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France Repatriates 18th-Century Sword to Senegal

Monday, November 18, 2019

DAKAR, SENEGAL—According to an Artnet News report, French prime minister Edouard Philippe handed over an eighteenth-century saber and its scabbard to Senegal president Macky Sall in a ceremony at the Palace of the Republic in Dakar. The weapon belonged to Omar Saïdou Tall, founder of the Toucouleur Empire, and was seized in 1893 by the French, who defeated his son Ahmadou in battle in Mali. At its height, the Toucouleur Empire encompassed parts of what are now Guinea, Senegal, and Mali. “Its home is indeed here, in the heart of the former Toucouleur Empire,” Philippe said. Last year, French president Emmanuel Macron said that France will amend its laws to allow the repatriation of an estimated 90,000 objects removed from sub-Saharan Africa by the French during the colonial era. “We are ready to take it all,” said Hamady Bocoum, director of the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar. To read about the possible discovery of the last slave ship to depart West Africa, go to "The Case for Clotilda."

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