Ten years after mental illness forced him to retire from public life, King George III, the British king who lost the American colonies, dies at the age of 82. George's policy of coercion against the American colonists led to the outbreak of the American War for Independence.The subsequent loss of England's most profitable colonies contributed to growing opposition to the king, but in 1784 his appointment as prime minister, William Pitt (the younger), succeeded in winning a majority in Parliament. After Pitt's ascendance, the king retired from active participation in government, except for occasional interference in major issues. In 1765, the king suffered a short nervous breakdown and in the winter of 1788-89 a more prolonged mental illness. By 1810, he was permanently insane. It has been suggested that he was a victim of the hereditary disease porphyria, a defect of the blood that can cause mental illness when not treated. He spent the rest of his life in the care of his devoted wife, Charlotte Sophia, whom he had married in 1761.
Also on this Day
On this day in 1979, Deng Xiaoping, as deputy premier of China, meets with U.S. President Jimmy Carter in Washington. Together they sign historic, scientific and cultural accords. Deng Xiaoping lived out the full and dramatic transformation of China. He joined the Chinese Communist party in 1920 and participated in Mao Zedong's Long March in 1934. He later became one of the first to advocate... Read more >