For the first time in history, a US museum has given back to Ghana a collection of royal regalia that was taken 150 years ago by British colonial soldiers as loot.
All of the items are royal objects from the Asante kingdom, according to the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). An American collector bought them and gave them to the museum after he passed away.
On Thursday in Kumasi, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asante king, received them from museum representatives.
The decision was made in response to the rising demand for the return of valuable items that were taken during colonial rule. Several nations, including Ethiopia and Nigeria, are requesting repatriation. Nonetheless, some museums assert that they are legally unable to return contentious items from their collections indefinitely.
Last month, the Manhyia Palace Museum in Kumasi was given a loan of thirty-two artefacts that were taken during the Anglo-Asante wars by the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
An elephant tail whisk, two royal stool ornaments, a royal necklace, two strands of beads, and an ornamental chair are among the items that the Fowler Museum returned. According to the museum, three of them were included in an indemnity payment that the Asante kingdom later made to the British, and four were taken during the 1874 sacking of Kumasi.
The return, according to the Fowler Museum, was voluntary and permanent since it advances the notion of museums serving as stewards “with ethical responsibility towards the communities of origin.”