William Shirley (2 December 1694 – 24 March 1771) was a British colonial administrator who was the longest-serving governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay (1741–1749 and 1753–1756) and then Governor of the Bahamas (1760–1768). He is best known for his role in organizing the 1745 Siege of Louisbourg during King George's War, and for his role in military affairs during the French and Indian War. He spent most of his years in the colonial administration of North America working to defeat New France, but his lack of formal military training led to political difficulties and his eventual downfall.
Politically well connected, Shirley began his career in Massachusetts as advocate general in the admiralty court, and quickly became an opponent of Governor Jonathan Belcher. He joined with Belcher's other political enemies to bring about Belcher's recall, and was appointed Governor of Massachusetts Bay in Belcher's place. He successfully quieted political divisions within the province, and was able to bring about united action against New France when King George's War began in 1744. The successful Siege of Louisbourg, which Shirley had a major role in organizing, was one of the high points of his administration...
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