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Should we be celebrating Sir Francis Drake?

The online petition has now passed 1,000 signatures

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for the removal of two Devon statutes of Sir Francis Drake.

The famous Westcountry explorer and military commander- who circumnavigated the world in the 16th century - had links to the early slave trade.

There's also a counter petition 'to keep Sir Francis Drake statues in Plymouth'. It has received close to 1,000 signatures and says he's part of local history - turning against slavery in later life.

Yesterday London's Mayor backed a council's removal of a statue of slave trader Robert Miligan.

On Sunday a statue of Bristol slave trader Edward Colston was toppled and thrown into the harbour.

Some Black Lives Matter campaigners want up to 60 statues removed and another petition calls on Parliament to remove all statues of slave owners.

The remove the Devon statues petition says: "This petition calls upon Plymouth City Council and Tavistock Council for the removal of the identical statues of Sir Francis Drake in Tavistock, Devon and on Plymouth Hoe, in support of the movement Black Lives Matter.

"Francis Drake and his cousin John Hawkins were not only slave traders, but pioneers of the British slave trade involvement."

It adds: "In primary schools, children are taught about British history where Drake was a celebrated figure. The focus of these lessons are his circumnavigation around the world and his role in the victorious battle against the Spanish Armada.

"The focus of these lessons should be: John Hawkins and his cousin Francis Drake were England's first slave traders. In 1562 they sailed from The Barbican in Plymouth with three ships and violently kidnapped about 400 Africans in Guinea, later trading them in the West Indies.

"Between 1562 and 1567 Hawkins and Drake made three voyages to Guinea and Sierra Leone and enslaved between 1,200 and 1,400 Africans. According to slavers' accounts of the time this would probably have involved the death of three times that number.

"School children should be taught that these horrors outweigh any discoveries that Drake made or battles he helped win. They should know that his knighthood came at the cost of millions of black people’s lives, and the celebration of his so-called achievements are long outdated.

"For those of you who think that this is not an immediate issue, or that this is 'just the way it has always been' you are saying to people of colour that white history is more important than black history. You're saying that you don’t care what Drake did to their ancestors and you’re happy to look at a statue of him in honour anyway. For those saying 'can’t we just celebrate him for reasons other than the slave trade' we cannot continue to compartmentalise history."

The counter petition 'to keep Sir Francis Drake statues in Plymouth' says: "Sir Francis drake is a part of Plymouth's heritage. 

"We have one island named after him. please help me in this petition to keep the statues. our children are even taught about his accomplishments in primary school as he is a massive part of Plymouth's history Sir Francis Drake did sell slaves when he was younger.

"Then he saw how badly they were treated and helped them escape and turned against slavery. He allied with some of the slaves and they helped him defeat the Spanish. "

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