15th-century cross to be returned to Namibia
Namibia will receive back one of the most valuable artefacts of the 15th century, the cross-capsule column taken by German explorers from its pedestal at Cape Cross and exhibited in a museum in Berlin, Germany, the Namibian Genocide Committee announced last week according to Xinhua News Agency.
The German Minister of State responsible for International Cultural Policy at the Federal Foreign Office, Michelle Müntefering (SPD), also released a statement welcoming the decision by the museum.
“The return of cultural goods is an important building block for our common future with Namibia,” stated Müntefering.
The cross-capsule column is a former Portuguese national emblem erected by Portuguese sailers around 1486 as one of several beacons that marked their exploration of the inhospitable so-called Skeleton Coast.
Also known as the Cape Cross column, it is 3.5 meters high, weighs more than a ton and ends with a cross. Emperor Wilhelm II retrieved the massive artefact in 1894 when the territory had become the colony named Deutsch-Südwestafrika (German-Southwest Africa), administrated by Berlin.
A copy of the column was erected by Germans in 1895 and was declared a national monument by Namibia in 1968. In 2017 Namibia demanded the return of the original column.
Already in August of last year, Müntefering had human remains at his disposal returned to Namibia from Germany.