African History

Benin Punitive Expedition 1897

This short video explains in brief detail the Benin Punitive Expedition of 1897 and the resultant pillage of the kingdom by the British. But then one important issue must be attended to in this narrative.

Towards then end of this video the narrator undoubtedly acknowledge the technical sophistication of the works of arts of ancient Benin kingdom, however, in a manner too familiar with European arrogance, the narrator attributed such such success to the influence of the Portuguese. For the purpose of clarity it’s pertinent the following be stated unequivocally:

It’s a matter of fact that the Portuguese established contact with Benin in the 16th century, their relations with the kingdom was characterized by trade.

These great works of arts from all intent and purposes were not meant for decorative purposes but for religious or spiritual rites, as a matter of fact.

The Benin art works as religious or spiritual objects or objects of historical references did not start in the 16th century when the Portuguese came it was a tradition that had long been entrenched in the system centuries before the Portuguese appeared on the scene. Though it must be stated that 16th century marked a turning point due to the boom in trade with the Portuguese.

 

 

 

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