Precious artifacts that were looted during the colonial era will finally be returned to Nigeria, the German government has announced. The first returns are planned for 2022.
In a joint declaration published Thursday, Germany’s Ministry of Culture, state ministers and museum directors committed to “substantive returns” of Benin bronzes — artworks made of bronze, brass and ivory that were taken by the British army in a raid on the Kingdom of Benin, in present-day Nigeria, in 1897.
The bronzes were subsequently distributed across the world and hundreds are currently held in German museums. Nigeria has sought their return for decades.