The French government has set 2021 to return stolen artifacts during their colonial occupation of Benin.
According to France‘s culture minister, Franck Riester, the artifacts include 26 statues and thrones looted by French forces from the kingdom of Dahomey.
The artifacts are being kept in the Quai Branly museum in Paris. They were taken in apparent punishment of one of Dahomey’s wars of resistance against French control.
A significant majority of African artworks came to be in possession of Europeans by similar circumstances. In all, there are over 400,000 pieces of African art in European museums.
France said the move was part of the government’s commitment to give back key items of cultural heritage it stole from its former West African colonies.
The country is also funding a number of museum projects in some of its former colonies.