A short history of the looted Benin Bronzes, 20 of which Germany has returned to Nigeria

Source: The post is based on the article “A short history of the looted Benin Bronzes, 20 of which Germany has returned to Nigeria” published in Indian Express on 24th December 2022

What is the News?

Germany has returned the 20 Benin Bronzes that were looted in the 19th century to Nigeria at a ceremony.

What are Benin Bronzes?

Benin Bronzes are a group of over 3,000 sculptures and artworks from the ancient Kingdom of Benin in present-day Nigeria. This kingdom dates back to at least the 16th century. 

These historical pieces were looted by British colonial forces during their infamous raid on Benin City in 1897.

Significance: The Benin Bronzes prized for their beauty and technical artistry are of spiritual and historical significance for the people from that part of Nigeria.

Which other looted artefacts have countries demanded to be returned?

Koh-i-Noor diamond: There have been repeated demands for the return of the Koh-i-Noor diamond, one of the largest and perhaps the most storied diamonds in the world, which was taken away by the British East India Company in 1849 and is now part of the British crown jewels.

Rosetta Stone: It is an ancient Egyptian stone that features the inscriptions that formed the basis of Egyptology itself. The stone was discovered by the army of Napoleon Bonaparte near the town of Rashid (Rosetta) in 1799 during the emperor’s campaign to conquer Egypt.It was passed on to the British after they defeated the French in 1801.

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