Just Who Was George I of Great Britain?

George I of Great Britain ruled over the Duchy and Electorate of Hanover as well as Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1727. As the first British monarch of Hanover, he earned wide recognition and gained popularity throughout his reign, with many notable wars, rebellions, and more.

Read on to learn more about George Louis’s early life, the story of his death, and his various achievements that continued up until his death.

Just Who Was George I of Great Britain?
George in 1680, aged 20, when he was Prince of Hanover. After a painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller.

Early Life & Achievements

Born on the 28th May 1660 in Hanover, George was the son of the Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg at the time – Ernest Augustus – and his wife Sophia, who was the granddaughter of King James I of England.

In 1682, George married his cousin Sophia Dorothea of Celle but later divorced and imprisoned her after suspicion of infidelity with Swedish Count Philip Christoph von Konigsmarck, despite George preferring Melusine von der Schilenburg’s company.

Together, Sophia and George had a son named George Augustus and a daughter named after Sophia. When she was imprisoned, Sophia had no permission to see her children or husband and was forbidden to remarry.

Just Who Was George I of Great Britain?
George in 1706, when he was Elector of Hanover. After Johann Leonhard Hirschmann.

In 1698, George became the elector of Hanover, succeeding his father after his death and gaining possession over all of his territories except for the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabruck. It was with this succession that George became the Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg (Hanover).

In 1701, George’s mother would become the heiress to the English throne if William III and his heir Anne died. After his mother and Anne died, George became the king in August 1714.

After facing rebellions by the Jacobites, who supported James Stuart’s strong claim to the throne, this was later suppressed by the year’s end. Following this, George I of Great Britain sided with the Whigs to form a government which helped him dominate politics over the next generation.

After many tribulations and a heavy economic crisis, later on, George I of Great Britain and his ministers became very unpopular. This unpopularity remained throughout the rest of George’s life in England – not only for his poor English capabilities but also due to his mistreatment of his wife and greed towards his mistresses.

Just Who Was George I of Great Britain?
George c.1714, the year of his succession, as painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller

Death

The story surrounding George I of Great Britain’s death is a misfortunate one. He died during a visit to Hanover on the 11th of June, 1727. After his death, he was succeeded by his son, George Augustus.

This was his sixth trip to Hanover, and he suffered from a stroke on the road that was centred between Delden and Nordhorn. He later died at Prince Bishop’s palace before dawn and was buried in Leine Palace’s chapel in Hanover.

Just Who Was George I of Great Britain?
1720s portrait of George by Georg Wilhelm Lafontaine

After World War II, his remains were transported to Herrenhausen Gardens‘ chapel as Leine Palace had been burnt down. George I of Great Britain was put to a final rest in the 19th-century mausoleum of King Ernest Augustus in the Berggarten.

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