BERLIN, Germany: Germany has come to an agreement to return hundreds of artifacts, known as Benin Bronzes, brought from western Africa by a British colonial expedition and later sold to collections around the world.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas welcomed the agreement, reached with museums, to return the artifacts to Nigeria, calling it a “turning point in dealing with our colonial history.”
Also, Germany’s minister for culture, Monika Gruetters, noted, “We are confronting our historic and moral responsibility.”
The first returns are planned for next year, she said.
A British colonial expedition removed treasures from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897, including bas-reliefs and sculptures. Many of these artifacts were put on display in the British Museum, or sold to other collections.
The Ethnological Museum in Berlin exhibits one of the world’s largest collection of artifacts from the Kingdom of Benin, estimated to include about 530 items.