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Ethiopian Emperor stolen hair to be returned home

National Army Museum having conversation with the Ethiopian Embassy on the return of Emperor Tewodros II stolen hair

Emperor Tewodros  II _ Ethiopia
Emperor Tewodros II

March 4,2019

The British National Army Museum describe the 19th century British expedition to Ethiopia, under Sir Robert Napier, as “one of the most ambitious and expensive military campaigns ever undertaken by the British Army.”

Yet, the loot after the completion of the expedition was colossal in magnitude that “15 elephants and 200 mules were needed to cart away all the loot from Maqdala, the emperor’s northern citadel capital,” as reported by BBC.

Along the loots, Napier’s expeditionary force took the hair of emperor Tewodros II, committed suicide in Meqdala rather than surrendering to the British army, and the hair was cut and taken from the emperor’s “deathbed,” from what the British Army Museum wrote.

After more than 151 years, the UK government agreed to return the stolen hair of the late Ethiopian emperor.

The British Army Museum wrote today on its website “The National Army Museum has agreed to repatriate items from its collection, considered to be human remains, following a request from the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in April last year.”

However, no date is specified for the return of the hair (two pieces of dreadlocks). Ethiopian state media reported that the museum is having talks with the Ethiopian Embassy in London this coming Thursday regarding the conditions of the return.

It is nearly a year now since Ethiopia’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism formally requested Director of the British National Army Museum for the return of emperor’s hair.

Based on information from the Museum, the hair was added to the museum’s collection in 1959. “It was given to the Museum by the family of an artist who had painted the Emperor on his deathbed,” said the museum.

Ethiopia formally requested the UK government in 2008 for the return of Ethiopian treasures and artifacts looted from Maqdala following the four days battle in April 1868.

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