Here’s How Mexico Is Slowly Reclaiming Its Stolen History

Thousands of artifacts are already back in their rightful locations. Here’s How Mexico Is Slowly Reclaiming Its Stolen History Shutterstock

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Whether you’ve visited its ancient sites in person or studied the nation’s history in books, you might already know that Mexico has a rich and vibrant heritage. Unfortunately, many other nations have wanted a piece of that history for themselves and countless artifacts have been taken by thieves, looters, or colonizing nations.

But now, activists and officials in Mexico are in the process of reclaiming their history — and it seems to be working.

“Mi Patrimonio No Se Vende”

An effort has been underway since 2019 to identify museums or other entities that have possession of relics that rightfully belong to Mexico. The campaign translates into the English phrase “My Heritage Is Not For Sale” and has already resulted in the repatriation of several key items.

Mexican Culture Secretary Alejandra Frausto explained that the mission focuses on the “awareness or shame that’s generated in someone who has archaeological pieces from Mexico or other countries on display when someone visits their home.”

In just the four years that the campaign has been active, Mexico has been able to reclaim more than 13,000 different items — including a whopping 1,300 from the San Bernardino County Museum in California alone.

A history worth preserving

One of the most notable pieces that has been successfully returned to its home country is a stone carving that dates back 2,600 years. The one-ton monument featured the face of a jaguar and had been pilfered from a site near modern-day Mexico City before it was illegally transported into the U.S. and changed hands several times.

It was tracked down at a Denver warehouse earlier this month and now the relic, which was believed in ancient times to have been used as a passageway into the underworld, is in the possession of a Mexican museum.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee October 24th, 2023
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