Change all Bristol Named Places from Colston to Something More Appropriate

Change all Bristol Named Places from Colston to Something More Appropriate

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Andy Carter started this petition to Boris Johnson (Prime Minister) and

This is to support the removal of all names relating to Edward Colston, a slave trader of Black men, women and children in Bristol.  

In 1654 Colston was apprenticed to the Mercers Company for eight years, and in 1673 he was enrolled into it.  By 1672 he had become a merchant in London.  He built up a successful business trading with Spain, Portugal, Italy and Africa.

In 1680, Colston became a member of the Royal African Company, which had held the monopoly in England on trading along the west coast of Africa in gold, silver, ivory and slaves from 1662.  Colston was deputy governor of the company from 1689 to 1690. His association with the company ended in 1692. This company had been set up by King Charles II and his brother the Duke of York (later King James II), who was the governor of the company, together with City of London merchants, and it had many notable investors, including philosopher and physician John Locke (who later changed his stance on the slave trade) and the diarist Samuel Pepys.

During Colston's involvement with the Royal African Company from 1680 to 1692 it is estimated that the company transported around 84,000 African men, women and children, who had been traded as slaves in West Africa, to the Caribbean and the rest of the Americas, of whom 19,000 died on their journey. Due to the conditions on many of the vessels, the extended journeys affected the ship's crew mortality rates, which were often similar and sometimes greater than those of the slaves.  The slaves were sold for labour on tobacco, and, increasingly, sugar plantations, whose planters considered Africans would be more suited to the conditions than British workers, as the climate resembled the climate of their homeland in West Africa. Enslaved Africans were much less expensive to maintain than indentured servants or paid wage labourers from Britain.

Colston's parents had resettled in Bristol. In 1682 he made a loan to the Bristol Corporation, the following year becoming a member of the Society of Merchant Venturers and a burgess of the City. In 1684 he inherited his brother's mercantile business in Small Street, and was a partner in a sugar refinery in St Peter's Churchyard, shipping raw sugar, produced by slaves, from St Kitts. However, Colston was only resident as an adult in Bristol for a while, and by 1689 he was carrying on his London business from Mortlake in Surrey. He retired in 1708.

According to Morgan in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, it is thought that Colston made much of his fortune from the buying and selling of slaves.  According to Morgan in Edward Colston and Bristol, the proportion of his wealth that came from his involvement in the slave trade and slave-produced sugar is unknown, and can only be the subject of conjecture unless further evidence is unearthed. As well as this income, he made money from his trade in the other commodities mentioned above, interest from money lending, and, most likely, from other careful financial dealings.

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