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Edward Colston

(1636—1721) merchant and philanthropist


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(1636–1721). Controversial philanthropist and merchant involved in the slave trade. He was the Bristol-born son of a Bristol merchant who spent his early life in London, but it is in Bristol that he is most famous. A staunch Anglican and Tory, he was briefly MP for the city in 1710. His huge donations to church renovation and school building projects, mainly but not exclusively in Bristol, ensured his reputation as the city's greatest benefactor, as his major statue in the centre and his fine tomb by Michael Rysbrack attest. Several Bristol streets, schools, buildings, and venerable local charities still bear his name, and his birthday is still honoured in civic celebrations.

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From The Oxford Companion to Black British History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: British History.


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