he University of Cambridge will return looted Benin bronzes to Nigeria.
The 116 artefacts, which are mainly made of brass but also include some ivory and wooden objects, were taken by British armed forces during the sacking of Benin City in 1897.
During the attack, the British burned the city’s palace and exiled Benin’s Oba, or king, with thousands of brasses and other works – collectively known as the ‘Benin bronzes’ – taken and later sold off in London to recoup the costs of the military mission.
The artefacts, which are considered to be of exceptional artistic quality and significance, ended up in museums in the UK, Europe and US, with claims for their restitution dating back to the mid-20th century.
Some artefacts will remain in Cambridge on extended loan, ensuring that this West African civilisation continues to be represented in the museum’s displays