Pub. date: 2012 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI: 10.4135/9781452218458 | Print ISBN: 9781412981767 | Online ISBN: 9781452218458| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
British Punitive Expedition (1897): 1400 to 1900: Africa
The British punitive expedition against Benin, a small city-state east of Lagos in what is now Edo State in Nigeria, took place in February 1897. It involved the invasion and destruction of the state, the looting of nearly 2,500 of its famous bronze treasures, the burning of the king's palace, the trial and deportation of Oba Ovenramwen, and the execution of its prominent chiefs. The expedition ended the glory and splendor of Benin City. Throughout the fighting, in which locally recruited African troops were put in the forward ranks, British forces were largely protected by the constant use of the Maxim gun. In January 1897, Ralph Moore, then consul, went on leave and a young official, J. R. Phillips, was appointed to act for him. He set out with a large party to see the oba (king) during the annual Igue festival, a period during which the oba was A ...