Fri 08 October 2021:
Representatives of the City of London municipal authority on Thursday voted in favour of retaining in their Guildhall ceremonial home two statues linked to the transatlantic slave trade.
To clarify how they benefitted from the slave trade, councillors decided to place plaques to the statues of William Beckford, a former lord mayor and plantation owner, and John Cass, a merchant and director of the Royal African Company, which enslaved Africans and transported them to America.
Between the 16th and 19th centuries, British ships transported almost three million slaves across the Atlantic. Lloyd’s of London insured several of the ships, and former Bank of England governors and directors profited as well.
Following the murder of George Floyd in America last year, institutions in the city looked into their past ties to slavery.
Europe’s sugar colonies in the West Indies were built on slave labour from Africa during the 17th and 18th centuries and the City of London was the financial centre of the trans-Atlantic trade in humans.
Historians estimate between one and two-thirds of the British marine insurance market was based on the slave trade in the 18th century, in particular, insuring the ships returning to Europe with produce from the plantations.
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