Elihu Yale (1649-1721) was a British merchant, slave trader, philanthropist and also served as the President of the East India Company. He was born in Boston, Colony of Massachusetts, British American and died in London England at the age of 72. The Yale family left Boston and returned to England when Elihu was three years old. He grew up going to school in London.

For two decades he served the East India Company becoming its first Acting Governor of Fort St. George, the company's post at Madras (now Chennai) where he amassed considerable wealth largely through secret and illegal contracts with local merchants. He was eventually dismissed from his post and returned to England.

Yale married Catherine Hynmers, a widow in 1680 at Fort St. George, their marriage being the first registered at the St. Mary's Church. In part, his tomb is inscribed with these lines: Born in America, in Europe bred * In Africa travell'd and in Asia wed * Where long he liv'd and thriv'd; In London dead * Much good, some ill, he did; so hope all's even * And that his soul thro' mercy's gone to Heaven...(continues)

Yale was a benefactor to Yale College. He made a series of donations of books, a portrait of King George I and a variety of textiles from the East Indies which were sold in Boston and the proceeds were used to construct a building called Yale College in New Haven. By its charter of 1745, the entire institution was then named Yale University.

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