Lloyd’s of London has apologized for what it described as a “shameful” role in the 18th and 19th Century Atlantic slave trade. It has agreed to fund charities and organizations promoting opportunities for black and ethnic minority groups.
Some 17m African men, women and children were transported against their will, shackled in such close quarters that a large percentage died en route from Africa to the Americas. Lloyd’s insurers offered cover to the owners, with the slaves usually being counted as cargo.
“We are sorry for the role played by the Lloyd’s market in the 18th and 19th Century slave trade– an appalling and shameful period of English history, as well as our own,” Lloyd’s said.
It noted that “recent events have shone a spotlight on the inequality that black people have experienced over many years as a result of systematic and structural racism that has existed in many aspects of society and unleashed difficult conversations that were long overdue.”