Returned looted royal treasures from the UK displayed for the first time in Ghana

Gold and Royal artefacts that were looted during the British colonial rule were displayed in Ghana for the first time after the UK government historically returned them.

The looted artifacts include gold neck discs, a sword, a royal chair, and dozens of other treasures.

According to Reuters, people traveled from across Africa to see the repatriated plunder on display in the city of Kumasi, the seat of Asante King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, known as the Asantehene.

“The items that came back are virtually the soul of the people of Asante,” the monarch said at the exhibition, which marks his silver jubilee.

The gold regalia was looted during Britain’s prolonged colonization of Ghana that lasted from 1821 to 1957 and a majority of the loot was taken during violent battles with the natives.

London’s British and Victoria & Albert museums, and the Fowler Museum at the University of California, returned the artefacts earlier this year as part of a growing move by Western institutions to reexamine colonial legacies.

Many of Britain’s national museums are forbidden by law to hand over or dispose of the bulk of their collections. As a result of these 32 objects from the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) are in Ghana on loan.

“We acknowledge the very painful history surrounding the acquisition of these objects. A history tainted by the scars of imperial conflict and colonialism,” V&A Director Tristram Hunt said at the opening.

The V&A museum has loaned 17 items to the Manhyia Museum for three years, with the possibility of another three-year renewal. Objects include a gold peace pipe and gold discs worn during royal ceremonies.

Documentary-maker Lawer Akunor explained the importance of returning the artifacts to the countries of their origins.

“Most of our things are not written, they are expressed in the art we see,” “Bringing these (back) is bringing the history to whom it belongs.” Lawer Akunor said

Britain has come under heavy backlash from critics of colonialism for its role in the legacy and plundering of historical artifacts of indigenous peoples.

The return of these loots is part of a response to such criticism as the country reassess its colonial legacies and makes amends.

Most of the 42 items on display at Kumasi’s Manhyia Palace Museum were taken during five battles between the Asante Kingdom and Britain known as the Anglo-Asante wars. Many were pillaged directly from the Asante palace.

Other museums in the U.S. and Europe have agreed to hand back treasures taken from the Kingdom of Benin in modern-day Nigeria and received requests for returns from other states across the continent, including Egypt and Ethiopia.

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