“The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire:” How the Decadence of the British Museum was Built Over the Victims of Imperialism


Ever since the dawn of civilizations, imperialism has played a major yet pessimistic role on society and culture.  There are four major issues that have resulted from imperialism.   Cultural assimilation; cultural endangerment; cultural and environmental exploitation; and cultural diaspora.  From the Romans to the Napoleonic, the conquest of a widespread empire has been a driving force for imperialism.  However, after witnessing the all of the different collections of artifacts from nearly every civilization, there is no doubt that no empire has exemplified imperialism better than the British Empire. From half of the African continent; India; Pakistan; China; Japan to our own nation, the U.S.A.; Southwestern and South-central Canada; and Jamaica; for over 350 years British colonialism and imperialism ruled the world.  The British Museum is a prime example of these distraught feelings being represented in the form of preserved artifacts from these fallen nations.  For example when I saw the collections from orient I asked myself; why is this amazing statue of the Buddha displayed here in England when the birthplace of this work of art is in India?

It all goes back to how the culture was brought here to England which was a major result of imperialism.  In this sense of realizing the imperialistic intentions of empires like Great Britain especially back then, it was taken from the native land and brought here not to preserve its history but to preserve the history of Great Britain’s glory and power.  Do not get me wrong, I thought of my excursion to the British Museum to be one of awe-inspiring proportions.  To see the legendary Rosetta Stone; one of the only existing copies of the Parthenon; or as I mentioned before the different statues of the Buddha; it was truly an amazing experience.  But as I said before these artifacts should be displayed in their area of origin not in the nation who stole them from all of the different tribes and native people of these lands.  To conclude, I feel my share of excitement to see such historic treasures but I personally would feel better if I knew that these artifacts were displayed in their country of origin. Whether it is a collection from Egypt, or a collection from China; imperialism is the main reason we see these artifacts displayed there still to this day.


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