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Treasures Stolen By The British Empire During Colonial Rule


During the age of imperialism, no other country could match the spirit of the Britishers. They had colonies on every continent except Antarctica. They said the sun never set on the British Empire. One of its colonies would always have the day. They had so many colonies that at least one had was in the daytime. Britishers were in India for 200 years. They also did the same thing to China.

Further, we all know about the opium wars. Even African countries faced British exploits. However, the worst damage that the British did was stealing the artefacts. British stole a lot of entities from many countries. These were the priceless treasures that to date belong to the Britishers. Here, a list of treasures stolen by the British Empire during colonial rule.

Kohinoor from India

This is a heartache, isn’t it? The giant diamond of India, the Mountain of Light, was given to Queen Elizabeth in 1949. It was the prime jewel that adorned the famous Mughal Peacock Throne! There’s a famous rumour of this jewel being a curse for men. So, it is passed from women to women of the royal family. It currently resides in the Jewel House inside the Tower of London.

Elgin Marbles from Greece

Lord Elgin stole these marbles from a Greek Pantheon. Although he said that he had permission to do so, there were no supporting documents. This priceless treasure of Greece had been with the British Empire since 1803. Indeed, it is a beautifully carved treasure. Since 1925 Greece has been asking for their treasure which the British are not willing to return.

Ethiopian Manuscripts

The Britishers stole the Ethiopian Manuscripts after the battle of Maqdala in 1968. The Ethiopian people are still working to get their manuscripts back. Also, they have a society called Association For the Return of the Magdala Ethiopian Treasures working for the same.

Benin Bronzes from Nigeria

These 13th-century bronze artefacts are a treasure of African heritage and culture. They belonged to the kingdom of Benin. In 1987, the Britishers did a Benin expedition and stole them.

Seeds Of Hevea Brasiliensis from Brazil

Henry Wickham got the name of bio-pirate. The Hevea Brasiliensis was the unique gem of Brazil rubber plantation. Further, it was a source of high economic income. Wickham single-handedly stole 70,000 seeds! And took it to start a plantation in South East Asia.

Rosetta Stone from Egypt

This stone is famous and is believed to be one of the oldest inscriptions of human history. It has writing inscriptions in 3 different languages of ancient Egypt and heliographs. The stone was stolen originally by Napolean Bonaparte. With time, yet Britishers stole it from the thief.

Tipu Sultan’s Ring from India

The Britishers defeated tipu Sultan in 1799. He was one of the most notable kings of India. The Britishers took the king’s sword and ring from his dead body. Further, the sword was believed to be made from Damascus iron with carbon nanotubes in it! It is a solid piece of metal. It was returned to India after Vijay Mallya purchased it. However, the ring sadly was auctioned by the Britishers in 2014.

Shahjahan’s Wine Cups from India

Colonel Charles Seton Guthrie took them in the early 19th century. It has been in the Victoria and Albert Museum since then. Shah Jahan himself has used these swan wine cups!

It looks like the Britishers took a lot from everyone, but mainly from India. So, this was the list of treasures stolen by the British Empire during colonial rule.



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