1 - King George III (1817-1820) birth of the modern Sovereign

The reign of King George III (1760-1820)

George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820 was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801. After which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors he was born in Britain and spoke English as his first language. Despite his long life, he never visited Hanover.

George III's long reign was marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdoms, much of the rest of Europe, and places farther afield in Africa, the Americas and Asia. Early in his reign,


Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and India. However, many of its American colonies were soon lost in the American War of Independence, which led to the establishment of the United States of America. A series of wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France, over a 20-year period, finally concluded in the defeat of Napoleon in 1815.

In the latter part of his life, George III suffered from recurrent, and eventually permanent, mental illness. Medical practitioners were baffled by this at the time, although it has since been suggested that he suffered from the blood disease porphyria. After a final relapse in 1810, a regency was established, and George III's eldest son, George, Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent. On George III's death, the Prince Regent succeeded his father as George IV. Historical analysis of George III's life has gone through a "kaleidoscope of changing views" which have depended heavily on the prejudices of his biographers and the sources available to them.

Its wasn’t' just the coinage of King George III which had a major overhaul during his reign. The new Royal Mint on Tower Hill, opened in 1810, equipped with steam-powered presses supplied by Matthew Boulton. The new mint building housed eight massive presses, powered by a ten-horsepower steam engine. They were each capable of striking about 60 coins a minute.

5th July 1817 saw the birth of the sovereign coin containing 20 shillings and replacing the 21 shilling guinea. It should be noted that the guinea which gets its name from Guinea in Africa where much of the gold was mined for their manufacture, was originally intended to be a 20 shilling or one pound piece. However its actual value fluctuated due to its relationship with the value of silver, and this saw the guinea's value as much as 30 shillings. In 1717 this was fixed at 21 shillings until it was replaced with the sovereign. 

King George (1817-1820) - Part 2

King George (1817-1820) - Part 3

King George (1817-1820) - Part 4

King George (1817-1820) - Part 5

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