U.K. History - Rise to World Power

U.K. History: Rise to World Power (1714 to 1815)


The accession of Elector Georg Ludwig of Hanover as King George I (1714-27), who established the personal union (which lasted until 1837) with this country belonging to the Union of the German Empire, took place without any difficulties, but the king stepped behind the leaders Ministers and parliament. However, the constitutional status of the king was preserved even under the rulers of the House of Hanover. In order to exercise their office, according to Programingplease, the ministers required – apart from the consent of parliament – v. a. the trust of the king who appointed her to her ministerial office.

More than two decades (1721–42) was R. Walpole at the head of the government, supported by the confidence of the king and the majority in the lower house, whose electoral term in 1716 was extended to seven years.

Walpole is one of the most important “interior ministers” in recent British history and is considered to be the first modern prime minister. He succeeded in finally securing the constitutional political results of the Glorious Revolution, undermining the Jacobite uprisings for the time of his reign, and improving state finances through new tax and customs laws. Internal stability and security as well as external peace were his major political goals. Even after the death of George I, he remained in office under his successor George II (1727–60).

The fall of Walpole took place against the background of trade policy conflicts with Spain, v. a. in the Caribbean. Walpole could not withstand the pressure of political and economic forces that urged war against Spain in 1739. The naval and colonial war, in which France was soon to be involved, expanded into a continental war when Great Britain intervened in the War of the Austrian Succession to counter France’s hegemonic aspirations. In the Seven Years War (1756 to 1763) it fought – with theaters of war in Europe, in the Mediterranean, in Africa, v. a. but in North America and India – again against France. Since this was bound in Europe, Great Britain – with the backing of the armies of Frederick the Great  - was able to conquer Canada, which was contractually awarded to him in the Peace of Paris (1763) together with other French colonies. If France was not completely defeated, Great Britain emerged from this worldwide struggle as a superior maritime and colonial power. After the Peace of Utrecht (1713), the Peace of Paris brought the second stage of the rise to the British Empire. North America was now fully integrated into its colonial empire, and India had created the conditions for British supremacy.

Great Britain v. a. W. Pitt the Elder, who – building on the domestic political successes of Walpole – in close connection with the London financial world, supported by the approval of the people and obsessed with a missionary idea, his country with decisiveness and energy in the fight with the old “hereditary enemy” France led. He found support from Frederick the Great. However, his successors were unable to prevent the American colonies from falling away from the motherland – with the exception of Canada – so that George III. (1760-1820) had to put up with the loss of the most important overseas possessions up to now. This ended at the same time that of George III. once again revived personal regiment. From now on the political emphasis clearly shifted to the parliament.

The global political dispute with France entered a decisive phase when Great Britain intervened in the French Revolutionary Wars under the leadership of W. Pitts the Younger (Prime Minister 1793–1801 and 1804–06). The struggle against revolutionary France culminated in 1799, when Napoleon’s Egyptian expedition with Admiral Nelson’s victory at Abukir failed, found its expression in Great Britain itself, where the government suppressed all reform forces who called for an extension of the medieval electoral law, and in 1799/1800 pronounced a direct ban on political associations and trade unions. In 1802 a provisional peace was made with France in Amiens.

Rulers of England, Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The rulers of England as well as Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Anglo-Saxon kings *)
Edmund I. 939-946
Eadred (Edred) 946-955
Eadwig (Edwy) 955-957 / 959
Edgar 957 / 959-975
Edward the Martyr (Wessex only) 975-978
Aethelred II. 978-1013 and 1014-1016
Sven Gabelbart from Denmark 1013-1014
Knut the great 1016-1035
Edmund II. Ironside 1016 (April – November together with Knut)
Harold I. Harefoot 1035 / 36-1040
Hardknut (hardknut) 1040-1042
Edward the Confessor 1042-1066
Harold II Godwinson (January – October) 1066
(Edgar II. Aetheling) (1066)
norman kings
Wilhelm I, the conqueror 1066-1087
Wilhelm II Rufus 1087-1100
Heinrich I. 1100-1135
Stephan I of Blois 1135-1154
House Plantagenet
Henry II 1154-1189
Richard I. the Lionheart 1189-1199
Johann I without a country 1199-1216
Henry III. 1216-1272
Edward I. 1272-1307
Edward II 1307-1327
Edward III. 1327-1377
Richard II 1377-1399
House of Lancaster
Henry IV 1399-1413
Henry V. 1413-1422
Henry VI. 1422-1461 and 1470-1471
House of York
Edward IV 1461-1470 and 1471-1483
Edward V. 1483
Richard III 1483-1485
House of Tudor
Henry VII 1485-1509
Henry VIII 1509-1547
Edward VI. 1547-1553
Maria I, the Catholic 1553-1558
Elizabeth I. 1558-1603
House of Stuart
Jacob I. 1603-1625
Charles I. 1625-1649
Commonwealth (1649-1660) and Protectorate
Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector) 1653-1658
Richard Cromwell (Lord Protector) 1658-1659
House of Stuart
Charles II 1660-1685
Jacob II 1685-1688
Maria II. (Until 1692) and Wilhelm III. of Orange 1689-1702
Anna 1702-1714
House of Hanover
George I. 1714-1727
George II 1727-1760
George III 1760-1820
George IV 1820-1830
William IV 1830-1837
Victoria 1837-1901
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Edward VII 1901-1910
House of Windsor
George V. 1910-1936
Edward VIII (January – December) 1936
George VI. 1936-1952
Elizabeth II since 1952
*) The naming of rulers of the Anglo-Saxon period is limited to kings who ruled over all of England.

Pitt had resigned in 1801 because he had been unsuccessful with the king with the equality of Catholics. This was supposed to complement the real unification brought about by Pitt in 1800 with Ireland, which sympathized with France (the Act of Union came into force on January 1, 1801; new country name: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland); henceforth the Irish made members of the British Parliament of Westminster. Following the principle of equilibrium, Great Britain re-entered the war in 1803 (Napoleonic Wars). The danger brought Pitt the Younger back to head government in 1804. Great Britain joined the third coalition against France in 1805, whose fleet was owned by Nelson was defeated in the sea battle at Trafalgar (October 21, 1805). On land, however, Napoleon achieved a hegemonic position in Europe and an alliance with Russia. From Berlin, Napoleon declared the continental blockade on November 21, 1806. Great Britain’s countermeasures, especially the prevention of French trade – including with the neutrals – on the seas, ultimately led to war with the United States (1812-14). In order to deprive France of the Danish navy, Great Britain had destroyed it in the port of Copenhagen, and the future Duke of Wellington had it from Portugal. In 1808 he pushed the war against French rule in Spain: From there he advanced to southern France (Peninsular War). Allied with Russia, Prussia and Austria, Great Britain took part in the Wars of Liberation from 1813–15, with Wellington’s army making a decisive contribution to the decisive victory of Waterloo (June 18, 1815). Napoleon died as a prisoner of Great Britain in 1821 on Saint Helena.

The victory made ample compensation for Great Britain after 22 years of war: the newly formed Kingdom of the Netherlands withdrew a large part of the opposite coast from France and a peace had been concluded with the USA in Ghent as early as 1814, which restored the state of before 1812. As a colonial power, Great Britain emerged stronger from the struggle – partly at the expense of the Netherlands (including the Cape Colony). In Europe it improved its position, which had already been expanded by the occupation of Malta in 1800, by gaining Heligoland (until 1890) and the Ionian Islands (until 1864). As the guarantor of the German Confederation, it also had a say in German affairs.

U.K. History - Rise to World Power