The Parthenon Marbles And Britain’s History of Shameless Theft and Plunder Around The Globe.

Adebayo Adeniran
3 min readNov 29, 2023

British imperialism under scrutiny.

Airam Datoon via Pexels.

The Parthenon marbles.

This extraordinary sculpture has been at the heart of a dispute between the United Kingdom and Greece for a long minute.

And it led to the last minute cancellation of a meeting between the British Prime Minister and his Greek counterpart, yesterday.

So how did all this come about?

A few centuries ago, a British peer — Lord Elgin — stole this work of art from Ottoman Greece, and subsequently it sold to the British government, which made the all important decision of keeping it in the national museum.

There would have been no controversy on this subject had the British government returned the sculpture upon immediate request by the Greek government, several years ago.

But this hasn’t been the case.

Nor has this been the case for much of the rare objects of art sitting in the British museum today.

Why?

Because these very items, currently resident at Holborn in central London, represent a history of theft, violence and colonial plunder.

And anyone who has seen the Black Panther film in 2018, will readily recognize the point being made here, when Killmonger took the staff to task for the historical misdeeds.

It is said that of 195 nation-states existing in the world today, the country of my birth has invaded at least 171 of them.

It is also pertinent to note that these invasions came with genocidal violence and the removal of objects which were deemed to be of high intrinsic value.

This was certainly true in India, Nepal, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Sri Lanka, Uganda, New Zealand and places which you may have never heard of.

But the real problem here is the whitewashing of British history.

What we have seen in the last few decades is the concerted attempt by the establishment to expunge these unsavoury episodes and promote the lie that the British empire was nothing but benign and fair.

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Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible