George was elector of Hanover and, from 1714, the first Hanoverian king of Great Britain.
George was born on 28 Mary 1660 in Hanover, Germany, the eldest son of the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. In 1682, George married his cousin Sophia and they had two children. A decade later, he divorced her for alleged infidelity and imprisoned her in a castle until her death in 1726.
In 1701, under the Act of Settlement, George's mother Sophia was nominated heiress to the English throne if the reigning monarch William III and his heir Anne died without issue. The Act sought to guarantee a Protestant succession and George's mother was the closest Protestant relative, although there were at least 50 Catholic relatives whose claims were stronger. The Electress Sophia and Anne died in quick succession and George became king in August 1714.
The following year George was faced with a rebellion by the Jacobites, supporters of the Catholic James Stuart, who had a strong claim to the throne. This was concentrated mainly in Scotland, and was suppressed by the end of the year. Another smaller rebellion in 1719 was not a serious threat.
With some Tories sympathetic to the Jacobites, George turned to the Whigs to form a government, and they were to dominate politics for the next generation. Opposition to the king gathered around George's only son, the prince of Wales, making their already poor relationship even worse.
George was active in British foreign policy in the early years of his reign. His shrewd diplomatic judgment enabled him to help forge an anti-Spanish alliance with France in 1717 - 1718.
In 1720 the South Sea Company, with heavy government, royal and aristocratic investment, collapsed. The resulting economic crisis made the king and his ministers extremely unpopular. Robert Walpole was left as the most important figure in the administration and in April 1721 was appointed first lord of the Treasury and in effect, 'prime minister'. His ascendancy coincided with the decline of the political power of the monarchy and George became less and less involved in government.
George remained unpopular in England throughout his life, partly because of his inability to speak English but also because of the perceived greed of his mistresses and rumours concerning his treatment of his wife.
George died on 11 June 1727 during a visit to Hanover and was succeeded by his son.
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