The British Still Have Our Art

Reminder: The British Still Have Our Art

This Article First Appeared In the juggernaut On October 17, 2022.

In the late 18th century, Tipu Sultan, known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the most formidable opponent to the British in India. He was ahead of the curve in military technology and had developed a form of rocket artillery that North America would later independently deploy as the Congreve rocket. Fearing France’s Napoleon Bonaparte would form an alliance with Tipu Sultan, British East India Company forces stormed Srirangapatna, Mysore’s capital, in 1799. Tipu Sultan died in the ensuing battle, bringing the Anglo-Mysore wars to an end.

After the fall of Srirangapatna, British soldiers looted and pillaged objects from Tipu’s dead body and kingdom: his sword, jewelry, gold coins, arms and ammunition, fine clothes, and Quran. While the British later returned the sword to India, Christie’s auctioned Tipu’s ring for £145,000 in 2014. After changing several hands, the ring had become the private property of Fitzroy John Somerset, the great-great-grandson of the 1st Baron Raglan.

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