Barbados has taken down the statue of British Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson from main square of the capital city, Bridgetown recently, two months after it announced plans to remove Britain’s Queen Elizabeth as its Head of State and forget its colonial past.
The bronze statue of Nelson was commissioned in 1813 in a bid to commemorate Nelson and the British Royal Navy’s triumph over France and Spain in 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.
However, the bronze statue has been targeted for removal by a lot of administrations since 1990 as a reminder of colonial rule. It got even more controversial due to Nelson‘s defence of the slave trade which led to Barbados’ plantation economy.
Initially, the square where the statue stood was called Trafalgar Square but was renamed National Heroes Square in 1999, though Nelson’s name does not appear on the list of Barbados’ 10 National Heroes.
The worldwide reassessment of history and racism sparked by the killing of George Floyd in May 2020 prompted the government to take action.
During a recent ceremony, the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley said the government accepted that the statue was an “important, historic relic.”
But she added that: “It is not a relic to be placed in the National Heroes Square of a nation that has had to fight for too long to shape its destiny and to forge a positive future for its citizens.”
The Nelson statue will be moved to the Barbados Museum in the Historic Garrison Area.
In 1625, Barbados was claimed for England and got independence after over three centuries of colonial rule in 1966. The current population of Barbados is about 287,000 people who are moslty the descendants of African slaves that were brought over to work at the plantations.
Also, there are moves to ditch Queen Elizabeth as Barbados’ head of state and to become a republic before it celebrates its 55th independence anniversary next year.