U.S. museum returns artifacts to Ghana that were looted 150 years ago by British forces

By Francis Kokutse, Associated Press

Artifacts returned to Ghana
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II (CL), Ghana’s Asante king, receives artefacts returned by the Fowler Museum of UCLA to the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi, Ghana, on February 8, 2024. (NIPAH DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Seven royal artifacts looted 150 years ago by British colonial forces from Ghana’s ancient Asante kingdom and kept by a United States museum have been returned and presented to the kingdom on Thursday, the latest of a series of stolen treasured items being repatriated to several African countries.

Looted from British-colonized Ghana in the 19th century before being transferred to Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the 1960s, the artifacts included an elephant tail whisk, an ornamental chair made of wood, leather and iron, two gold stool ornaments, a gold necklace and two bracelets.

““We are here … (because) the white man came into Asanteman to loot and destroy it,” Otumfuo Osei Tutu, the king of the Assante kingdom in Ghana’s largest city of Kumasi, said at a presentation ceremony that brought joy and relief to the kingdom.

Learn more about efforts to repatriate artifacts.

Aside from artifacts, many museums have unethically collected human remains.

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