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The remarkable bronzes. But the metal used for these bronzes did not come from Benin itself but was imported from a vast area. When the Europeans arrived, the people of Benin began importing metal from Europe. Germans making good money trading with the Portuguese who supplied the Benin market. There was perfect equality between the Europeans and the people of Benin. The oba, the Benin ruler, was supremely confident. The Europeans were astonished at the power and wealth of the court. [Box: Benin bronzes] How the raw material came from Europe. How these were the “trinkets” that the Europeans thought they sold them.