Edward Colston(1636-1721), Slave-trader, merchant and philanthropist
Sitter in 2 portraits
Born in Bristol, Edward Colston was an apprentice at the Mercers' Company in London and built up a lucrative business trading in textiles and wool. In 1680 he became a member of the Royal African Company, which at the time had a monopoly on the transatlantic slave trade. Much of his wealth was made from buying and selling enslaved people. Despite living and trading in London he was a major benefactor to Bristol where he founded almshouses and endowed schools, churches and hospitals. He also donated to charitable causes in London, Surrey, Devon and Lancashire. At his death, he bequeathed half his wealth to charities.
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