The statue of George Washington in Trafalgar Square in London sits on a base of soil imported from Virginia because Washington swore he would never set foot on British soil again. “In a square that marks one of Britain’s greatest victories stands a reminder of one of its greatest defeats.”

Why George Washington’s Statue in London Doesn’t Touch British Soil

Outside the National Gallery in London sits the strangest statue in Trafalgar Square, or maybe all of England. It’s not bizarre because of its design or composition, but instead for whom the statue honors.

It is a replica, one of 25 or more, spread around the world. But it seems strange only in London, considering who it is and where the statue is placed.

It’s a statue of George Washington, onetime citizen of Great Britain, father of the United States and rebellious colonial. In a square that marks one of Britain’s greatest victories stands a reminder of one of its greatest defeats.

Washington’s statue is not only there, it’s resplendent with symbols of authority, like the 13 wooden rods on which he leans (also a symbol of the 1… Continue Reading (3 minute read)

9 thoughts on “The statue of George Washington in Trafalgar Square in London sits on a base of soil imported from Virginia because Washington swore he would never set foot on British soil again. “In a square that marks one of Britain’s greatest victories stands a reminder of one of its greatest defeats.””

  1. aintnufincleverhere

    There’s a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Manchester. The story behind it is fascinating.

    Apparently during the American Civil War, the North imposed a naval blockade on the South, to prevent them from exporting cotton picked by slaves. A town in the UK was entirely reliant on that cotton in order to survive. When it came time to decide if the town would support the blockade, or support sending the royal navy to break the blockade, **the townspeople decided they’d rather starve than support slavery.**

  2. Gemmabeta

    And Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette is buried in Paris, but soil he’s under is shipped from Bunker Hill.

  3. beeds

    I don’t think it’s controversial to say that both a. The war of independence wasn’t the most catastrophic and important event in British history and b. was probably a bigger deal than some people are making out.

  4. donutdisaster

    This is a quality post, going down a rabbit hole in history like this is so interesting.

  5. Singer211

    The Royal Navy ships flew their flags at half mast when they heard of Washington’s death. And multiple British politicians eulogized him.

    They may have not been happy they lost the war, but their was a respect for him amongst many at least.

  6. decalod85

    I wonder what Washington would have thought of the long term friendship of our two nations?

  7. Scallywag134

    In Virginia, there’s a college named after John Hampden and Algernon Sidney who were patriots killed by the Crown for dissenting opinion.

    Happy to see such a sharing and remembering of history by both countries.

  8. blue_rizla

    This thread will turn in to a slapfight between:

    – Americans getting their feelings hurt finding out that the Brits don’t know very much about the war of independence or consider it a particularly important moment in British history

    – Overly defensive Brits who react to the thought that Americans think Brits *should* consider it a big deal by insisting that they’ve never heard of George Washington, don’t know what America is, and here’s 1000 words to show how little they know or care about this, how dare you suggest that they should even remotely know anything about a war we had so many wars here’s a list of all the wars

  9. flat_earth_pancakes

    Gotta love how monumental shifts in the course of human history get boiled down to Ws and Ls for the brits.

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