Aims & Objectives

Project Title: Echoes of the Benin Kingdom / British Conflict of 1897

What the heritage project focused on and why was it important?


The collection / collation of historical data to create awareness of and advance public education in Benin History, Arts and Culture (from the ancient Benin Kingdom) through Exhibition of historical arts, artefacts - clay pots, bronze, carvings, and archival war materials.


Others included historical accounts of the Benin Massacre during the Benin / British Conflict in 1897; lectures, workshops and demonstrations in Benin music and Dance.

What are the aims of this project?

The project's aim was to research the historical perspectives of the Benin / British conflict, noting its impact on its present day socio - cultural dimensions. The research culminated in the production of resource materials in the form of DVDs, booklet and a website.


To foster mutual respect in relation to culture and to enable the growth of racial harmony within the society by helping people to learn about their own and other people's heritage; preserve people's memories and experiences, including cultural traditions that will pass down through our youths and generations to come.

  • Promote learning and participation on Benin Cultural History.
  • To encourage young people to learn about Benin (West African) History.
  • To promote and advance education in Benin Arts and Culture (from the ancient Benin Kingdom) through exhibition of historical arts, artefacts-clay pots, bronze and carvings.

Also to include historical accounts of the Benin Massacre during the Benin Kingdom/British Conflict in 1897.

  • To foster mutual respect in relation to culture and to enable the growth of racial harmony within the society.
  • To help build stronger relationships between the West African and British Communities in the United Kingdom.
  • To encourage active participation by Volunteers, local residents, partner organisations and other attendees during the Workshops, Exhibitions and Coach Trips to the British Museum.

Planned activities.

These included a series of cultural events /exhibitions / workshops and lectures / collections of archival materials that brought people of diverse cultures together - intended to enlighten, inform and entertain the general public about Benin History, Arts and culture.


We conducted research which included interviews covering the following subjects:

  • Historical background of Benin Kingdom prior to 1897 (e.g. economic and military power).- trade and boundary? How far it stretched?
  • What made the Benin Empire unique prior to 1897?
  • What led to the conflict in 1897?(How did the conflict start / who started the conflict)?
  • Historical accounts of the Benin Massacre during the Benin Kingdom / British Conflict in 1897. How long did the conflict last?
  • Exploring the reasons why Benin Artefacts, Carvings and Bronze were taken by the British after the conflict? (were these artefacts documented and were they ever replicated until this day?) Including the history of the bronze casting and importance in Benin culture.
  • Explored the reasons why the 'Oba's' Palace was destroyed and why the Oba was captured and sent to exile in Calabar (Southern Nigeria).
  • Post war post-mortem - Impact of the war on the Benin Kingdom / Culture - socio-economic, political and demographics, etc.
  • How the learning from the war was used to progress the Benin Culture, e.g. in the short/medium term? Infrastructural improvements - road network, social amenities, did it bring about advancement in education & health- e.g. build schools & hospitals, public administration, etc, in trade, in technical development, improved farming / agriculture?
  • Benin Kingdom today - has it advanced tourism, or is improvement needed in this aspect? Did the learning from the British dilute the tradition, if so, how?