- Throughout its history, the British Empire has taken countless artifacts from its colonies and other countries.
- Governments and activists have since called for the repatriation of these cultural artifacts.
- Here are 8 of the objects the Brits took – and their controversial stories.
Throughout history, Britain has been heedful of its imperial roots. The country is facing increasing pressure from other nations and activists to repatriate items they believe were stolen by the British Empire.
From the late 16th century to the 20th century, the British Empire established colonies, dominions and protectorates across the world, establishing itself as the greatest empire in history at its height. Although British rule brought some aspects of modernization to the nations it colonized, it also stood in the way of self-government, democracy, and equality for all before the law.
“The Empire itself was a very paradoxical phenomenon that claimed to bring so-called civilization to the colonized people, but at the same time established institutions that were antithetical to modernity,” said Chika Okeke-Agulu, historian of the Empire. art and professor at Princeton University. said.
Many cultural artefacts currently on display in British museums have been looted from the colonized, according to repatriation campaigners. The British Museum, home to more than 8 million artefacts like the Benin Bronzes and the Parthenon Marbles, has the most stolen property, said human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson.
“All the institutions associated with the emergence of the European middle class, like museums, depended on extracting cultural heritage and artifacts from all corners of the empire,” Okeke-Agulu told Insider. “These museums were established during the time of the Empire as bragging spaces where they showed their collections from their imperial possessions.”
Here are 8 cultural artifacts that the British took from their homelands: