This British Museum Is Full Of Thousands Of Stolen African Artifacts

illustration of benin city in 1897
Briona Lamback
August 30, 2022

During the colonial era, whites weren’t just in Black countries imposing their anti-Blackness onto us. They were STEALING too. Today, their biggest grabs are on the walls of some of the world’s “finest” museums. 

But not for long.

Not only did these thieves steal from our people, but they passed artifacts around so they could all profit! 3,000 to 5,000 artifacts at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London were snatched when British soldiers attacked and occupied Benin City. 

One of the UK’s most popular museums, The British Museum, has over 900 objects from Benin, while Scotland has 74. The rest were distributed to institutions worldwide.

In early 2022, Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments formally demanded their artifacts back. The Horniman Museum and Gardens in southeast London has committed to transferring a collection of over 70 items to the Nigerian government.x

While 70 is far from what they took from Black culture, at least it’s a start. In the meantime we want to see more returned to their rightful owners.

White institutions continue to profit from the harm they’ve done to our people worldwide. But just like the African countries demanding back what’s rightfully theirs, we must continue to demand our liberation, too!

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