What do you know about Africa's 'looted treasures'?

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During colonial rule in Africa, thousands of cultural artefacts were seized from the continent by western countries. But now, France has launched a report calling for thousands of African artefacts in its museums to be returned to the continent. This comes as major museums across Europe have agreed to loan key artefacts back to Nigeria.

What do you know about Africa’s 'looted treasures'?

Question 1/6
Country: Egypt

The Rosetta Stone was the key to unlocking the lost hieroglyphic script of ancient Egypt. But who discovered the mighty slab (750kg), now held in the British Museum, in 1799?

  • 1. An Egyptian fisherman
  • 2. British archaeologists
  • 3. French troops under Napoleon

Correct Answer

The generally accepted story is that French soldiers found the stone while digging the foundations of a fort on the Nile Delta.

The Rosetta Stone on display at the British Museum in Bloomsbury on October 14, 2016 in London.

Question 2/6
Country: Ethiopia

British forces seized Ethiopian treasures at the Battle of Maqdala in 1868. But how many elephants did they use to carry off the loot?

  • 1. 0
  • 2. 15
  • 3. 3

Correct Answer

Fifteen elephants and 200 mules were needed to transport treasures looted at Maqdala. These included a golden crown, chalices and early Christian manuscripts still held at various British institutions

A Crown, made in Ethiopia around 1740, made of gold and gilded copper with glass beads, pigment and fabric is pictured at an exhibition, 'Maqdala 1868, A reflection on the 1868 siege and battle at Maqdala', at the Victoria and Albert museum in central London, on April 5, 2018

Question 3/6
Country: Kenya

Who were the man-eaters of Tsavo?

  • 1. Corrupt officials in Kenya
  • 2. Polygamous women
  • 3. A pair of man-eating lions

Correct Answer

Two lions from Kenya’s Tsavo region killed 35 labourers building a colonial-era railway. They were shot in 1898 by a British engineer. Their stuffed remains are in a US museum.

Two taxidermied man-eating lions from the Tsavo region in Chicago, Illinois

Question 4/6
Country: Zimbabwe

A soapstone sculpture of a fish eagle is Zimbabwe's main national emblem. Eight of the Zimbabwe Birds were looted from the ruins of an ancient city - how many have been returned?

  • 1. 7
  • 2. 0
  • 3. 1

Correct Answer

Seven of the carvings are in Zimbabwe since 2003, when the bottom section of one was returned by Germany. The eighth remains in the old bedroom of 19th Century British imperialist Cecil Rhodes, whose home in the South African city of Cape Town is now a museum.

Question 5/6
Country: Cameroon

The renowned Bangwa Queen wooden sculpture was taken from what is now Cameroon at the end of the 19th Century. Locals referred to the female figure as “njuindem”. Meaning what?

  • 1. Woman of God
  • 2. Great warrior
  • 3. Happy mother

Correct Answer

"Njuindem" means "woman of God" in the language of the Bangwa people. Now owned by the Dapper Foundation in Paris, France after Musée Dapper closed in 2017, mystery surrounds the sculpture’s acquisition by German colonial agent Gustav Conrau in 1899.

Question 6/6
Country: Benin

What are the Benin Bronzes mainly made out of?

  • 1. Brass
  • 2. Stone
  • 3. Bronze

Correct Answer

Looted by British troops in 1897, the Benin Bronzes are mainly made from brass. Most remain in museums in the UK, Germany and US.

A brass plaque under the Benin Bronzes collection

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