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Sir Francis Drake statue will get plaque about his 'horrific slave trading'


Plans to rebrand a statue of Sir Francis Drake to highlight his 'horrific slave trading expeditions' are going ahead despite receiving only one letter of support – and 89 objections.

The sculpture, based in the explorer's home town of Tavistock, West Devon, was reviewed by local council officials in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests.

Now a new sign that claims he 'brutally attacked' African communities has been authorised.

Sir Francis is renowned for circumnavigating the world in a single expedition on his ship the Golden Hind from 1577 to 1580 and for defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588.

The plan for the new plaque was raised by Tavistock town council with West Devon borough council, which approved it.

Officials received 89 written objections to the proposal, including some that argued Sir Francis was a 'national hero' and a 'seminal historical figure'.

There was just one letter of support which urged officials to put his defeat of the Spanish Armada in the 'most prominent position' on the sign. The statue currently features a brief biography set in granite at its base.

The new panel, which will stand next to the sculpture, will read: 'His life story is full of contrasts. He was seen as a hero for being the first Englishman to sail right around the world, and he played a major role in defending England from the Spanish Armada.

'But he was also involved in several horrific slave trading expeditions. Furthermore, as a privateer he looted and plundered Spanish towns and ships in Europe and throughout their Empire in the Americas.'

The sign will 'provide understanding to residents and visitors', according to planning documents for the scheme.