British History Timeline: 1760-4

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  • King George III Ascends to the Throne

    King George III Ascends to the Throne
    Following the death of his grandfather, George II, George III takes over the rule of Britain at the age of 22. Seeking to "rescue the monarchy," he immediately sets about getting involved in and changing the government, causing a full decade of governmental instability.
  • The Earl of Bute Takes Over as Prime Minister (1761)

    The personal favorite of the new king, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, is propelled into the top of the cabinet, putting him in charge of the government, despite being an ineffective politician. Having the "ear of the king," Bute remains a political force even after he is later replaced, and many suspect that he manipulates George III behind the scenes.
  • Samuel Richardson Dies

    Born in 1689, the author of such books as Pamela and Clarissa exits the literary stage this year. He was 71.
  • (Future) King George IV is Born

    (Future) King George IV is Born
    On this day, King George IV, known as "Prinny," is born. In contrast to his father, he will become a wastefully extravagant and opportunistic figure, stepping in to assume power as regent during his father's episodes of madness.
  • Lady Mary Wortley Montagu Dies

    Born in 1689, she was among the first female travel-writers and based on her experience in Turkey, helped bring innoculation to England.
  • England Declares War on Spain

    Evidently drawn into the conflict with France, Spain and England are briefly at war with each other. The conflict ends in '63.
  • George Grenville Takes Over as Prime Minister

    After Bute's government ends in failure, Grenville steps in to (briefly) fill his shoes. During his stay at the top, he is influential in shaping, among other things, colonial taxation policy, and later becomes responsible for the Stamp Act (1765).
  • The Treaty of Paris Ends the Seven Years War

    The Treaty of Paris Ends the Seven Years War
    Officially begun in 1756, this treaty sees Britain's massively expensive, first overseas war with France come to an end, in the process causing Canada and several island colonies to switch hands into British control. As a side-effect of the war, Britain leaves a standing army in the colonies, soon becoming a point of contention with the colonists.
  • John Wilkes is Tried for Sedition

    John Wilkes is Tried for Sedition
    Using his paper, North Briton, as a political platform against George III's government, Wilkes' issue No. 45 calls the king and his ministers liars, causing Grenville to issue a general warant. In the process, Wilkes becomes a popular hero of the middle-class and an organizing figure against government abuse of power.
  • Horace Walpole Publishes The Castle of Otranto

    Horace Walpole Publishes The Castle of Otranto
    Based partly on his own Strawberry Hill residence, Horace Walpole, son of the former PM, publishes what many consider to be the first gothic novel and sets the template for hundreds of immitators.
  • William Hogarth Dies

    Born in 1697, William Hogarth, the famous English artist and political satirist dies this year.