On May 25th, a worldwide audience saw the death of George Floyd, an African-American man, at the hands of a white, Minneapolis police officer. The incident sparked a nationwide protest against police brutality and racial injustice in the United States, a movement that soon spread to Europe where protesters expressed solidarity with America’s racial justice movement.
UK protesters in Bristol, a port city that was central to the British slave trade, tore down the statue of Edward Colston, a slave trader whose ships transported around 80,000 Africans to the Americas. Between 1695 and 1807, a total of 2,200 slave ships left from Bristol’s ports for the Americas.
The opposition to Edward Colston’s statue is rooted in a desire for Great Britain to take greater responsibility for the damage perpetuated by its involvement in the slave trade. ‘
The transatlantic slave trade operated from the 16th to 19th centuries during which time ships from Great Britain, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark transported approximately 12 million people from Western Africa to the Americas to work as slaves on colonial farms and plantations. An estimated one to two million Africans died due to the brutal conditions onboard the slave ships.