Georgian era: Wikis


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Georgian era

The Georgian architecture of The Circus, Bath, built between 1754 and 1768.

Preceded by   Stuart Period
Including Regency Period
Followed by   Victorian era
Periods and eras in English History
Tudor period Tudors.JPG (1485–1603)
Elizabethan era Elizabeth I (Armada Portrait).jpg (1558–1603)
Stuart period James I of England by Daniel Mytens.jpg (1603–1714)
Jacobean era James I of England by Daniel Mytens.jpg (1603–1625)
Caroline era Carolus I.jpg (1625–1642)
Georgian era The.circus.bath.arp.jpg (1714–1830)
British Regency George IV bust1.jpg (1811–1820)
Victorian era Queen Victoria 1887.jpg (1837–1901)
Edwardian era Edward vii england.jpg (1901–1910)

The Georgian era is a period of British history, normally defined as including the reigns of the Kings of the United Kingdom of the House of Hanover: George I, George II, George III, and George IV, i.e. covering the period from 1714 to 1830, (with the sub-period of the Regency, defined by the Regency of George IV as Prince of Wales during the illness of his father George III). Often, the short reign of King William IV (1830 to 1837) is also included.

The term "Georgian" is normally used in the contexts of social history and architecture. See Georgian architecture.


The arts

Especially during the mid-18th century, the period was marked by cultural vibrancy, with the establishment of the British Museum in 1753, and the contributions of such famous men as Dr. Samuel Johnson, William Hogarth, Samuel Richardson, and George Frideric Handel, among many others.

Georgian society and its preoccupations were well portrayed in the novels of writers such as Henry Fielding, Mary Shelley and Jane Austen, characterised by the architecture of Robert Adam, John Nash and James Wyatt and the emergence of the Gothic Revival style, which hearkened back to a supposed golden age of building design.

The flowering of the arts was most vividly shown in the emergence of the Romantic poets, principally through Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Blake, John Keats, Lord Byron and Robert Burns. Their work ushered in a new era of poetry, characterized by vivid and colourful language, evocative of elevating ideas and themes.

The paintings of Thomas Gainsborough, Sir Joshua Reynolds and the young J. M. W. Turner and John Constable illustrated the changing world of the Georgian period - as did the work of designers like Capability Brown, the landscape designer.

Social change

It was a time of immense social change in Britain, with the beginning and other parts of the British Empire.

Social reform under politicians such as Robert Peel and campaigners like William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson and members of the Clapham Sect began to bring about radical change in areas such as the abolition of slavery, prison reform and social justice. A revival in Christianity was seen in the Church of England with men such as John Wesley (later to found the Methodists) and John Newton, and the rise of Non-conformists such as George Whitefield and various Dissenting groups.

Philanthropists and writers such as Hannah More, Thomas Coram, Robert Raikes and Beilby Porteus, Bishop of London, began to address the social ills of the day, and saw the founding of hospitals, Sunday schools and orphanages.

Fine examples of distinctive Georgian architecture are Edinburgh's New Town, Bath, Georgian Dublin, Newcastle Upon Tyne (especially Grey Street) as well as Bristol.

Foreign affairs

The loss of some of the American Colonies in the American War of Independence was regarded as a national disaster and was seen by some foreign observers as heralding the end of Britain as a great power. In Europe, the Napoleonic Wars dragged on for nearly a quarter of a century, bringing statesmen and national heroes like the Duke of Wellington and Admiral Lord Nelson home to huge public acclaim.

The expansion of empire brought fame to statesmen and explorers such as Clive of India and Captain Cook, and sowed the seeds of the world-wide British Empire of the Victorian and Edwardian eras which were to follow.

Politics and social revolt

With the ending of the War with France, the United Kingdom entered a period of greater economic depression and political uncertainty, characterised by social discontent and unrest. The Radical political party published a leaflet called The Political Register, also known as "The Two Penny Trash" to its rivals. The so-called March of the Blanketeers saw 400 spinners and weavers march from Manchester to London in March 1817 to hand the Government a petition. The Luddites destroyed and damaged machinery in the industrial north-west of England. The Peterloo Massacre in 1819 began as a protest rally which saw 60,000 people gathering to protest about their living standards, but was quelled by military action and saw eleven people killed and 400 wounded. The Cato Street Conspiracy of 1820 sought to blow up the Cabinet and then move on to storm the Tower of London and overthrow the government. This too was thwarted, and the conspirators executed or transported to Australia.


Upon the death of his second cousin Queen Anne, George Louis, Elector of Hannover succeeds as the new King, George I, of Great Britain and Ireland, the former of which had itself been established in 1706. This is the beginning of the House of Hanover's reign over the British Crown.
The Whig Party wins the British Parliamentary Election for the House of Commons. This was the party that was in general opposition of the policies of the King.
George I dies and his son George, Prince of Wales ascends to the throne as George II
The final Jacobite rising is crushed at the Battle of Culloden.
George II dies, and his grandson George, Prince of Wales ascends to the throne as George III, since his father, Frederick, Prince of Wales, had died in March 1751.
Britain is victorious in the Seven Years War. The Treaty of Paris of 1763 grants Britain domain over vast new territories around the world.
The Stamp Act is passed by the Parliament of Great Britain, causing much unrest in the Thirteen Colonies in North America.
The War of Independence begins in the Thirteen Colonies, specifically in Massachusetts.
The Thirteen Colonies in North America declare their independence from the British Crown and British Parliament.
The British Army in America under Lord Cornwallis surrenders to George Washington after its defeat in Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781.
British formally recognizes the independence of the original 13 American States when the Treaty of Paris of 1783 is signed by David Hartley, representing George III, and by the American treaty delegation.
The Act of Union 1800 comes into effect on 1 January, uniting the Kingdoms of Great Britain and of Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
George, Prince of Wales begins his nine-year period as the regent (he became known as George, Prince Regent) for George III, who has become delusional. This sub-period of the Georgia Era is defined as the regency period.
Napoleon I of France is defeated by the Seventh Coalition under The Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo, in what is now Flanders, Belgium.
The Peterloo Massacre occurs.
George III dies, and his son George, Prince Regent ascends to the throne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland as George IV.
George IV dies. According to some authorities, this is the end of the Georgian era of the House of Hannover. However, many other authorities continue this Era during the relatively-short reign of his brother, The Prince William, Duke of Clarence, who became William IV.
William IV dies, ending the Georgian Era, and is succeeded by his niece, Queen Victoria, the last member of the House of Hanover. She married Prince Albert, who was of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and so, when their son Albert Edward, Prince of Wales succeeded as Edward VII, that House gained the British throne.
GeorgeIKneller1714.jpg KING GEORGE II.jpg George III in Coronation Robes.jpg George IV bust1.jpg
George I George II George III George IV

See also


  • Hochschild, Adam. Bury the Chains, The British Struggle to Abolish Slavery (Basingstoke: Pan Macmillan, 2005)
  • Phillips, Charles. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Kings and Queens of Britain. London: Hermes House (Arness Publishing), 2006 ISBN 0-681-45961-1
  • Napierała, Piotr , Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745) – twórca brytyjskiej potęgi, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, Poznań 2008, s. 33-38. ISBN 978-83-232189-8-2

Note: In the twentieth century, the period 1910–1936 was informally called the Georgian Era during the reign of George V (following the Edwardian Era), and is sometimes still referred to as such.[1]; see Georgian Poetry.

  1. ^ American Heritage Dictionary,

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