What are the Benin Bronzes?

In the late 1800s, the Benin Empire in Africa was a hotbed of artistic skill and the British wanted a piece of it - as many pieces as they could steal, in fact. But what were the beautiful Benin Bronzes and did the current Queen of England really fence stolen goods.

By: The OpenLearn team (Programme and web teams)

  • Duration 5 mins
  • Updated Wednesday 25th November 2009
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under World History
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In the late 1800s, the Benin Empire in Africa was a hotbed of artistic skill and the British wanted a piece of it - as many pieces as they could steal, in fact. But what were the beautiful Benin Bronzes and did the current Queen of England really fence stolen goods.

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Shameful relic or a celebration of an ancient culture? Explore more deeply with The Open University.

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[Thanks to the commenters who pointed out the typo - as the video says, the incidents took place in the late 19th century; the 1800s, not the 1900s. Apologies for the mistake.]