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Returning the Benin Bronzes to Nigeria

December 19, 2022

Germany is returning Nigeria's lost treasures centuries after they were stolen and then sold. Find out more about the bronze artifacts from the kingdom of Benin.

A bronze face mask is one of the Benin Bronze's being returned to Nigeria
Image: Oliver Berg/dpa/picture alliance

The Benin Bronzes refer to over a thousand artifacts stolen by British troops from Benin, in present-day Nigeria, in the late 19th century.

Many of these cultural treasures, which include statues, idols and jewelry, were sold by colonial representatives to German buyers and later landed in several German museums.

Germany's decision to return the stolen treasures to Africa comes after long discussions between German museums and Nigerian officials on the necessity of repatriating the artifacts and the best means.

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Germany's Culture Minister Claudia Roth on the tarmac in Abuja
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (right), German Culture Minister Claudia Roth (center) formally return artifacts to a Nigerian representative
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