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Ethiopia retrieves stolen artifacts by the British

Artifacts returned to Ethiopia [Picture: the Scheherazade Foundation]

ADDIS ABABA, NOVEMBER 20, 2021 — Ethiopia retrieved thirteen historical and religious artifacts looted by the British army when they invaded the country in 1868. 

Although, the Ethiopian Embassy in London acquired the items on September, the artifacts arrived in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, today after the Embassy in London, Ethiopia’s National Heritage Restitution Committee and the Scheherazade Foundation collaborated in ensuring the ancient treasures return home.

Nevertheless, it was on June, 2021, that the Ethiopian Embassy in London was alerted about a sale at Bridport auctioneers. The sale consisted of a set of three inscribed horn beakers, a leather-bound Coptic bible, an imperial shield, a richly detailed gold crown and an Ethiopian cross which were stolen by Major-General William Arbuthnot during the British invasion of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Embassy in London ensured the auction was halted.

Artifacts returned to Ethiopia [Picture: Fana Broadcasting Corporation (FBC)]
The artifacts were stolen from Ethiopia 153 years ago when the British army led by General Napier invaded the country to dethrone Emperor Tewodros who had been keeping as prisoners British soldiers and engineers disguised as missionaries at Maqdala.

Ethiopia had been demanding the return of the stolen artifacts since 2007 despite that the fact that the Victoria and Albert Museum in London had been suggesting a long-term loan to Ethiopia.

According to Dr Alula Pankhurst, a member of Ethiopia's National Heritage Restitution Committee, who said in September, 2021, "Ethiopia believes these returns will lead to further restitution initiatives, especially at a time when retaining artifacts, notably human remains such as those of Prince Alemayehu, son of Emperor Tewodros, in Windsor Chapel or sacred objects such as the holy Tabot Arks of the Covenant in the British Museum is becoming increasingly anachronistic, irrelevant and embarrassing".


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