Black Lives Matter: How statues of controversial colonial figures became targets across the world

Adrian Ovalle

Monoliths to controversial colonial figures around the world have actually ended up being the focus of restored analysis after anti-racism protesters in the UK took apart a statue honouring a servant trader.

Hundreds of people cheered as the bronze figure of Edward Colston was tossed into Bristol Harbour throughout Black Lives Matter presentations last weekend.

As the event made global news, people of other countries – mainly former nests or former colonial powers – spoke up about statues they think must no longer be on public display screen, or took direct action to eliminate them.

Sky News takes a look at some of the countries needing to reassess some of their monoliths.

Slaver statue pulled from harbour

New Zealand

Hamilton, New Zealand‘s 4th greatest city, took down a statue of the British marine officer after whom it is called on Friday.

While the city was initially called Kirikiriroa by the Maori, it was relabelled after Captain John Hamilton – a British officer who was eliminated in the notorious Gate Pa fight in the city of Tauranga.

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Hamilton was a captain throughout a series of bloody battles in between Maori and british forces in the middle of the New Zealand wars of the 1800 s.

While historians have actually recommended he never ever really entered the city that went on to be called after him, he is implicated of eliminating native Maori people in the 1860 s.

Employees eliminate a controversial statue of Captain John Hamilton in the city called after him

The statue was talented to the city in 2013, however Maori senior Taitimu Maipi had actually stated he prepared to tear it down himself.

He stated Hamilton was being represented as a hero when he was “murderous” and a “monster.”

Mayor Paula Southgate stated an increasing number of people discovered the statue personally and culturally offensive.

“We can’t ignore what is happening all over the world and nor should we,” she stated.

“At a time when we are trying to build tolerance and understanding between cultures and in the community, I don’t think the statue helps us to bridge those gaps.”

Hamilton’s statue stood in the city’s Civic Square


A longstanding motion in Belgium has actually required monoliths commemorating Leopold II be gotten rid of from public locations.

Busts and statues of the 19 th century king have actually been ruined in half a lots cities considering that global demonstrations started in the wake of George Floyd‘s killing in the United States.

Demonstrators base on the statue of Leopold II, in main Brussels

He supervised of the Congo Free State he established in between 1885 and 1908, throughout which time his administration was accountable for in between one million and 15 million deaths

His program was characterised by methodical cruelty, which included murder, abuse and atrocities.

He managed the usage of required labour to ransack the nation’s natural supply of rubber, with children amongst those who had their hands cut off if quotas were not met.

Leopold II is stated to have actually challenged this kind of penalty on the premises it impacted performance, reputedly stating: “Cut off hands? That’s idiotic. I’d cut off all the rest of them, but not hands. That’s the one thing I need in the Congo.”

The vandalised statue of King Leopold II of Belgium, in Brussels


Advocates in Australia have actually targeted a number of statues that commemorated colonisers, consisting of those of figures such as Captain James Cook and Lachlan Macquarie.

However maybe the most extensively reviled topic of monoliths in the nation is Charles Cameron Kingston, a representation of whom features plainly in Adelaide.

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The head of South Australia’s federal government from 1893 till 1899, he is thought about by some historians to be the designer of the so-called “White Australia policy”.

This described a set of policies developed to avoid people of non-European ethnic origin – especially people of colour from Asia and the Pacific islands – from relocating to Australia.

He has, nevertheless, been admired by others for his role in procedures such as the first law to offer votes to women in Australia – just the second of its kind in the world after New Zealand.

Charles Cameron Kingston, sitting centre, in around1896 Photo: Slate Library of South Australia


The East African nation, in addition to others on the continent, was something of a leader in the motion to get rid of statues offering a tradition to a colonial past.

In 2015, a statue of Queen Victoria that had actually beinged in Nairobi for more than a century was beheaded and tossed into bush.

This act was thought about to be a rejection of a sign of Britain’s guideline over Kenya, which started throughout her reign in 1895, lasting till 1963.

Its elimination was commemorated today, with one local reportedly saying people “do not want to be reminded of slavery, colonialism and the suffering it brought”.

Queen Victoria

In South Africa, duplicated attacks at the University of Cape Town on a statue of Cecil Rhodes – seen by numerous as a designer of apartheid – saw it ultimately concealed and transferred to a military base in 2015.

And numerous years prior to Belgian activists started assaulting monoliths to Leopold II, people in Congo took down statues of the guy some historians have actually implicated of managing genocide in the nation.

Should these statues be removed?

United States

In Addition To statues of Confederate leaders, others of explorer Christopher Columbus were taken apart or efficiently damaged in parts of the United States.

In Richmond, Virginia, one was taken down, set alight and tossed into a lake on Wednesday. And in Boston, a statue of the Italian-born figure was beheaded, while another was fallen in St Paul, Minnesota.

Living from 1451 to 1506, his trips are credited in history books as contributing in the discovery of the New World and ultimate European colonisation of the Americas.

A statue of Christopher Columbus, which was fallen to the ground by protesters in St Paul, Minnesota

Nevertheless, those opposing his ceremony claim he was an essential representative of genocide of native people due to his “cruel policies”.

His two-year stint as guv of Haiti saw around half the native Arawak population pass away due to battling with Columbus’s men, required labour and mass suicide and infanticide, as a result of desperation triggered by his policies.

A different statue of him in Mexico City has actually been surrounded with boards to safeguard it from activists.

The plinth of a Christopher Columbus statue ruined with paint from continuous demonstrations in Byrd Park, Richmond, Virginia

Race and Transformation: Is Modification Going to Come?

Sky News will transmit a global dispute show on Tuesday night at 8pm – taking a look at the problems raised by the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, and taking a look at institutional bigotry and how we repair it.

If you would like to be part of our virtual audience, and have a chance of putting a concern to our panel, please send your area, concern and name to

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