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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of whether or not historical objects should be returned to their country of origin.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Historical Objects

Historical objects should be brought back to their country of origin.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Many today are calling for historical objects currently residing in, largely Western, museums to be returned to their nation of origin. In my opinion, though these items were typically acquired fairly, repatriating them would go a long way to easing international resentment against past colonial powers.

The argument of the institutions currently displaying these items is that they have a legal right. Some objects were unlawfully stolen, but the majority of those have already been sent back. The artifacts now in exhibitions have proofs of sale. The prices appear to modern observers as scandalously low but they were agreed upon in another era and there is no legal basis to revoke these sales. The British Museum in England, for example, has produced unequivocal evidence that all the items they preserve were fairly bargained for and obtained. In any other situation, demanding a product that has been sold be returned would not even be broached and items of historical and cultural importance should be no different.

Regardless of the just case museums can make, there is a practical argument for returning these objects that does not exist for keeping them. A good example of this is in many African countries where their historic artifacts were pillaged during colonialism. The powers that, in effect, stole their history tended to be predominately white, European nations like The United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, and Spain. Since many of these wealthy countries now charge expensive fees to view artefacts from poorer African countries, a natural resentment festers. By returning the property, some of the pain of colonialism could abate. Countries subjected to colonial rule will be able to move past feelings of hostility if there is an attempt made to rectify and sanction the offenders.

In conclusion, though many of these cultural relics were bought legally, there is critical value in giving them back as they can repair historically fraught relations. Every country must balance these an abstract respect for justice against these more utilitarian concerns.

Analysis

1. Many today are calling for historical objects currently residing in, largely Western, museums to be returned to their nation of origin. 2. In my opinion, though these items were typically acquired fairly, repatriating them would go a long way to easing international resentment against past colonial powers.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Give a clear opinion – choose a side! Read more about introductions here.

1. The argument of the institutions currently displaying these items is that they have a legal right. 2. Some objects were unlawfully stolen, but the majority of those have already been sent back. 3. The artifacts now in exhibitions have proofs of sale. 4. The prices appear to modern observers as scandalously low but they were agreed upon in another era and there is no legal basis to revoke these sales. 5. The British Museum in England, for example, has produced unequivocal evidence that all the items they preserve were fairly bargained for and obtained. 6. In any other situation, demanding a product that has been sold be returned would not even be broached and items of historical and cultural importance should be no different.

  1. Write a clear topic sentence with a main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Continue to explain or develop your main idea.
  4. Don’t switch to a new idea – keep adding more detail to your first one.
  5. Give a clear example.
  6. Conclude with the further possible results/implications.

1. Regardless of the just case museums can make, there is a practical argument for returning these objects that does not exist for keeping them. 2. A good example of this is in many African countries where their historic artifacts were pillaged during colonialism. 3. The powers that, in effect, stole their history tended to be predominately white, European nations like The United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, and Spain. 4. Since many of these wealthy countries now charge expensive fees to view artefacts from poorer African countries, a natural resentment festers. 5. By returning the property, some of the pain of colonialism could abate. 6. Countries subjected to colonial rule will be able to move past feelings of hostility if there is an attempt made to rectify and sanction the offenders.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Begin an example early in the paragraph if possible.
  3. Explain the example.
  4. Keep developing the example.
  5. Vary long and short sentences.
  6. Conclude your example with a strong statement.

1. In conclusion, though many of these cultural relics were bought legally, there is critical value in giving them back as they can repair historically fraught relations. 2. Every country must balance these an abstract respect for justice against these more utilitarian concerns.

  1. Repeat your opinion and summarise your main ideas.
  2. Add a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

Many today are calling for historical objects currently residing in, largely Western, museums to be returned to their nation of origin. In my opinion, though these items were typically acquired fairly, repatriating them would go a long way to easing international resentment against past colonial powers.

The argument of the institutions currently displaying these items is that they have a legal right. Some objects were unlawfully stolen, but the majority of those have already been sent back. The artifacts now in exhibitions have proofs of sale. The prices appear to modern observers as scandalously low but they were agreed upon in another era and there is no legal basis to revoke these sales. The British Museum in England, for example, has produced unequivocal evidence that all the items they preserve were fairly bargained for and obtained. In any other situation, demanding a product that has been sold be returned would not even be broached and items of historical and cultural importance should be no different.

Regardless of the just case museums can make, there is a practical argument for returning these objects that does not exist for keeping them. A good example of this is in many African countries where their historic artifacts were pillaged during colonialism. The powers that, in effect, stole their history tended to be predominately white, European nations like The United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, and Spain. Since many of these wealthy countries now charge expensive fees to view artefacts from poorer African countries, a natural resentment festers. By returning the property, some of the pain of colonialism could abate. Countries subjected to colonial rule will be able to move past feelings of hostility if there is an attempt made to rectify and sanction the offenders.

In conclusion, though many of these cultural relics were bought legally, there is critical value in giving them back as they can repair historically fraught relations. Every country must balance these an abstract respect for justice against these more utilitarian concerns.

Answers

calling for requesting

historical objects relics from a country

residing in staying in, housed

largely Western mostly from European countries

returned to given back

nation of origin where they come from

typically acquired fairly usually bought legally

repatriating giving back to the original country

go a long way contributes a lot towards

easing international resentment reducing tension between countries

past colonial powers countries that used to own other countries

institutions governments, companies, etc.

displaying showing

legal right entitled to

unlawfully stolen taken illegally

majority most of

already been sent back repatriated already

artifacts documents, relics, paintings, sculptures, etc. from the past

exhibitions displays of items

proofs of sale documents showing something was bought

appear seem

modern observers modern people, people today

scandalously low shockingly little

agreed upon contracted

another era a different time

no legal basis unlawful

revoke these sales overturn the contract

British Museum a museum in England with many historic items

unequivocal evidence clear proof

preserve keep safe

fairly bargained for agreed upon fairly

obtained received

in any other situation in comparable conditions

demanding asking for

broached asked

cultural importance key for a country’s culture

no different the same

regardless of nonetheless

just case fair situation

practical argument pragmatic view

historic artifacts relics from the past

pillaged stolen

colonialism a period when European countries controlled countries around the world

powers important countries

in effect essentially

stole their history took their relics, artifacts

predominately white mostly white

wealthy countries rich nations

charge expensive fees ask for a lot of money

natural resentment festers normal animosity grows

property what someone owns

pain of colonialism resentment from the past

abate disappear

subjected to colonial rule under the rule of European countries

move past get over

hostility resentment towards

attempt made tried to

rectify fix

sanction punish

offenders those who did something wrong

cultural relics historic artifacts

legally within the bounds of the law

critical value very important

repair historically fraught relations fix problems between countries

balance not over-value

abstract respect undefined reverence for

utilitarian concerns practical worries

Pronunciation

ˈkɔːlɪŋ fɔː 
hɪsˈtɒrɪkəl ˈɒbʤɪkts 
rɪˈzaɪdɪŋ ɪn
ˈlɑːʤli ˈwɛstən
rɪˈtɜːnd tuː 
ˈneɪʃən ɒv ˈɒrɪʤɪn
ˈtɪpɪk(ə)li əˈkwaɪəd ˈfeəli
riːˈpætrɪeɪtɪŋ 
gəʊ ə lɒŋ weɪ 
ˈiːzɪŋ ˌɪntə(ː)ˈnæʃənl rɪˈzɛntmənt 
pɑːst kəˈləʊniəl ˈpaʊəz
ˌɪnstɪˈtjuːʃənz 
dɪsˈpleɪɪŋ 
ˈliːgəl raɪt
ʌnˈlɔːfʊli ˈstəʊlən
məˈʤɒrɪti 
ɔːlˈrɛdi biːn sɛnt bæk
ˈɑːtɪˌfækts 
ˌɛksɪˈbɪʃənz 
pruːfs ɒv seɪl
əˈpɪə 
ˈmɒdən əbˈzɜːvəz 
ˈskændələsli ləʊ 
əˈgriːd əˈpɒn 
əˈnʌðər ˈɪərə 
nəʊ ˈliːgəl ˈbeɪsɪs 
rɪˈvəʊk ðiːz seɪlz
ˈbrɪtɪʃ mju(ː)ˈzɪəm 
ˌʌnɪˈkwɪvəkəl ˈɛvɪdəns 
prɪˈzɜːv 
ˈfeəli ˈbɑːgɪnd fɔː 
əbˈteɪnd
ɪn ˈɛni ˈʌðə ˌsɪtjʊˈeɪʃən
dɪˈmɑːndɪŋ 
brəʊʧt 
ˈkʌlʧərəl ɪmˈpɔːtəns 
nəʊ ˈdɪfrənt
rɪˈgɑːdlɪs ɒv 
ʤʌst keɪs 
ˈpræktɪkəl ˈɑːgjʊmənt 
hɪsˈtɒrɪk ˈɑːtɪˌfækts 
ˈpɪlɪʤd 
kəˈləʊniəlɪz(ə)m
ˈpaʊəz 
ɪn ɪˈfɛkt
stəʊl ðeə ˈhɪstəri ˈtɛndɪd tuː 
prɪˈdɒmɪneɪtli waɪt
ˈwɛlθi ˈkʌntriz 
ʧɑːʤ ɪksˈpɛnsɪv fiːz 
ˈnæʧrəl rɪˈzɛntmənt ˈfɛstəz
ˈprɒpəti
peɪn ɒv kəˈləʊniəlɪz(ə)m 
əˈbeɪt
səbˈʤɛktɪd tuː kəˈləʊniəl ruːl 
muːv pɑːst 
hɒsˈtɪlɪti 
əˈtɛmpt meɪd 
ˈrɛktɪfaɪ 
ˈsæŋkʃən 
əˈfɛndəz
ˈkʌlʧərəl ˈrɛlɪks 
ˈliːgəli
ˈkrɪtɪkəl ˈvæljuː 
rɪˈpeə hɪsˈtɒrɪkəli frɔːt rɪˈleɪʃənz
ˈbæləns 
ˈæbstrækt rɪsˈpɛkt 
ˌjuːtɪlɪˈteərɪən kənˈsɜːnz

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Many today are c______________r h___________________s currently r_______________n, l_________________n, museums to be r_____________o their n________________n. In my opinion, though these items were t__________________________y, r__________________g them would g_______________y to e______________________________t against p_______________________s.

The argument of the i___________________s currently d_________________g these items is that they have a l______________t. Some objects were u_______________________n, but the m_____________y of those have a___________________________k. The a_____________s now in e______________s have p_______________e. The prices a____________r to m___________________s as s_____________________w but they were a_______________n in a______________a and there is n_________________s to r__________________s. The B_______________m in England, for example, has produced u_________________________e that all the items they p______________e were f_________________________r and o_____________d. I_____________________n, d_______________g a product that has been sold be returned would not even be b______________d and items of historical and c_________________e should be n_________________t.

R__________________f the j______________e museums can make, there is a p_____________________t for returning these objects that does not exist for keeping them. A good example of this is in many African countries where their h____________________s were p___________d during c______________m. The p__________s that, i__________t, s__________________y tended to be p_________________________e, European nations like The United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, and Spain. Since many of these w_____________________s now c______________________s to view artefacts from poorer African countries, a n_____________________________s. By returning the p_____________y, some of the p______________________m could a_________e. Countries s______________________________e will be able to m____________t feelings of h___________y if there is an a______________e to r__________y and s__________n the o___________s.

In conclusion, though many of these c_________________s were bought l___________y, there is c________________e in giving them back as they can r__________________________________s. Every country must b__________e these an a_____________________t for justice against these more u_________________________s.

Listening Practice

Learn more about the British Museum below:

Reading Practice

Read more about this complex topic below:

https://medium.com/thinksheet/should-museums-return-artifacts-to-their-original-countries-c4803a554699

Speaking Practice

Answer the following questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

History

  1. Do you like reading books about history?
  2. Which country’s history is most interesting to you?
  3. Which historical event or period do you find most interesting?
  4. Why is it important to read about history?

Writing Practice

Write about the following related topic and then check with my sample answer:

Many museums charge for admission while others are free.

Do you think the advantages of charging people for admission to museums outweigh the disadvantages?


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