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  • George i and robert walpole 1714

    The son of the first elector of Hanover, Ernest Augustus, and great grandson of James I, George I (1714-27) became king on the death of Queen Anne. He spent most of his reign in Hanover, Germany, never having learned English. However, George did leave competent administrators to control affairs in his absence and his reign witnessed the development of the role of prime minister.Sir Robert Walpole, a member of the House of Commons, played a key ...


  • The georgians 1714 - 1836

    The Georgian period was a one of change. There was a new dynasty on the throne and, before long, the very infrastructure of Britain was changing. Agricultural developments were followed by industrial innovation and this, in turn, led to urbanisation and the need for better communications. Britain became the world\'s first modern society. With these changes came increased population and increased wealth (for some). Politically, the Georgian peri ...


  • The '15 and the 'old pretender' 1715

    In 1715, the Earl of Mar (an ousted government minister) raised a royal standard on the Braes of Mar in favour of James Stuart, the son of James VII and II, and also known as James VIII and III or the \'Old Pretender\'. Mar led his supporters - the Jacobites - south in an attempt to seize Edinburgh Castle, the government\'s main arsenal in Scotland. A simultaneous rising occurred in the north of England but was defeated at Preston. The Scottish J ...


  • The south sea bubble 1720

    When the South Sea Company had been set up in 1711, it was hoped that it would one day challenge the financial strength of the Bank of England and the East India Company when it came to providing loans for the government to support the national debt. The company had a monopoly on trade with all Spanish territories, South America and the west coast of North America.In 1713, the Company received the right to supply slaves to the Spanish colonies. I ...


  • Accession of george ii 1727

    George II (1727-60) succeeded his father, George I, on his death in 1727. The accession of the new king excited hopes amongst Walpole\'s opponents that he might be replaced. The first minister had acquired many enemies due to his powerful position and his policies. The king did not care for Walpole but Queen Caroline thought him sound, and persuaded her husband to retain him in government.Spain was becoming increasingly angry over the expansion o ...


  • The flying shuttle and cotton 1733

    Prior to the later eighteenth century, the cotton industry was organised on a domestic structure with most workers undertaking various processes at home. During the course of the eighteenth century, a variety of inventions allowed for greater mechanisation to be applied to the industry and this led in turn to the industrial structure changing to a factory-based system. In 1733, John Kay invented the Flying Shuttle (which meant that broader cloth ...


  • Transport and the turnpikes 1735

    The Turnpike Trusts, originally set up in 1706 and extended in 1735, led to serious outbreaks of rioting in 1735 and again in 1750, in which toll-gates and houses were destroyed - largely because the population objected to paying tolls for travel on roads which had previously been free. Nevertheless, the Turnpike Trusts were a success, and the money raised was used in part to finance the building of new and better roads. The designs of coaches an ...


  • The '45 and the 'young pretender' 1745 - 1746

    1745 witnessed another Jacobite uprising aimed at restoring James Stuart to the throne. This was led by James\'s son, Charles Edward Stuart (the \'Young Pretender\' or \'Bonnie Prince Charlie\'). After several failed attempts to cross from France, Charles finally landed in Scotland - albeit without the French support that he had hoped for - on 23 July 1745. Charles raised Stuart supporting clans - with the cry of \'For King James and No Union\' - ...


  • The battle of culloden and its aftermath 1746

    On 16 April 1746, an army under Prince Charles Stuart met an army of his cousin, William, Duke of Cumberland, on a moor outside Inverness. The last battle fought on British mainland soil was not, as is commonly understood, between the English and the Scots, but between the British government and their rebels. More Scots fought on the government side than fought for the \'romantic\' Stuart cause. The battle proved rather one sided as the experienc ...


  • The beginning of the industrial revolution 1750

    The sudden acceleration of technical and economic development that begun in Britain in the second half of the eighteenth century had changed the lives of a large proportion of the population by the nineteenth century. Machinery and manufacturing made possible by technical advances such as the steam engine came to dominate the traditional agrarian economy.Exploitation of new, rich coal and ore reserves kept raw material costs down and the repositi ...


  • Calendar reform 1752

    In Scotland, 1 January 1600 had been recognised as New Year\'s Day after a decree from James VI. Until 1753, this was not the case in England. Because calendrical reform in the sixteenth century had been advocated by the Pope, Protestant England had refused to comply. Only in 1752 were the Gregorian reforms of 1582 fully accepted in Britain (and the American colonies). As a result, New Year\'s Day was decreed to be 1 January and not 25 March and ...


  • British museum 1753

    On 5 April, a foundation charter was issued to create a British Museum. The Museum houses a number of important and varied collections, the first of which were donated in the 1750s. The Museum was instituted in 1759 and expanded to include the Royal Library (the basis for the collection of the British Library) in 1822. Now housed in Bloomsbury, the Museum continues to be free to the public and houses the national collection of treasures such as t ...


  • Seven years' war 1756 - 1763

    Following George III\'s accession in 1760, there was a subtle change in policy and, in March 1762, secret peace negotiations were opened. When the final Treaty of Paris was signed in February 1763, Britain had acquired Quebec, Florida, Minorca and large additional parts of India and the West Indies. Although the war was undoubtedly costly in terms of lives and finance - the national debt almost doubled to £133,000,000 - it meant, for almost th ...


  • Cook in the pacific 1768

    British interests in the wider world expanded through the eighteenth century. In 1768, James Cook undertook the first of three voyages to the Pacific, surveying New Zealand, modern Australia (where he named Botany Bay), Tahiti and Hawaii. His second voyage (1773) made him the first Britain to chart Antarctica, and his third (1778/9) led him to discover and name island groups in the South Pacific, such as the Sandwich Islands. On 14 February 1779, ...


  • The war of american independence 1775 - 1783

    In 1775, during George III\'s reign, the British North American colonies revolted - due mainly to their opposition to British economic exploitation and also their unwillingness to pay for a standing army. Anti-monarchist sentiment was strong, as the colonists wanted to participate in the politics affecting them. On 4 July 1776, a Declaration of Independence was signed. Initial confrontations were mixed - the British being successful at Brandywine ...


  • Gordon riots 1780

    In 1778, parliament had passed the Relief Act which repealed harsh anti-Catholic legislation from the seventeenth century. In June 1780, violent anti-Catholic riots broke out in London as Lord George Gordon marched on parliament to present a petition requesting the repeal of the Relief Act and a return to Catholic repression. (Edinburgh and Glasgow had already seen similar riots).Chapels, known Catholic houses, prisons, public buildings and even ...


  • East india company board of control 1784

    Following the loss of the American colonies, there was an increasing interest in the British Empire in the east. The East India Company had long been the main agent of Imperial expansion in southern Asia and exercised many governmental functions. Under the India Act of 1784, although the company maintained sole responsibility for trade and patronage, a Board of Control was established to oversee the revenue, administration and diplomatic function ...


  • Colonisation of the antipodes - penal colonies 1788

    The colonisation of Australia and New Zealand began with the desire to find a place for penal settlement after the loss of the original American colonies. The first shipload of British convicts landed in Australia in 1788, on the site of the future city of Sydney. The majority of these convicts were young men, many of whom had committed only petty crimes. New South Wales opened to free settlers in 1819. By 1858, transportation of convicts was abo ...


  • First £1 banknotes 1797

    Prior to 1797, the Bank of England was obliged to exchange banknotes, on demand, for gold. As a result, banknotes tended to be of relatively high denominations. The suspension of this obligation in February 1797 (until 1821) led to the issuing of the first £1 banknotes. ...


  • Georgian literature, art and music c.1800

    The eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw a mushrooming of scholarly and popular works that we still consider \'classics\', for example, Defoe\'s Robinson Crusoe (1719), Hume\'s Treatise on Human Nature (1739), Johnson\'s Dictionary (1755), Smith\'s Wealth of Nations (1776), Gibbon\'s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776), Austen\'s Sense and Sensibility (1811), Scott\'s Waverley Novels (1814 onwards), Shelley\'s Frankenstein (1818) ...



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