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Lord Nelson's colonial legacy and the Royal Navy's links to slavery need to be reassessed by the museum


Lord Horatio Nelson's legacy is being reviewed by the National Maritime Museum as part of its efforts to challenge the "barbaric history of race and colonialism" in Britain.

The museum in Greenwich, London contains the Hero's Admiral's love letters and the cloak he wore when he was killed during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Internal documents indicate that the museum is trying to harness the "dynamics of the Black Lives Matter movement" and address the Royal Navy's links with slavery.

Displays and statues are being modified to reflect their "more complex" nature as part of the museum's strategy to reevaluate historical events.

It's not clear if the museum's documents highlight the fact that after the British made the slave trade illegal in 1807, the Royal Navy became a police force against the barbaric practice.

Lord Horatio Nelson's legacy is being reviewed by the National Maritime Museum as part of its efforts to challenge the "barbaric history of race and colonialism" in Britain. Pictured: Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London

The museum has already addressed the colonial legacy of Captain James Cook (pictured) and Francis Drake in its exhibits

The museum has already addressed the colonial legacy of Captain James Cook (pictured) and Francis Drake in its exhibits

The National Maritime Museum seeks to communicate the "often barbaric history of race, colonialism and representation in British maritime history," the Telegraph reported.

The questions raised by the Black Lives Matter movement will guide their new strategy which uses a database to uncover Britain's links to slavery.

Statues of heroes of the Royal Navy, including Admiral Edward Pellew, were also included in the museum's publicly funded review of the UK's naval past.

The director of the Royal Museum Greenwich, Paddy Rogers, explained to staff the social reassessment of colonial history after Edward Colston's statue was overthrown in Bristol earlier this year and gave the museum a "moment to shine".

Nelson has been criticized for his support by slave owners and the colonies of the British Empire. Pictured: the portrait of the Museum of Nelson

The museum contains the Admiral Lord's love letters and the bullet (pictured) that Lord Nelson killed during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805

Nelson has been criticized for his support by slave owners and the colonies of the British Empire. Pictured: the museum portrait of Nelson (left) and the bullet that killed him (right). It is also on display in the museum

Victory in Trafalgar: How Nelson Fought the French Navy to Save Britain from the Impending Invasion of Napoleon

It was fought on the Spanish coast and would be Lord Nelson's (pictured) last and greatest victory against the French

It was fought on the Spanish coast and would be Lord Nelson's (pictured) last and greatest victory against the French

The 1805 sea battle of Trafalgar is considered to be one of the most divisive sea battles in history. A British fleet under Admiral Lord Nelson defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet.

It was fought off the coast of Spain and would be Lord Nelson's last and greatest victory against the French.

The battle began after Nelson saw a French-Spanish force of 33 ships.

Usually, opposing fleets form two lines and compete against each other until one fleet withdraws. However, when Nelson was about to deal with the enemy, he split his 27 ships into two divisions.

He signaled a famous message from the flagship: "England expects every man to do his duty."

In five hours of fighting, the British devastated the enemy fleet and destroyed 19 enemy ships.

A French sniper fatally shot Nelson in the shoulder and chest. He quickly realized he was going to die and was taken below deck, where he lost his life approximately 30 minutes before the end of the battle.

After the admiral was informed that victory was imminent, the final words were: “Now I am satisfied. Thank god I did my duty. & # 39;

Mr Rogers said perspectives on history and identity have "never been discussed as hotly as here and now".

The museum's collections team said, “We are in the process of introducing our new strategy and part of it is specifically about the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement.

"All museum collections are partial and the story is often told from a specific perspective."

Speaking to the Evening Standard in June, Mr Rogers said, "I think the challenges we have faced (mine) are all in a process of reassessment.

The statue of Admiral Pellew in the museum is getting new tagging information showing that he was a Royal Navy officer who helped protect the slave trade. Pictured: Admiral Pellew's portrait

The statue of Admiral Pellew in the museum is getting new tagging information showing that he was a Royal Navy officer who helped protect the slave trade. Pictured: Admiral Pellew's portrait

Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith dealt Napoleon his first defeat at the siege of Acre. His statue is also being checked

Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith dealt Napoleon his first defeat at the siege of Acre. His statue is also being checked

The statue of Admiral Lord James de Saumarez will also be expanded with new information. The soldier fought numerous colonial battles with the revolutionary Americans

The statue of Admiral Lord James de Saumarez will also be expanded with new information. The soldier fought numerous colonial battles with the revolutionary Americans

"Young people have already wondered if society is structured to meet their needs, and what we've seen about Black Lives Matter is one expression of that.

"Opening it up – doing research, giving access, talking about things – doesn't have to be as scary as people seem to make it."

Sir William Peel, son of Robert, fought in the Crimean War

Sir William Peel, son of Robert, fought in the Crimean War

Nelson has been criticized for his support for the slave owners and colonies of the British Empire, as well as for his opposition to William Wilberforce, who led the movement to abolish the slave trade.

The statue of Admiral Pellew in the museum is getting new tagging information showing that he was a Royal Navy officer who helped protect the slave trade.

New information is also added to the statues of Captain Sir William Peel, Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith and Admiral James de Saumarez.

The museum has already addressed the colonial legacy of Captain Cook and Francis Drake in its exhibitions.

The museum's curators said, “Our goal is to be honest and transparent, to provide historical evidence to people and to be a place for dialogue.

& # 39; The museum will continue to develop, reevaluating and reinterpreting its collections and exhibitions.

"There are no plans to remove statues or busts, although our ads are constantly changing."

However, it is unclear whether the museum wants to highlight how the Royal Navy controlled the world's oceans after 1807 to prevent other nations and traders from continuing to transport slaves.

The Navy operated against slave traders through the West Coast of Africa Station, known as the "Preventive Squadron".

Without the cooperation of all governments still involved in the trade, the operation was costly and many British people were killed.

The death rate for men working in the squadron was 55 per 1,000 men, compared to 10 for fleets sailing in the Mediterranean Sea or closer to home.

In the 1850s, an estimated 25 ships and 3,000 officers and crew were working in the squadron.

The pursuit, capture, and sometimes destruction of slave ships became widespread in Britain too and was very popular with ordinary British people.

Between 1808 and 1860, the West Africa Squadron captured 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans.

Monuments to politicians, war heroes, and writers, all targeted for links to slavery and racist beliefs

Since Edward Colston's statue was thrown into Bristol Harbor, there has been a wave of vandal attacks on various monuments across Britain.

A statue to Winston Churchill was defaced with the words "was a racist" and "damn your agenda" written under the memorial to the wartime prime minister in Westminster Square, London.

Robert Milligan & # 39; s slave trader was covered in a shord and the message & # 39; Black Lives Matter & # 39; was placed on it in the West India Docks to demand that it be abolished. It was later removed by the Tower Hamlets Council.

Tower Hamlets Council removed a statue of slave trader Robert Milligan after it was covered and displayed the message "Black Lives Matter" during protests last month

Tower Hamlets Council removed a statue of slave trader Robert Milligan after it was covered and displayed the message "Black Lives Matter" during protests last month

Less than a year after it was built, "Nazi" was scrawled under a statue of Nancy Astor, the first woman to sit in Parliament in Plymouth.

A monument to 19th century politician Henry Vassall-Fox, the third Baron of Holland, was splattered with red paint in Holland Park. In the arms of the bronze statue was a cardboard sign with the inscription "I owned 401 slaves", on the base of which the number was painted next to red handprints.

A listed monument to Admiral Lord Nelson, Britain's leading naval hero, located in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral, has been sprayed with a black “V” in the center of a circle – an anarchist symbol.

Red paint splattered another stature of Lord Nelson in Deptford Town Hall in south London.

In Kent, a former councilor wrote "Dickens Racist" in front of a museum dedicated to the beloved 19th century author. Letters from the author Oliver Twist indicated that he wanted to "exterminate" Indian citizens after a failed uprising.

A statue of Civil War Leader Oliver Cromwell in Wythenshawe Park in Manchester last month read "Cromwell is a cockroach", "Damn Racist" and the acronym "BLM" from Black Lives Matter. Thousands of people were massacred during the Cromwellian Conquest of Ireland.

BLM has also been scrawled over the Worcester Civil War Memorial in Royal Park.

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