- historical event:
- British Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law was born on the territory of what is now Canada. He suffered an unusual fate because he was diagnosed with an incurable disease soon after becoming Prime Minister. Specifically, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
This day in 1923 marked the death of the only British Prime Minister who wasn’t born in Britain. His name was Andrew Bonar Law, and he was born on the territory of what is now Canada, in the town of Kingston (now Rexton). At the time of his birth, that part of Canada was called New Brunswick, and it was a British colony.
The Prime Minister’s father was a Protestant priest named James Law. The Prime Minister received his unusual given name, Andrew Bonar, in honor of a prominent priest of that Protestant denomination. It is important to note that Bonar was that priest’s surname rather than his given name.
As an adult, Andrew Bonar Law went under the name A. Bonar Law, while his friends and the general public generally called him Bonar rather than Andrew. After entering politics, Bonar became one of the leaders of the British Conservative Party in 1911, and was given the title Leader of the Oppisition (head of the so-called “Shadow Government”).
When the Conservatives came to power in 1922, Bonar Law became the British Prime Minister. He thus succeeded the famous David Lloyd George, who had lead the country during World War I (the Great War) and during the peace talks with the defeated Germany, in Versailles.
Bonar Law suffered an unusual fate because he was diagnosed with an incurable disease soon after becoming Prime Minister. Specifically, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Since the disease prevented him from speaking in the parliament, he resigned. Thus, he was the Prime Minister for only 211 days, the shortest term among all the British Prime Ministers of the 20th century. He died only a few months after his resignation, exactly on this day in 1923.