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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."Comprehension questions
- When were the artefacts Germany is returning taken from Nigeria?
- Where are the Benin Bronzes at the moment?
- What is the name of the people who made the Benin Bronzes?
- When did these people start creating their art?
- Who took the objects in 1897?
- Who is welcoming the return of the art?
- Who should be willing to accept the objects belong to the Benin people?
- What should other nations join?
- Where did a Nigerian man say the art was safer?
- What did a Nigerian man say could not be guaranteed?
Back to the Benin Bronzes lesson.