Andreas B.D. Guibeb, ambassador for Namibia in Germany stands in front of the Cape Cross column at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, Germany, Friday, May 17, 2019. The column was taken to Germany in 1893 when the area was part of the German colonial empire, and today is on display in the German Historical Museum in Berlin. Germany’s culture minister says the country is returning to Namibia the centuries-old stone cross, even though it was originally of European origin, as a gesture of reconciliation. (Britta Pedersen/dpa via AP) (Associated Press)

BERLIN — Germany’s culture minister says the country is returning to Namibia a centuries-old stone cross, even though it was originally of European origin, as a gesture of reconciliation.

Monika Gruetters said Friday the decision to return the Stone Cross of Cape Cross at Namibia’s request is a sign Germany takes responsibility for its colonial past.

The limestone stone cross bearing the Portuguese coat-of-arms was erected in 1486 on the coast of today’s Namibia to assert the country’s territorial claim.

It was taken to Germany in 1893 when the area was part of the German colonial empire, and today is on display in the German Historical Museum in Berlin.

The museum says the artifact was once considered to be such an important landmark that it features on old maps of the world.

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