Canning, George (1770–1827)

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Canning, George (1770–1827)

George Canning (b. 11 April 1770; d. 8 August 1827), British statesman. Despite a long career in public service, George Canning distinguished himself primarily during his term as Great Britain's foreign secretary between 1822 and 1827. He had, in fact, previously served as foreign secretary, from 1807 to 1809, before resigning amid controversy following British military losses to Spain.

In his second term as foreign secretary, Canning broke new ground in recognizing the legitimacy of several newly independent nations in Latin America. After separating Great Britain from the so-called Holy Alliance in 1823, Canning helped prevent other European nations from aiding Ferdinand VII of Spain in his bid to recapture his former colonies. Canning sent the first British consul to Buenos Aires and served as mediator in the Argentine-Brazilian territorial dispute which led to the establishment of the state of Uruguay.

Canning's diplomatic successes in Latin America and elsewhere led to his ascendancy to prime minister in 1827, an office he held for only a few months before his death.

See alsoBritish-Latin American Relations; Holy Alliance.


Leslie Bethell, George Canning and the Independence of Latin America (1970).

Wendy Hinde, George Canning (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Manchester, Alan K. British Preeminence in Brazil: Its Rise and Decline: A Study in European Expansion. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1933.

                                           John Dudley