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Cambridge University finds it gained ‘significant benefits’ from slave trade

Cambridge University finds it gained ‘significant benefits’ from slave trade

Cambridge University finds it gained ‘significant benefits’ from slave trade 

The University of Cambridge gained “large advantages” from the transatlantic slave change, even though there may be no proof the college owned enslaved humans or slave plantations, in keeping with new studies investigating its historic hyperlinks to slavery.


The studies, commissioned in 2019 via way of means of Cambridge’s vice-chancellor, Stephen Toope, highlighted the huge investments made via way of means of Cambridge faculties in businesses closely worried in slave buying and selling, inclusive of the East India Company and the South Sea Company, in addition to the wealth derived from slavery via way of means of the college’s graduates, fellows and benefactors as currently because the 1850s.


“The studies observed no proof that the college immediately owned slave plantations or slaves. However, it recognized large advantages to the college and its faculties springing up from investments in businesses that have been members withinside the change, from person benefactors, and from prices derived from the households of plantation owners,” the college stated in its declaration of the publication.

In response, Cambridge will create and fund a “legacies of enslavement” studies centre to maintain investigations, in addition to growing economic aid for black college students, with devoted scholarships for postgraduate college students from Africa and the Caribbean, along more efforts to recruit and sell black individuals of group of workers.

The college additionally plans to fee works of artwork to have a good time its black graduates, and commemorate group of workers and college students who campaigned for the abolition of slavery and the slave change, frequently in opposition to what Toope defined as “deep-rooted attitudes and practices” in the college network that “underpinned the exercise of enslavement”.


“It isn't in our present to proper anciental wrongs however we are able to start via way of means of acknowledging them,” Toope stated. “Having unearthed our college’s hyperlinks to an appalling records of abuse, the file encourages us to paintings even tougher to deal with modern inequalities – mainly the ones associated with the stories of black groups.”


The file unique investments made via way of means of person faculties inclusive of Gonville & Caius, Trinity and King’s, with numerous making an investment in businesses immediately worried at the peak of the Atlantic slave change. In different instances faculties acquired donations from massive traders in colonial businesses inclusive of the Royal African Company, the South Sea Company, and East India Company.

“Such economic involvement each helped to facilitate the slave change and taken very large economic advantages to Cambridge,” the researchers cited.


The college’s well-known Fitzwilliam Museum was “based on cash inherited from a governor of the slave-buying and selling South Sea Company”, the file notes. The museum will keep an exhibition on slavery and electricity subsequent yr the usage of items from the college’s collection.


But the hyperlinks have been now no longer simply economic: the file stated that the slave-proudly owning brother of an 18th-century grasp of Gonville & Caius “named one enslaved person ‘Caius’ in honour of his brother’s college”.


The file’s authors stated Cambridge’s “participation in imperialism and slavery is extraordinarily complex” and defied clean analysis. It cited that “persuasive voices have known as for economic reparations”, however advocated the college bear in mind the way it can “make a distinction to the groups suffering from the legacies of enslavement”.


Cambridge’s file is the modern of a string of investigations into college investments and donations from wealth received thru slavery and colonial-technology exploitation. The University of Oxford maintains to battle with controversy over the legacy of Cecil Rhodes, whose bequest installed the Rhodes scholarship fund and supported Oriel college, which continues a statue of Rhodes overlooking Oxford’s High Street.

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