George Nathaniel Curzon

Curzon of Kedleston, George Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Marquess

George Nathaniel Curzon Curzon of Kedleston, 1st Marquess (kûr´zən, kĕd´əlstən), 1859–1925, British statesman. A member of the minor aristocracy, he attended Eton and Oxford. From his university days onward, he earned a reputation for an unusually high intelligence mingled with an enormous ego, snobbery, and pomposity. Entering Parliament as a conservative in 1886, he showed early brilliance in politics and was undersecretary of state for India (1891–92) and undersecretary for foreign affairs (1895–98). Three trips to Asia resulted in several books—Russia in Central Asia (1889), Persia and the Persian Question (1892), and Problems of the Far East (1894). As viceroy of India (1898–1905) he championed the imperial colonial ideal, achieved important reforms in administration, transportation, education, and currency, and set up (1901) the North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). He also partitioned (1905) Bengal, an action that angered Indian nationalists. He resigned (1905) after a quarrel with Lord Kitchener, commander of the army in India, who was supported by the home government.

After his return to England, Curzon became (1907) chancellor of the Univ. of Oxford and was created (1911) an earl (raised to marquess in 1921). During World War I he served in the coalition cabinets of Asquith (see Oxford and Asquith, Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st earl of) and Lloyd George. As foreign secretary (1919–24), he presided over the Conference of Lausanne (see under Lausanne, Treaty of), disapproved of the French occupation of the Ruhr, and paved the way for the Dawes Plan for settling German war reparations. He expected to succeed Andrew Bonar Law as prime minister in 1923 and was bitterly disappointed at being passed over in favor of Stanley Baldwin.

See biographies by Lord Ronaldshay (1928), K. Rose (1969), and D. Gilmour (1994, U.S. ed. 2003); D. Dilks, Curzon in India (2 vol., 1969).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Curzon in India
David Dilks.
Taplinger, 1970
Curzon: the Last Phase, 1919-1925: A Study in Post-War Diplomacy
Harold Nicolson.
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1934
Dictionary of National Biography: [Fourth Supplement] 1922-1930
J. R. H. Weaver.
Oxford University Press, 1937
Librarian’s tip: "Curzon, George Nathaniel, Marques Curzon of Kedleston" begins on p. 221
Lloyd George, Curzon and the Control of British Foreign Policy 1919-22
Bennett, G. H.
The Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 45, No. 4, December 1999
Britain and Chinese Central Asia: The Road to Lhasa, 1767 to 1905
Alastair Lamb.
Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IX "Curzon's Tibetan Policy 1899 to 1902"
Britain and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Study in the Politics of Diplomacy, 1920-1924
Stephen White.
Holmes & Meier, 1980
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "The Curzon Note"
Britain's Moment in the Middle East, 1914-1956
Elizabeth Monroe.
Johns Hopkins Press, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Together at the Peace: 1919-22"
Britain: Commonwealth and Empire, 1901-1955
Paul Knaplund.
H. Hamilton, 1956
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Lord Curzon begins on p. 187
Lord Curzon Takes Office as Viceroy of India January 6th, 1899
Cavendish, Richard.
History Today, Vol. 49, No. 1, January 1999
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