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George I
George I

George I (1660-1727) came to the British throne when Queen Anne died in 1714 and was the first monarch of the Hanoverian dynasty. He was great-grandson of King James I of England. Born and brought up in Germany, George had succeeded his father as elector of Hanover in 1698.

George was a shy, obstinate, and lazy man who neither aroused loyalty nor concerned himself with English affairs. He knew that he had become king of England through a series of coincidences. Unable to speak English he communicated with his ministers in England in French, relying on his son, George Augustus, the future George II, to translate for him. He did manage to keep in close touch with his ministers, of whom the most famous was Sir Robert Walpole the chief minister.

Two dramatic events of George's reign were the Jacobite rebellion of 1715, which attempted to restore the Stuarts as rulers of Great Britain, and the bursting of the "South Sea Bubble," a great financial scandal, in 1720.