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Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th Earl of Minto : biography

9 July 1845 - 1 March 1914

Gilbert John Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th Earl of Minto (9 July 18451 March 1914) was a British nobleman and politician who served as Governor General of Canada, the eighth since Canadian Confederation, and as Viceroy and Governor-General of India, the country's 17th.



Lord Melgund in 1885, as Middleton's chief of staff The Earl of Minto's popularity in Canada outlived him. In addition to a Minto Place in Rockcliffe, Ottawa and Minto Street in Vancouver and the SS Minto, a famous steamer on the Arrow Lakes, the gold-mining company town of Minto City in the Bridge River Country, est. 1936, was named in honour of the Earl. Also named for the Earl was Mount Minto in the Atlin District of far northern British Columbia as well as the town of Minto, North Dakota in the United States. In addition, Minto, New Brunswick was renamed in memory of him. Minto Park in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India, commemorates him. The school from which Aligarh Muslim University evolved was named behind him as Minto Circle after his generous funding for the construction of the new school buildings.

Minto Road, an area where most of the ministers of Bangladesh government have their official residence, is named after Lord Minto.

The Town of Minto, Ontario is named for Minto.

Early life and career

Minto was born in London, the son of William Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 3rd Earl of Minto, and Emma, daughter of General Sir Thomas Hislop, 1st Baronet. After completing his education at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, he was commissioned Lieutenant in the Scots Guards in 1867, but left in 1870. He joined the 1st Roxburghshire Mounted Rifle Volunteer Corps as a Captain in 1872. In 1874, in the capacity of a newspaper correspondent, he witnessed the operations of the Carlists in Spain; he took service with the Turkish army in the war with Russia in 1877 and served under Lord Roberts in the second Afghan War (1878–1879), having narrowly escaped accompanying Sir Louis Cavagnari on his fatal mission to Kabul.

He acted as private secretary to Lord Roberts during his mission to the Cape in 1881, and was with the army occupying Egypt in 1882, thus furthering his military career and his experience of colonial administration. He was promoted Major in 1882. He was military secretary to the Marquess of Lansdowne during his governor-generalship of Canada from 1883 to 1885, and lived in Canada with his wife, Mary Caroline Grey, sister of Lord Grey, Governor General from 1904 to 1911, whom he had married in Britain on 28 July 1883. On this first Canadian visit, he was very active in raising a Canadian volunteer force to serve with the British Army in the Sudan Campaign of 1884. He served as Chief of Staff to General Middleton in the Riel Rebellion of 1885. When he was offered command of the North-West Mounted Police, he decided instead to pursue a political career in Britain. On his departure home to Britain, Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald apparently said to him, "I shall not live to see it, but some day Canada will welcome you back as Governor General".

His political aspirations were checked with his defeat in the 1886 general election. He then applied himself with great enthusiasm to promoting a volunteer army in Britain. In 1888 he was promoted Colonel on assuming command of the South of Scotland Brigade. He resigned his commission in 1889.

Governor General of Canada

Having succeeded to the earldom in 1891, Macdonald's prediction came true when Lord Minto was named Governor General of Canada in the summer of 1898. Sir Wilfrid Laurier wrote that Lord Minto "took his duties to heart" and a review of his life reveals an energetic man who welcomed many challenges and responsibilities.

Lord Minto's term of office was marked by a period of strong nationalism which saw economic growth coupled with massive immigration to Canada. Relations with the United States were strained as border and fishing disputes continued to create problems between the two countries.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine