We’ve heard about the horror of the Benin Punitive Expedition, we know about the looting that took place in February 1897, and you may be aware of the first auctions that took place in the UK in May of that same year to supposedly cover the costs of the expedition.
But how much do we know about what happened after, about what’s happened to Benin Bronzes in recent history?
In April this year, the deeply researched ‘Loot: Britain and the Benin Bronzes’, was published. In it, Barnaby Phillips, a former Africa correspondent for the BBC and Al Jazeera, takes us on a journey. The book describes the collision between the British Empire and the Benin Empire and everything that flowed from it. Leveraging his journalistic and investigative experience, Barnaby uncovers the distribution of the Bronzes amongst the world’s great museums and private collections.
In this talk, Barnaby reveals the people of today’s Benin City, the private market for Benin Bronzes, the reality of the British Museum and the national museums of Nigeria, and the lessons we must learn if restitution is to succeed.
Aberdeen University has become the first British institution to announce that it plans to return artefacts looted in the late 19th century from what is now part of Nigeria. (Subscribe: https://bit.ly/C4_News_Subscribe)
The decision to hand back one of the thousands of Benin Bronzes could lead a wave of repatriations of the stolen plaques and sculptures.
The UK government has insisted that institutions should “retain and explain” contested artefacts, but the university’s decision puts pressure on the British Museum, which holds 900 of the Benin Bronzes.
We have been to Aberdeen to see one of the first Bronzes from a museum to be returned.
The Benin Bronzes were looted in 1897 from the Royal Palace of Benin City during a punitive expedition amid the British colonial expansion into West Africa. Their status is now central to the worldwide discussion about restitution claims and the return of cultural objects to their place of origin. At stake is what will become of these thousands of pieces from the Benin court, the most famous of which are cast metal heads and commemorative plaques.
Featuring speakers from Africa, Europe, and the U.S., this conference addresses Nigeria’s claims and the preparations for the physical return of the Bronzes, outlines collaborative international projects, and looks at alternatives to restitution such as those proposed by institutions in Europe and elsewhere. Speakers (including some from the Benin Dialogue Group, which gathers Nigerian authorities and global museum delegates) will focus on key issues in critical heritage studies such as the decolonization of Western museums; the role of digitization; decontextualization; and the essential relationship between local communities and objects from their past.
Event Date: Fri, Apr 9, 2021
Hello family! Welcome to our 4th and last episode of the Congolese Pre-Colonial Kingdoms series! Sit back as I tell you the story of the great Lunda Empire. The Lunda Empire began as a chiefdom in the southern part of the DRC. It early history accounts the story of a Chief who handed his office to his daughter called Rweej, who then married Tshibinda Ilunga from the Luba Kingdom. The empire took its form during the 18th Century and expended through trading relationships with neighbouring states. The Empire was invaded by the Chokwe/Tshokwe people in the 19th Century but Lunda Chiefs and people still lived in the Lunda heartland, although their power was diminished. I would like to encourage you to research more about the Kingdom as this video is not enough to describe it. As you all know, I loveee sharing Congo with you and this video is a step forward in familiarising you guys with the country. It is important that we know our history!! I hope you enjoy and I hope this video inspires you to do your part in changing the image of Africa. As always, your thoughts are welcomed, so feel free to put them down in the comments!
Artefacts from Central Africa have been compiled by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for a new exhibition titled, “Kongo: Power and Majesty. The art dates back to the 15th century, when parts of west and central Africa made up a region called the ‘Kingdom of Kongo’, through to the early 20th century.
Hello family! Welcome to our third episode of the Congolese Pre-Colonial Kingdoms series! Sit back as I tell you the story of the great Kingdom of Kongo. The Kingdom of Kongo was founded by King Lukeni Lua Nimi in the 1300’s. It was made up of some parts of the present-day northern Angola, the western part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo as well as the southern Gabon. The Kingdom of Kongo is one of the most powerful historical states and it has a long history that was heavily documented in writing and in oral histories. I hope you enjoy this video and that you learn something new today. I would like to encourage you to research more about the Kingdom as this video is not enough to describe it. As you all know, I loveee sharing Congo with you and this video is a step forward in familiarising you guys with the country. It is important that we know our history!! I hope you enjoy and I hope this video inspires you to do your part in changing the image of Africa. As always, your thoughts are welcomed, so feel free to put them down in the comments!
Africas Great Civilizations PBS
21 April 2021 Part of the Virtual W. E. B. Du Bois Lecture Series
John Thornton received his PhD in African history in 1979, and after stints at the University of Zambia, Allegheny College, the University of Virginia and then Millersville University after 1986, he joined the Boston University faculty in the fall 2003. His specializations include Africa and Atlantic History, as well as world history. He is the author of The Kingdom of Kongo: Civil War and Transition, 1641-1718 (1983); Africa and Africans in the Formation of the Atlantic world, 1400-1680 (1992); The Kongolese Saint Anthony: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684-1706 (1998); Warfare in Atlantic Africa, 1500-1800 (1999); and in 2007 with Linda Heywood published Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles, and the Foundation of the Americas (Cambridge University Press, 2007), which won the Melville J. Herskovits Prize that year. His latest book, A Cultural History of the Atlantic World, 1350-1820 (Cambridge University Press, 2012) won the World History Association’s Prize for the Best New Book in World History in 2012.
[Including comments in tribute to the the seminal importance of the life-long teaching of Professor Robert F. Thompson at Yale]
- Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Chair)
Honored W. E. B. Du Bois Lecturer: Professor John Thornton
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United Nations – Climate Change COP 26
Streamed live on Nov 10, 2021
Location: UN Climate Change pavilion Charalee Graydon book presentation
For the first time in decades, it’s hard to ignore the threat of nuclear war. But as long as you’re far from the blast, you’re safe, right? Wrong. In this sobering talk, atmospheric scientist Brian Toon explains how even a small nuclear war could destroy all life on earth — and what we can do to prevent it. A professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Brian Toon investigates the causes of the ozone hole, how volcanic eruptions alter the climate, how ancient Mars had flowing rivers, and the environmental impacts of nuclear war. He contributed to the U.N.’s Nobel Peace Prize for climate change and holds numerous scientific awards, including two NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. He is an avid woodworker. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx