(CNN)As part of its commitment to return artifacts stolen during colonial times, France is returning a sword that belonged to a 19th century Islamic scholar and ruler in Senegal.
In a ceremony in Dakar, Senegal's capital city on Sunday, the French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe handed over the brass and wood sword to Senegal's President Macky Sall.
The sword originally belonged to Omar Saidou Tall, a west African ruler who led an anti-colonial struggle against the French in the 1850s.
He eventually signed a peace treaty with France in 1860. And according to French historian, Jean Suret-Canele, Saidou Tall died from a gunpowder explosion in 1864.
After his death, his sword and books from his library were seized by the French.
The French Prime Minister, Philippe said giving back Saidou Tall's saber was "the first step" in a project tailored at returning more west African artifacts that are currently in French museums.
"This is an historic day," the Senegalese leader said. Local media reported that some of Tall's descendants were present during the handing over of the sword.
In November 2018, a report commissioned by the French President, Emmanuel Macron recommended that art plundered from sub-Saharan Africa during the colonial era be returned through permanent restitution.
According to the report, French museums house at least 90,000 pieces originally from sub-Saharan Africa with at least 70,000 works in Paris' Quai Branly museum alone.