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John Gilmore

Politician, born in Jamaica into a family of wealthy plantation owners. Sent to England in 1723, he was educated at Westminster School and Oxford. He later studied medicine at Leiden in Holland, but broke off his course there when the death of his father obliged him to return to Jamaica in 1735. When his elder brother died in 1737, he inherited most of the family properties and continued to add to them by inheritance and purchase over the next 30 years. At the time of his death he was sole owner of thirteen sugar plantations in Jamaica, together with other real estate and about 3,000 slaves.

In 1737William Beckford became a member of the Jamaican House of Assembly, but by 1744 he had left Jamaica for Britain where he settled in London as a West India merchant selling the produce of his own estates ...

Article

Elizabeth Heath

Vasco da Gama was born in Sines, Alemtejo. He was en route to India when he became the second European to sail around the Cape of Good Hope in 1497. During the two-year voyage commissioned by King Manuelof Portugal, da Gama stopped at various points along the coast of East Africa, including present-day Mozambique, Mombasa, Malindi, and Zanzibar. During his stop in Malindi, da Gama met ibn Majid, the pilot who taught da Gama the route and navigation skills necessary to complete his journey to Calicut, India. After an unsuccessful attempt to establish a trading post in India, da Gama returned to Portugal in 1499 with many stories of East Africa.

In 1502 da Gama was again commissioned by the king to round the Cape of Good Hope this time to establish economic and political sovereignty over areas of East Africa ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Portuguese explorer who helped open up European commercial links to both western and eastern Africa, was born sometime between 1460 and 1469. He probably was born at Sines, a town on the southwestern coast of Portugal. His father was Estêvão da Gama, a knight in the court of the Duke of Viseu. Da Gama’s mother was Isabel Sodré, a woman of noble descent. It is a paradox that so little is known of da Gama’s life, given his fame as the first Portuguese sea captain to reach India. Since da Gama was a younger son, he may have entered Atlantic exploration to make up for losing out on his father’s inheritance.

At some point da Gama became an agent of King João II of Portugal who sought to promote Atlantic trade and exploration like his more famous predecessor Henry the Navigator Gama joined the Order of Santiago a brotherhood ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

abolitionist and governor of Sierra Leone, was born on 2 May 1768 in Inveraray, Scotland. His father John was a Protestant minister, and Zachary had eleven other siblings. One brother, Alexander, served in the British army in India. Another brother was a prominent Anglican priest. As for Zachary, his early life hardly indicated future greatness. In order to make a living, Macaulay left Scotland to work as an accountant on a Jamaican plantation.

The brutal violence of plantation slavery left a deep mark on Macaulay over time. By 1780 he returned to England rather than remain in the service of slavery There his brother Thomas Babington introduced Macaulay to evangelicals such as the tremendously active reformer and abolitionist William Wilberforce as well as Thomas Clarkson Macaulay became a member of the Clapham Sect a reformist association of evangelicals within the Anglican Church opposed to slavery and in favor of ...

Article

Nazneen Ahmed

Philanthropist instrumental in the founding of the Anti‐Slavery Society. The eldest of twelve children of a Scottish minister, at 14 Macaulay was placed in a merchant's office in Glasgow. In 1784 he was sent Jamaica, where he eventually became the manager of a plantation. His experiences during the eight years he spent in the West Indies caused him to dislike and eventually oppose the system of slavery. In 1796 he was appointed Governor of the Sierra Leone colony for freed slaves, which had been established by Granville Sharp and Henry Thornton in 1791. He resigned from the post in 1799, returning to England to attempt to end the institution of slavery and with 40 African children who were to be educated in Clapham.

Macaulay married Selina Mills in 1799 and was father to nine children including the distinguished historian Thomas Babington Macaulay He was a prominent ...

Article

John Gilmore

second Duke of Montagu (1690–1749). Patron of Blacks, John succeeded his father as duke in 1709. A wealthy and learned man, if not scholarly in any systematic way, Montagu was regarded as a whimsical eccentric who dabbled in many different things. In 1722 he obtained a royal grant of the Caribbean islands of St Lucia and St Vincent, and made an unsuccessful attempt to have these colonized on his behalf, which reportedly lost him a great deal of money.

Montagu was the patron of at least two black people who became well known in the British society of his time. In 1734 he entertained Job ben Solomon on several occasions, gave him presents, and organized the redemption of Job's former companion Loumein Yoai from slavery in Maryland. At a later date Montagu befriended the young Ignatius Sancho and gave him books Subsequently after the duke s ...

Article

The Dutch East India Company commissioned Jan Van Riebeeck to establish a rest and resupply station at the Cape for Dutch ships en route to the East Indies. After landing at Table Bay on April 6, 1652, with about 100 men, he built a fort and hospital on the site. He also established farms in the area around the bay.

Unsuccessful at securing the labor of the indigenous Khoikhoi and San peoples, he advocated the importation of slaves to work the farms well before slavery was established in the colony. Van Riebeeck tackled the problem in 1657 by releasing men from their company employment to farm as free burghers while still maintaining the interests of the company This practice created the class of independent farmers who became known as Afrikaners or Boers The station was not meant to be expanded beyond the area of the bay and Van ...

Article

Eric J. Morgan

Dutch merchant and founder of Cape Town, South Africa, was born on 21 April 1619 in Culemborg, the Netherlands. Born Johan Anthoniszoon van Riebeeck, Jan, as he was known from his childhood onward, was trained as a medical surgeon, like his father before him. Van Riebeeck is known as the father of Afrikanerdom, as his establishment of Cape Town in 1652 led to the migration of tens of thousands of settlers from northwest Europe, who eventually became the Boer or Afrikaner ethnic group who settled in South Africa.

Following his youth in the Netherlands, in 1639 van Riebeeck was employed as a surgeon and later as a merchant by the Dutch East India Company, and during his employ traveled to the East Indies, Japan, and Vietnam. The Dutch East India Company recalled van Riebeeck from Vietnam in 1645 when it learned that the merchant was trading for his own ...