VICE World News host Zing Tsjeng travels to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford to explore the ongoing controversy surrounding dubiously sourced colonial artifacts that we see in museum collections across Europe.
In 1897 British forces entered the Kingdom of Benin – modern-day Nigeria – and violently looted hundreds of priceless possessions, many of which are now on display in Western museums and private collections.
Some museums are now trying to engage with the problematic history of their collections; from repatriating items to their country of origin to re-examining the ethics of displaying human remains. We can’t change the past, but we can change how we acknowledge it in the present – even if it’s uncomfortable.
Empires of Dirt is a show about Europeans getting rich at the expense of everyone else. VICE World News host Zing Tsjeng uncovers the ugly history of the European colonial empires they don’t teach us in schools. Countries around the world were looted for their treasures, people were oppressed and exploited and European powers relentlessly profited. The far-reaching repercussions of colonialism are all around us, from our financial institutions to the food we have in our cupboards at home – and it’s about time we took notice.
Watch more from this series:
How Banks Made Money From Slavery
How Britain Stole $45 Trillion from India with Trains
How Britain Got China Hooked on Opium
Sugar & Slavery: The Building Blocks of Bristol’s 1%
How the British Empire Exported Homophobia
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