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Germany to return Benin Bronzes to Nigeria

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Benin Bronzes - Level 4

Germany will give back artefacts taken from Nigeria during the 19th century. The Benin Bronzes are currently in a German museum. The Bronzes consist of more than a thousand sculptures and statues. The Edo people made them in what was the Kingdom of Benin. They decorated the royal palace there. British forces looted most of the objects in 1897. They went to museums across Europe. Nigeria has tried for decades to get them returned.

Experts say the pieces being returned are highly regarded works of African art. The Institute for Benin Studies said Germany is, "leading in the global restitution movement" of former colonial powers returning looted treasure. It said other countries should accept the objects looted in 1897 belong to Nigeria. Countries should discuss the future of the objects. Some Nigerians believe the objects are safer in Europe.

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Benin Bronzes - Level 5

Germany will return artefacts that were stolen from Nigeria during the colonial era in the 19th century. The Benin Bronzes are currently in a museum in Leipzig. The Bronzes consist of more than a thousand plaques, sculptures and statues. The Edo people made them from the 13th century in what was the Kingdom of Benin. They decorated the royal palace in what is now Nigeria. British forces looted most of the objects in 1897. Two hundred pieces were taken to the British Museum, while others went to museums across Europe. Nigeria has tried for decades to get them returned.

Experts say the pieces being returned are among the most highly regarded works of African art. Many Nigerians welcome their return. The Institute for Benin Studies said Germany is, "leading in the global restitution movement" of former colonial powers returning looted treasures. It said other countries should acknowledge that the objects looted in 1897 belong to the Benin people. These countries should discuss the future of the objects. Some Nigerians believe the objects are safer in Europe. One man said: "With the insecurity now, the safety of those artefacts cannot be guaranteed."

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11 online activities    |    8-page printable   (PDF)

Benin Bronzes - Level 6

Germany is to return precious artefacts that were plundered from Nigeria during the colonial era in the late-19th century. The world-famous Benin Bronzes are currently on display at a museum in Leipzig. The Bronzes comprise a collection of more than a thousand metal plaques, sculptures and statues. They were created by the Edo people in what used to be the Kingdom of Benin from the 13th century. They decorated the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin, in what is now Nigeria. Most of the objects were looted by British forces in 1897. Two hundred pieces were taken to the British Museum in London, while others went to museums across Europe. Nigeria has tried for decades to get them repatriated.

Experts say the 16th-18th century returning pieces are among the most highly regarded works of African art. Many Nigerians are welcoming their return. Nigeria's Institute for Benin Studies said Germany is, "leading in the global restitution movement" of former colonial powers returning looted treasures. It said: "Other European nations should be willing and open to acknowledge that all objects looted in 1897 belong to the Benin people. Like Germany, they too should initiate or join the dialogue to discuss the future of these objects." However, some Nigerians believe the objects are safer in Europe. One man said: "With the insecurity now, the safety of those artefacts cannot be guaranteed."

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25 online activities    |    27-page printable    |    2-page mini-lesson



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