08.07.

1721: The Man after whom Yale University was Named

1721: The Man after whom Yale University was Named
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Yale School of Architecture

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 8 July 1721
  • Elihu Yale was a high-ranking employee of the powerful East India Company (EIC). This corporation was one of the largest companies in the whole of world history, to the extent that it had its own army, money and colonies.

On this day, in 1721, Elihu Yale, a man after whom the famous Yale University was named, died.

It is interesting that he died in London, but not in North America where this university is located.

Indeed, Elihu Yale spent most of his life outside the territory of present-day United States, although he was born in Boston (near which, paradoxically, is situated the competitive Harvard University).

At the time of Elihu Yale, the United States was not yet an independent state, but rather a collection of British colonies, making him, accordingly, a British citizen.

Elihu Yale became a high-ranking employee of the powerful East India Company (EIC).

This corporation was one of the largest companies in the entire world history, to the extent that it had its own army, money, and colonies.

In the name of the company, Elihu Yale was the President of Madras – important city in India.

It seems that he profited through secret contracts with local merchants in Madras and amassed great personal wealth, contrary to the official principles of the company.

Charges of corruption were brought against him and he was removed. He went to London where he began spending his vast fortune accumulated in India.

In 1718, when Elihu Yale was almost 70 years old, he was contacted from a small educational institution located in the American colony of Connecticut and asked for help in the form of a grant.

Elihu Yale donated them goods in value of around 800 British pounds, which was a considerable sum at that time. In his honor, the institution was named Yale College.

Similarly, Harvard University was named after John Harvard, who has given several hundred British pounds and his library to that university.

Today, this amount seems quite low, considering how the names Yale and Harvard are well-known worldwide.

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