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BENIN BRONZE - IAS Academy in Coimbatore


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

What is Benin Bronze

  • The Benin Bronzes are a group of over 3,000 sculptures and artworks from the ancient Kingdom of Benin in present-day Nigeria. It dates back to at least the 16th century.
  • They were looted by British colonial forces during the infamous raid on Benin City in 1897.
  • Several of these pieces were specially commissioned for the kings or Obas, and Queen Mothers of the kingdom.
  • These artefacts provide insight into the culture of the Benin Kingdom as well as its relationships with neighbouring states. Some of these pieces also point to the kingdom’s relationship with Europeans.

Which other looted Artifacts have Countries Demanded to be Returned

Koh-i-Noor diamond:

  • The Koh-i-Noor has a long and storied history in pre-partition India and the British Raj. It is said to have been mined in what is present-day Andhra Pradesh.
  • The diamond was acquired by Queen Victoria in 1849, following the second Anglo-Sikh war, during which Punjab was brought under the East India Company.
  • The diamond was taken by the British after the signing of the Last Treaty of Lahore.
  • The Lahore treaty held between Lord Dalhousie and Maharaja Duleep Singh in 1849, Kohinoor diamond was surrendered by the Maharaja of Lahore to the Queen of England.

Rosetta Stone:

  • The other well-known example is the Rosetta Stone. Currently displayed at the British Museum, 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.