New
New
Year 6

The Benin Bronzes

I can explain what the Benin Bronzes are, where many of them can be found today and what Nigeria has requested of the British Museum.

New
New
Year 6

The Benin Bronzes

I can explain what the Benin Bronzes are, where many of them can be found today and what Nigeria has requested of the British Museum.

Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. For almost 125 years roughly 5,000 bronze artifacts have been exhibited in museums across the world.
  2. They were produced in the historic West African Kingdom of Benin which was located in what is now Nigeria.
  3. In the British Museum in London there are hundreds of these objects.
  4. In 2021 the British Museum received a request from Nigeria to return the bronzes.
  5. So far, the British Museum has not returned the bronzes, which has caused lots of arguments.

Common misconception

The modern republic of Benin and the kingdom of Benin are the same place.

The modern republic of Benin has no historical relation to the kingdom of Benin.

Keywords

  • Benin - Benin, or the Kingdom of Benin, was a kingdom within what is now southern Nigeria and home to the Edo people

  • Artefact - an artefact is an item of historical interest made by people in the past

  • Nigeria - Nigeria is a large West African country situated on the Atlantic Ocean

  • Heritage - a heritage is the history, traditions, and artefacts that are handed down by previous generations

  • Repatriation - repatriation means to send something back to the country it came from

Make soap or wax sculptures similar to the Benin Bronzes.
Teacher tip

Content guidance

  • Contains conflict or violence.

Supervision

Adult supervision suggested.

Licence

This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).

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6 Questions

Q1.
What are the conclusions that historians draw about people, places and events from the past called?
artefacts
Correct answer: generalisations
sources
Q2.
True or false? Historians’ accounts of the past are always completely true.
True
Correct answer: False
Q3.
Which of the below do historians interact with to find out about the past?
written documents and records
future predictions
Correct answer: artefacts and physical remains
scientific formulas
Q4.
Which of these are ancient civilisations?
Correct answer: The Roman Empire
The British Empire
The Victorian Era
Correct answer: Ancient Egyptians
Q5.
What is the correct meaning of the term 'legacy'?
Correct answer: the long-lasting impact of a historical event, action, person or people
the wealth left behind by a family member to a different person
the short-term impact of a historical event, action, person or people
Q6.
What is a person who excavates sites and examines artefacts and other physical remains called?
a historian
Correct answer: an archaeologist
a geologist
an anthropologist

6 Questions

Q1.
In which modern-day country was the kingdom of Benin located?
Cameroon
Ghana
Correct answer: Nigeria
Benin
Q2.
Which statements about the Benin Bronzes are correct?
The Benin Bronzes are all made of pure bronze.
Correct answer: The bronzes were mostly created between the 13th to 16th centuries.
The bronzes were discovered recently in Nigeria.
Correct answer: They show pictures and symbols that tell stories about the history of Benin.
Q3.
Who took the Benin Bronzes when they invaded the city in 1897?
The Egyptian army
The French army
Correct answer: The British army
The German army
Q4.
Complete the sentence. The history, traditions and artefacts that are handed down by previous generations are called a...
Correct Answer: heritage, Heritage
Q5.
Which museum in London houses and displays hundreds of the Bronzes?
Correct Answer: British Museum, British museum, british museum
Q6.
Which of the following are reasons why Nigeria have asked for the Benin bronzes to be repatriated?
Correct answer: The artefacts are an important part of their historical and cultural heritage.
They are worth a lot of money and could make the country wealthy.
Correct answer: To share the artefacts with everyone in their own country.
Correct answer: They believe that the artefacts were stolen from their country.

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