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Lloyd’s of London to pay for its ‘shameful’ sins in Atlantic slave trade

The world’s leading commercial insurance market, Lloyd’s – which started life in Edward Lloyd’s coffee house in 1688 – is where complex insurance contracts ranging from catastrophe to events cancellation are agreed and underwritten.

Lloyd’s grew to dominate the shipping insurance market, a key element of Europe’s global scramble for empire, treasure and slaves, who were generally in the 18th century included in insurance policies in the general rate for ship cargo.

Lloyd’s said it would invest in programmes to attract black and minority ethnic talent, review its organisation’s artefacts to ensure they were not racist and provide financial support to charities and organisations promoting opportunity for black and minority ethnic people.

In the biggest deportation in known history, weapons and gunpowder from Europe were swapped for millions of African slaves who were shipped across the Atlantic to the Americas. Ships returned to Europe with sugar, cotton and tobacco.

Those who survived endured a life of subjugation on sugar, tobacco and cotton plantations. Britain abolished the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1807, although the full abolition of slavery did not follow for another generation.

A sweeping global reassessment of history and racism has been triggered by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while detaining him.

Protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement hold placard and banners as they gather at Hyde Park last Saturday.

Protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement hold placard and banners as they gather at Hyde Park last Saturday. Credit:AP

An Oxford University college said on Wednesday it wanted to remove from its facade a statue of 19th-century colonialist Cecil Rhodes that has been a target of anti-racism protests.

Greene King, which describes itself as Britain’s leading pub owner and brewer, apologised for the profit one of its original founders made from the slave trade.

“It is inexcusable that one of our founders profited from slavery and argued against its abolition in the 1800s,” chief executive Nick Mackenzie said.

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