ONE of Scotland's leading universities received benefits worth the equivalent of up to £199 million from slave trade cash, researchers have found.

Glasgow University carried out a year-long study into thousands of donations made in the 18th and 19th centuries and discovered some were linked to slave trade profits, despite the university's leading role in the abolitionist movement.

The university has now announced plans to create a centre for the study of slavery and a memorial or tribute in university grounds in the name of the enslaved as part of a reparative justice programme.

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The research identified 16 bursaries, endowments and bequests donated between 1809 and 1937 from people whose wealth at least in part derived from slavery.

Donations to the 1866-1880 campaign to build current campus at Gilmorehill found 23 people who gave money had some financial links to the New World slave trade.

In total, the money received is estimated as having a present day value of between £17 million and £199 million.

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Glasgow University Principal Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli said: "This report has been an important undertaking and commitment to find out if the university benefited from slavery in the past.

"Although the university never owned enslaved people or traded in the goods they produced, it is now clear we received significant financial support from people whose wealth came from slavery.

"The university deeply regrets this association with historical slavery which clashes with our proud history of support for the abolition of both the slave trade and slavery itself.

"Looking to the future, the University has set out a programme of reparative justice through which we will seek to acknowledge this aspect of the University’s past, enhance awareness and understanding of historical slavery, and forge positive partnerships with new partners including the University of the West Indies.”

He highlighted the university's historic anti-slavery activity which included petitioning Parliament to abolish slavery, awarding an honorary degree to the emancipationist, William Wilberforce, and educating former slave James McCune Smith, who became the first ever African American to receive a medical degree.

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The report, co-authored by Glasgow University academics, Professor Simon Newman and Dr Stephen Mullen.

Dr Mullen is author of 'It Wisnae Us', a seminal work charting the links between plantation-owning tobacco and sugar lords and the city’s rich architectural heritage.

Professor Newman, the University of Glasgow report’s co-author, welcomed : “The University of Glasgow has made history in the UK today by acknowledging that alongside its proud history of abolitionism is an equally significant history of financially benefitting from racial slavery.

"In doing this, Glasgow follows in the footsteps of leading American universities which have confronted the role of slavery in their histories."