Earls of Elgin
There have been 11 Earls of Elgin between 1633 when the title was created and 2009. The holder is hereditary Chief of the Clan Bruce and they trace their line back to Edward Bruce King of Ireland and Robert the Bruce King of Scotland. Their long role in Britsh history has been chequered and has included some controversial actions.
- Acropolis The 7th Earl of Elgin (1766-1841). He was British Ambassador to Constantinople 1799-1803. Broadly interpreting the authority he had been granted by the Ottoman authorities he arranged for the removal of the Parthenon marbles between 1801 and 1812 (together with parts of the Propylaea and a Caryatid from the Erechtheum). He ultimately sold them (at a loss to himself) to the British Government who placed them in the British Museum where they controversially are to this day.
- Summer Palace The 8th Earl of Elgin (1811-1863). In 1857 he became the British High Commissioner to China. During the Anglo French invasion of Beijing in 1860 he was involved in the decison making which led to the damage and ransacking of the Summer Palace (The British troops involved were led by his brother!) - as well as the destruction of the Old Summer Palace. The former (but not the latter) was rebuilt.
- Tower of London the 3rd Earl of Elgin (1656-1741). Supported James II at the time of the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 and in 1696 was imprisoned in the Tower of London for conspiring to achieve James's return but was allowed to go into exile 1 year later and never returned.
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