George Canning Biography

(Former British Prime Minister)

Birthday: April 11, 1770 (Aries)

Born In: Marylebone

George Canning was a British politician who later became Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister of the UK. During his parliamentary career, he represented several constituencies. He gained popularity in the Cabinet for his skilled delivery of speeches. For his strong campaign, the Addington government arranged a military post in Trinidad to settle the land dispute of that island. He also took initiative to prove the fact that better methods of cultivation in land can lessen the need for slaves. This effort of Canning saved around 750,000 lives. He used to write satirical articles and poetry in a newspaper titled “Anti-Jacobin”. By supporting the government, he used to ridicule revolutionary doctrines. He played a significant role in the affairs of Spain, Portugal and Latin America and his important decisions formed the future course of Latin American history. During his tenure as Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons, he took the initiative for abolition of slavery. He also opposed Russia and France for their interference in the affairs of other states. As a result of this, he was recognized as a liberal. Besides these, he also prevented the United States from opening trade with the West Indies. For a brief period, he served as the Prime Minister of the UK.
Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In April

Died At Age: 57


Spouse/Ex-: Joan Scott

father: George Canning, Sr

mother: Mary Annie Costello

children: Charles John Canning, Harriet

Quotes By George Canning Political Leaders

political ideology: Tory

Died on: August 8, 1827

place of death: Chiswick

City: Marylebone, England

More Facts

education: Christ Church, Oxford, Eton College, University of Oxford

  • 1

    What were George Canning's major accomplishments during his political career?

    George Canning served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from April to August 1827 and was known for his efforts in modernizing the British government.
  • 2

    How did George Canning impact British foreign policy during his time in office?

    George Canning pursued a policy of non-intervention and peaceful diplomacy, particularly in relation to Europe, and promoted free trade agreements with other countries.
  • 3

    What role did George Canning play in the abolition of the slave trade?

    George Canning was a supporter of the abolition of the slave trade and played a key role in passing the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which prohibited the trafficking of slaves by British ships.
  • 4

    How did George Canning's economic policies influence the British economy?

    George Canning advocated for fiscal responsibility and reduced government spending, which helped stabilize the British economy during his time as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
  • 5

    How did George Canning's views on parliamentary reform evolve over his career?

    George Canning initially opposed radical parliamentary reforms but later came to support some measures to increase representation and fairness in the British political system.
Childhood & Early Life
Born in an old Irish family in Marylebone, London, he was the son of George Canning Senior and Mary Anne Costello. His father, an unsuccessful wine merchant and lawyer, left the family and died in poverty on his son’s first birthday.
After his father’s death, his mother started working as a stage actress and he was raised by his uncle, London merchant Stratford Canning along with his cousins.
He attended Hyde Abbey School. Later, he studied at Eton College where he became popular for his literary skills. After that, he took admission at Christ Church, Oxford from where he completed his BA in 1791.
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After finishing his study, he started practising law. Later, he changed his mind and decided to pursue a career in politics. His uncle Stratford Canning introduced him to renowned Whigs like Charles James Fox, Edmund Burke and Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
With the assistance of William Pitt, the leader of the “Troy” group, he became a Member of Parliament for Newtown on the Isle of Wight, a rotten borough in 1793.
He rose quickly in British politics for his gift of the gab ability. Moreover, he gained popularity for his writing skill. Due to his oratory power and effective style of writing essays, he got promotion in the Cabinet within a brief period.
For his leadership ability, he received the support of a group of people who became known as the Canningites. Possessing a dominant personality, he often lost political allies for personal reasons.
On 2 November 1795, he served as Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, his first ministerial post. During this time, he used to support Pitt in disputes with the Foreign Secretary Lord Grenville.
He resigned from the post of Foreign Minister on 1 April 1799. Later, he served as a Commissioner of the Board of Control for India. He served in this post till 1800.
In the year 1800, he worked as Paymaster of the Forces. In February 1801, when Pitt left his post as Prime Minister due to the opposition of the King to Catholic Emancipation, he too resigned from his post.
In 1803, he expressed his agreement regarding the declaration of war against France. The next year, he became Treasurer of the Navy but in 1805 he left this post as Addington was given a seat in the Cabinet.
In 1807, he took the responsibility of Foreign Secretary in the new government of the Duke of Portland. As Foreign Secretary, he played an active role for the planning of the attack on Copenhagen during the Napoleonic Wars.
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In 1809, he openly opposed the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Lord Castlereagh’s decision regarding the sending of troops to Netherlands. Due to their dispute, he fought a duel with Castlereagh in the month of September on Putney Heath. He got injured in the duel. This act of the two cabinet ministers created much uproar. After the resignation of Portland as Prime Minister, he also left his post.
In 1812, the new Prime Minister Lord Liverpool offered him the position of Foreign Secretary. But he refused the offer as he desired to become the Leader of the House of Commons.
In 1814, he worked as the British Ambassador to Portugal. In 1816, he became President of the Board of Control, though he left the post in 1820, owing to his relationship with Queen Caroline.
In 1822, he served as Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons. At that time, he successfully prevented South America from coming into the French sphere of influence.
In 1827, George IV selected him the Prime Minister of Britain. But Canning found it difficult to form a government as the Tory party divided itself between “high Tories” and “Canningites”. He remained the PM for only 119 days.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1800, he got married to Joan Scott with whom he had four children. He had an illicit relation with Queen Caroline, wife of King George IV. On account of his poor health condition, he passed away during his tenure as the Prime Minister of the UK.
Facts About George Canning
George Canning was known for his sharp wit and sense of humor, often delivering clever and memorable speeches in Parliament that earned him the nickname "the Prince of Debate."
Canning was a talented poet and writer, publishing several works of poetry during his lifetime that showcased his literary skills and creativity.

Canning had a love for exotic pets, including a pet monkey named Jacko that he kept at his home in London. Jacko was known to accompany Canning on walks around the city.

Canning was a skilled diplomat and played a key role in negotiating the Treaty of Paris in 1814, which helped bring an end to the Napoleonic Wars and restore peace to Europe.
Canning was a passionate advocate for free trade and economic reform, believing in the importance of open markets and competition for driving economic growth and prosperity.

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