On This Day

George III

King of Great Britain, Ireland and Hanover George III

Full Name: George William Frederick
Profession: King of Great Britain, Ireland and Hanover

Nationality:
England
English

Why Famous: George III reigned as King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1760 to 1820. The two countries were merged into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 January 1821. In addition to this George was the Elector/King of the German princely state of Hanover from 1814, though he never visited the territory.

The early years of his reign saw the victory of Great Britain in the Seven Years' War and Britain became the dominant power in Europe and Africa. The success of this was offset, however, by the loss of the American colonies after their declaration of independence in 1776 and the subsequent revolutionary war. In 1815, Britain's forces in Europe under Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, defeated Napoléon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo.

The later years of George III's reign were marked by his increasing mental illness, the nature of which has never been fully understood, but which might have been bipolar disorder or the disease porphyria. In 1811 his son and successor George, Prince of Wales, began a nine-year tenure as regent after his illness relapsed and became permanent. By the time the regency was established, George III was almost blind, suffered from rheumatism and bouts of depression and crying as described by his nurse. He later developed dementia and in the last Christmas of his life spoke nonsense for 54 hours straight. He died shortly after on January 20, 1820.

George III's historical reputation has undergone changes over the years. In his lifetime he was considered a tyrant by the American colonies and is primarily remembered in the UK as the King who lost the colonies.

Born: June 4, 1738
Birthplace: Norfolk House, London, England, United Kingdom
Star Sign: Gemini

Died: January 29, 1820 (aged 81)

Articles and Photos

Married Life

  • 1761-09-08 Marriage of George III of the United Kingdom to Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Queen Charlotte).

Events in the Life of George III

  • 1760-10-25 George III becomes King of Great Britain
  • 1761-09-22 Coronation of King George III of the United Kingdom and Queen Charlotte
  • 1763-10-07 George III of Great Britain issues Proclamation of 1763, closing lands in North America north and west of Alleghenies to white settlement
  • 1768-05-10 John Wilkes is imprisoned for writing an article for "The North Briton" severely criticizing King George III. This action provokes rioting in London.
  • 1774-03-07 King George III charges colonists in Boston with attempting to injure British commerce, paving the way for the closing of the port to punish colonists for the Boston Tea Party
  • 1775-07-05 Second Continental Congress drafts the Olive Branch Petition to King George III
  • 1775-07-25 Maryland issues currency depicting George III trampling Magna Carta
  • 1775-08-22 King George III proclaims colonies to be in open rebellion
  • 1783-12-18 British King George III dismisses Duke of Portland's government
  • 1785-04-20 Thomas Warton appointed British Poet Laureate by King George III
  • 1788-03-21 Olaudah Equiano (aka Gustavus Vassa), a freed slave, petitions King George III and Queen Charlotte, to free enslaved Africans
  • 1790-07-28 Henry James Pye appointed British Poet Laureate by King George III
  • 1800-05-15 King George III survives a second assassination attempt
  • 1801-03-14 Henry Addington becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after his friend William Pitt the Younger resigns after being unable to persuade King George III of the need for Catholic Emancipation
  • 1811-02-05 Prince George, Prince of Wales, later George IV, is appointed as Prince-Regent after his father King George III is recognized as insane due to mental illness
  • 1813-08-12 Robert Southey is appointed British Poet Laureate by King George III
  • 1819-02-19 British explorer William Smith discovers the South Shetland Islands, and claims them in the name of King George III
  • 1896-09-22 Queen Victoria surpasses her grandfather King George III as the (then) longest reigning monarch in British history
  • 1993-04-01 Alan Bennett's play "The Madness of George III" premieres in London

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