  This was not to be, for she died a few weeks earlier than Anne.

Parliament had sought to block any claim by the Catholic James Edward Stuart, by making George successor after his mother; Sophia of Hanover. 

George was born on the 28th May 1660 at Osnabruck, Hanover to parents Ernst August, Duke of Brunswick, Elector of Hanover, and Sophia Stuart, the granddaughter of James I of England.

George married Sophia Dorothea of Celle in 1682, and she bore him two children; George who became his successor, George II and Sophia who went on to marry Frederick William of Prussia.

Sophia Dorothea angered her husband, by having an affair with Phillip von Konigsmarck, a Swedish count.  The relationship became public knowledge, forcing George I to divorce his wife on the grounds of adultery, then banished her to Castle Ahlden on the 28th February 1695, where she lived out the rest of her life, partly in luxury, but incarcerated in her prison.  She died on the 13th November 1726, and was interred in the family crypt in the Old Church at Celle in May 1727.

As for her lover, Phillip von Konigsmarck, he had angered George I, so what happened to him?

Ernst August, Sophia’s father-in-law, ordered the arrest of Phillip von Konigsmarck, and during the exchange, one guard was injured and Konigsmarck lost his life.  His body was hidden, under the floor of Leine Palace, covered in quicklime to speed up decomposition.

On the 1st August 1714, George ascended to the English throne, and on the 20th October 1714, was crowned King George I of England at Westminster Abbey.

King George I could barely speak the English language, so communicated with his ministers in French.  For most of his reign, he resided in his homeland of Hanover, Germany.

King George I, relied much on his ministers, when it came to dealing with Parliament.  Robert Walpole, Lord of the Treasury, James Stanhope the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Charles Townsend the Secretary of state.

In 1715, the Jacobite uprising began in Scotland.  They were not happy with the British crown going to a Protestant, and demanded that the exiled “Old Pretender” James Edward Stuart heir to James II, be crowned King.  The rebellion was quashed at the “Battle of Sheriffmuir.”   16,000 Jacobites were beaten by 8,000 soldiers of the union.

In 1717 Robert Walpole resigned from the Government, as the national debt rose to £50 million.

In 1718, the legendary pirate Blackbeard (Edward Teach) was killed, and the threat of piracy was reduced.

In 1720, the stock market crashed, “South Sea Bubble” thousands of investors ruined.  George was governor of the South Sea Company, and was accused of aiding in the mismanagement of the company.  Robert Walpole came to his assistance.

In 1721, Robert Walpole is appointed as First Lord of the Treasury, a post he retains until 1742.

In 1722, Walpole leader of the Whigs, and head of an anti-war government, pushes his point through Parliament, and is dubbed “Prime Minister” in action without title.

He moved the government debt into a sinking fund, and created a policy of war avoidance and promoted trade and industry.

On the 11th June 1727, King George I of England died at Osnabruck in Germany, and was buried at Leineschlosskirche, Hanover.

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