France Approves Return of African Treasures Looted During Colonial Period

AFRICAN HISTORY

French MPs have approved the return of looted historical artefacts to Benin and Senegal, completing the legislative process needed to give back the objects.

Benin will receive 26 artefacts taken from the Palace of Behanzin in the late 19th century, including a royal throne, which are currently exhibited at the Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac museum in Paris.

Senegal will get back a 19th-century sword once wielded by a 19th century sheikh. The sword and its scabbard are part of France’s Army Museum collection but are currently on show in Dakar as part of a long-term loan.

MPs approved the restitutions on Thursday with 48 votes in favour, none against and two abstentions.

Former colonial powers across Europe are facing intensifying demands to return stolen objects, with Britain often in the eye of the storm for the plundered artefacts that stuff its museum shelves. Critics also rounded on Germany on Wednesday as it opened a refurbished museum in Berlin awash with items from Africa and Asia

French President Emmanuel Macron is among several European leaders to have pledged to restore ownership of looted treasures. The country’s museums are home to tens of thousands of objects, mostly from Africa. Thursday’s agreement flowed from Macron’s desire to “renew and deepen the partnership between France and the African continent”, said Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot.

Benin will receive 26 pieces of the Treasure of Behanzin that was looted in 1892, including the throne of King Glele – a centrepiece of some 70,000 African objects held at the Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac museum in Paris. Senegal will recover full ownership of a sword and scabbard that possibly belonged to 19th century military and religious figure Omar Saidou Tall.

The National Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour, endorsing the move on behalf of parliament after the Senate refused to agree.

Following an earlier parliamentary vote in October, Benin’s museums chief Alain Godonou said he expected the 26 items to be back in his country “within a year”. An expert report commissioned by Macron in 2018 counted some 90,000 African works in French museums, most of them at the Quai Branly.

(with AFP)

Spread the love
  • 389
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    389
    Shares
Africans in Ancient Greek Art

Africans in Ancient Greek Art

Tales of Ethiopia as a mythical land at the farthest edges of the earth are recorded in some of the earliest Greek literature of the eighth century B.C., including the epic poems of Homer. Greek gods and heroes, like Menelaos, were believed to have visited this place...

Ghana Empire

Ghana Empire

The Ghana Empire flourished in West Africa from at least the 6th to 13th century CE. Not connected geographically to the modern state of Ghana, the Ghana Empire was located in the western Sudan savannah region (modern southern Mauritania...

KABAKA OF BUGANDA KINGDOM, UGANDA

KABAKA OF BUGANDA KINGDOM, UGANDA

Kabaka is a title for the king of the Buganda kingdom in Uganda. Uganda has about 6 famous kingdoms and the Buganda kingdom is one of them that have dominated with powerful kings from pre-colonialism periods to date yet preserving their traditions and practices as...

DOWNLOAD OUR BOOKS

×