George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland

George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland

George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, GCB (25 August 1784 – 1 January 1849), served as a politician in the United Kingdom and as Governor-General of India.

The son of William Eden, 1st Baron Auckland, he studied at Christ Church, Oxford and was admitted to the bar in 1809. On the death of his father in 1814 he became the 2nd Baron Auckland, since his elder brother had drowned in the River Thames in 1810. He took his seat in the House of Lords on his father's death, supporting the reform party. His sister was the traveller and author Emily Eden, who would visit India for long periods and write about her experiences.

In 1830 he became President of the Board of Trade and Master of the Mint. In 1834 and 1835 he held office for a few months as First Lord of the Admiralty. He gave a commission to William Hobson to sail for the East Indies, which Hobson ultimately rewarded in the naming of his new town Auckland, New Zealand in 1840. The town of Eden, New South Wales is also named after him.

In 1835 Lord Auckland took up the appointment of Governor-General of India. As a legislator he dedicated himself especially to the improvement of native schools and the expansion of the commercial industry of India. But complications in Afghanistan interrupted this work in 1838.

Lord Auckland decided on war, and on 1 October 1838 in Simla published a manifesto dethroning Dost Mahommed Khan. After successful early operations he received promotion to the new title of Earl of Auckland. However the Afghan campaign ultimately ended in disaster (see Dost Mohammad and the British in Afghanistan for details of the first Anglo-Afghan war).

He handed over the governor-generalship to Lord Ellenborough and returned to England the following year. In 1846 he again became First Lord of the Admiralty, holding this office until his death on 1 January 1849.

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