Edward Colston

English merchant, politician, philanthropist and slave trader (1636–1721) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Edward Colston (2 November 1636 – 11 October 1721) was an English merchant, slave trader, philanthropist, and Tory Member of Parliament.

Quick facts: Edward Colston, Member of Parliament for Bris...
Edward Colston
Member of Parliament for Bristol
In office
Personal details
Born(1636-11-02)2 November 1636
Bristol, England
Died11 October 1721(1721-10-11) (aged 84)
Mortlake, Surrey, England
Resting placeAll Saints' Church, Bristol
Political partyTory
RelativesEdward Colston (nephew)

Colston followed his father in the family business becoming a sea merchant, initially trading in wine, fruits and textiles, mainly in Spain, Portugal and other European ports. By 1680, he became involved in the slave trade as a senior executive of the Royal African Company, which held a monopoly on the English trade in African slaves. He was deputy governor of the company in 1689–90.

Colston supported and endowed schools and other public institutions in Bristol, London and elsewhere. His name was widely commemorated in Bristol landmarks, and a statue of him was erected in 1895.

With growing awareness in the late 20th century of his involvement in Britain's slave trade, there were protests and petitions for name changes, culminating in June 2020, when the statue was toppled and pushed into Bristol Harbour during protests in support of Black Lives Matter. The city's concert venue, Colston Hall was renamed Bristol Beacon along with several other locations that held his name.