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Peter Beckford

(baptised 1643-1710), Owner of enslaved people; politician

Sitter in 1 portrait
Peter Beckford was a planter and politician in Jamaica. Samuel Pepys recorded in 1661 that he had promised to help Beckford travel to Jamaica. Although it is not clear when he left, in 1675 Beckford was described as a merchant at Port Royal. He became successful, eventually owning land, a storehouse and a wharf in the port. Beckford moved into politics and was elected to the House of Assembly for Jamaica in 1675. After the earthquake of 1692 he became the first Justice of the Peace of the port town of Kingston. During this time, Beckford brought a substantial amount of land and developed it into sugar plantations. At his death, it was estimated that he owned £1,500,000 in bank stock. His son, also named Peter Beckford, went on to become one of the richest plantation owners in Jamaica, owning over a thousand enslaved Africans.

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Peter Beckford, by John Murphy, after  Unknown artist - NPG D31549

Peter Beckford

by John Murphy, after Unknown artist
mezzotint, circa 1780-1820
NPG D31549

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