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Jane Austen's Georgian Era

An illustration in bright colors showing King George III in a royal carriage with two other people and a mob of poor people throwing stones at it.
An engraving by James Gillray depicting the 1795 attack on King George III.

While we associate Jane Austen with the Regency era, that subset of the Georgian Era, it’s important to remember she grew up when King George III still ruled Great Britain and Ireland, and those last two decades of the Georgian era were rather turbulent (and he was still on the throne when she died).

By the time Austen was born in 1775, the American revolution was already 10 years old and just heating up into military conflict – and it would end when she was only six. By the time Austen was a teenager, the French revolution would begin in 1789, with the storming of the Bastille, pushing England’s neighbor across the channel into a new era free of monarchy and feudalism (for a time anyway)

Farther away, New South Wales, Australia, became a penal colony to solve the problem of overcrowding prisons in Britain in 1788.

Closer to home, riots, suppression, and royal crises took place. Here’s a non-exhaustive (and perhaps partial and prejudiced?) account of important events during Jane Austen’s first 20 years.

For more world events later in her life, read this interview with author and former JASP speaker, Robert Morrisson(or buy his book - don't forget to use Amazon Smile to support the Jane Austen Summer Program!) For a timeline of Jane Austen’s life, see this post.

And if you prefer to take a visual approach, here is a list of movies set in the Georgian and Regency eras.

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