African History

This painting by Richard Caton Woodville Jr. depicts the Battle of Omdurman.

Sudanese Museums Call for Return of Stolen Artifacts

Colonizers took the items after a deadly battle in the late 19th century

As of June 15, the World Health Organization had recorded a total of 2,103 confirmed monkeypox cases in 42 countries. Pictured: a colorized transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox virus particles (green) cultivated and purified from cell culture

History of Now

What You Need to Know About the History of Monkeypox

Mired in misconception, the poxvirus is endemic in certain African countries but was rarely reported in Europe and the U.S. until recently

The anchor of Industry, a whaling ship that sank in 1836 in the Gulf of Mexico 

Cool Finds

A Shipwreck, a Robot and an Archival Treasure Hunt Reveal the Diverse History of the Whaling Industry

Free Black Americans and Native Americans once worked on the "Industry," a whaling ship whose wreck was recently identified in the Gulf of Mexico

A typical Making the Road trip to South Africa includes a visit to Soweto, a township outside of Johannesburg that was the site of anti-apartheid organizing and violence for years.

Tourism Gets a Refresh in the Hands of Activists Seeking to Decolonize the Industry

Operators practicing 'solidarity tourism' push back against travel that can be environmentally and socially destructive

The Smithsonian has 39 of the Benin pieces in its collections, above: Commemorative head of a king, Edo artist, 18th century.

The Smithsonian's Plan to Return the Benin Bronzes Comes After Years of Relationship Building

The ground-breaking move heralds a new path for interactions between African and Western institutions

Votive offering found at the Sikait site

Did Ancient Nomads Seize Control of a Roman Emerald Mine in Egypt?

Recent excavations suggest the Blemmyes assumed power of the Sikait mining site between the fourth and sixth centuries C.E.

The award-winning actress, director and entrepreneur Monalisa Chinda is also host of the nationally sindicated television talk show "You & I with Monalisa." 

Photographer Iké Udé Is Retelling Africa's Narrative With the Power of Portraiture

A new show celebrates the stars of Nigeria's Nollywood, the country’s vibrant $3 billion film industry

Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye will lead design of the new Heritage District, a center dedicated to teaching about the history and impact of the transatlantic slave trade.

History of Now

After Breaking Ties With Britain, Barbados Announces Heritage District Tracing Slavery's Toll

The four-phase project will include a museum, global research center and memorial

New memorials provide a bare outline of the lives of two Black victims killed during the Holocaust.

New Memorials in Berlin Honor the Holocaust's Overlooked Black Victims

Two brass "stumbling stones" are among the first to memorialize the Afro-German people murdered by the Nazis

A high-necked polychrome pot, created sometime between 1100 and 1400 B.C.E., was among the more than 900 items returned to Mali.

The U.S. Returns More Than 900 Stolen Artifacts to Mali

American authorities seized the presumably looted objects, which were listed as replicas, in 2009

In his new book Around the World in 80 Books, David Damrosch builds an itinerary that circumnavigates the globe—and doesn't require a passport to enjoy.

Virtual Travel

A Literary Scholar Takes Us Around the World in Eighty Books

Harvard professor David Damrosch's new release has readers traveling to London, Paris, Nigeria, Tokyo and beyond without ever leaving home

This 16th- or 17th-century copper alloy plaque—one of the ten Benin Bronzes removed from view—depicts a high-ranking warrior flanked by musicians and a page holding a ceremonial sword.

History of Now

Why the Smithsonian's Museum of African Art Removed Its Benin Bronzes From View

Displaying the looted artworks does "a huge amount of harm,” says director Ngaire Blankenberg, who has affirmed her commitment to repatriating the objects

Yale's namesake sits at the center of this group portrait, Elihu Yale With Members of His Family and an Enslaved Child (circa 1719, attributed to John Verelst).

Who Is the Enslaved Child in This Portrait of Yale University's Namesake?

Scholars have yet to identify the young boy, but new research offers insights on his age and likely background

Rhodes left Oxford's Oriel College around $17 million in today's money.

Why a New Plaque Next to Oxford's Cecil Rhodes Statue Is So Controversial

The sign identifies the 19th-century statesman as a "committed British colonialist"

Abdulrazak Gurnah, 73, was awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.

Abdulrazak Gurnah, Chronicler of Migrant Experience, Wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature

The Zanzibar-born author of ten novels tells richly detailed stories about people living "in the gulf between cultures and continents"

"Remember Me," now on view at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, unites more than 100 European Renaissance portraits. Pictured here is Albrecht Dürer's 1508 chalk sketch of an unidentified African man.

Display of 100 Renaissance Portraits Underscores Humans' Enduring Desire to Be Remembered

An exhibition at the Rijksmuseum unites two early likenesses of African men in Europe, among other 15th- and 16th-century masterpieces

Alula Pankhurst, a member of Ethiopia’s National Heritage Restitution Committee, calls the objects' return the “single most significant heritage restitution in Ethiopia’s history.”

Looted Maqdala Treasures Returned to Ethiopia After 150 Years

A nonprofit foundation purchased the objects, which were seized by British troops in 1868, with the aim of restituting them

The Ifesowapo dùndún ensemble performing in Igbo Ora, southwest Nigeria

How Does the West African Talking Drum Accurately Mimic Human Speech?

A new study explores how the dùndún replicates tones and patterns of the Yorùbá language

Researchers analyzed the Sudanese landscape with a model originally created to analyze the spatial patterns of stars and galaxies.

These Medieval Islamic Tombs in Sudan Were Laid Out Like Galaxies

Some of the burials appear to be clustered around "parent" funerary mounds of seeming cultural significance

The church may be the largest ever found in Nubia.

Cool Finds

Ruins of Monumental Church Linked to Medieval Nubian Kingdom Found in Sudan

The building complex was likely the seat of Christian power for Makuria, which was once as large as France and Spain combined

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