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AFROMET - The Association for the Return of The Maqdala Ethiopian TreasuresDetail from the amulet of Emperor Tewodros
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the treasure
Stanley's loot

Henry M. Stanley, on the verge of a career as an African explorer, was at Maqdala, working as a journalist. After the fall, he boasted of acquiring a shield, a "royal cap", part of Emperor Theodore's tent and a decorated, be-jeweled saddle.

Stanley sent the following letter to a friend after the fall of Magdala. (There are two links to pictures of the letter below.) Words that are unclear are followed by a question mark. Missing parts of the text are marked by asterisks.

It appears Stanley had to give up his royal shield to the British Museum. Possibly he is talking about this shield, currently on display in the museum's African collection. The rest of his haul apparently went to friends or benefactors as presents.

At the bottm of this page, there is also a link to a sketch of Emperor Theodore by R.R. Holmes, the British Expeditions official archaeologist. It is interesting that the two man were friends. Holmes took large parts of the loot back to the British Museum. He also kept at least one sacred icon for himself. Read all about it here.

Dear Anderson (?),

I had secured the royal shield, the royal Cap of Ease (?) a portion of his majesty's tent with a saddle covered with networks of gold and silver sparkling with jewels. The saddle will be sent by one of the European Captains who is about to start for New York (?) to James Gordon Bennet Snr. It is a most magnificent present and is worth three hundred pounds sterling; the shield after an advance of 16 guineas over what I had, I was obliged to part with because Napier decided it for the British Museum. The Royal Cap, your humble servant has secured for yourself with a buffalo horn, which his majesty used to drink, and a shield **** all from Magdala.****I am about to start immediately for the sea coast and will probably reach Suez by the 20th May.
My love to all
Yours truly


Page one of the letter

Page two of the letter

Sketch of Emperor Theodore by R.R. Holmes, given to Stanley

Detail of sketch

Current location

treasure count:
468 items
still missing
10 items
(still counting)

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recent discoveries

Glasgow's shield
Cameronians' cross
Reed shirt
Lancaster miscellaneous
Halifax miscellaneous
Throne cloth

full list of

missing treasure
returned treasure

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human remains
military hardware
personal effects
religious artefacts
royal regalia

current locations

The British Library
The British Museum
Duke of Wellington's Regimental Museum Halifax
Dundee University Museum
Edinburgh University Library
The John Rylands Uni Library
Lancaster Museum & Priory
National Archives of Scotland
The Sch°yen Collection
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Windsor Castle

Other locations

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