xxxxxThe Ashanti (or Asante), part of the Akan-
THE FOUNDING OF THE ASHANTI EMPIRE c1689 (W3)
Map (West Africa): licensed under Creative Commons – historyfacebook.wikispaces.com. Golden Stool: date and photographer unknown.
xxxxxIt was in the 12th and 13th centuries that the Akan-
xxxxxIn a series of campaigns over the next three years, all opposition was crushed and, the coast having been reached, a lucrative trade was opened up with the Dutch at the fort of Elmina. Based on gold, slaves and European imports, it was the making of the Ashanti Empire. By the death of Osei Tutu, its founder and first king, in 1712, it had trebled in size, and its capital Kumasi, ideally situated on the north-
xxxxxWorthy of note amongst their leaders at this time was Osei Kwadwo. Coming to power in 1764 (G3a), he consolidated the power of the monarchy and extended further his domains further north. By the early 19th century the empire stretched from the Togo Mountains in the east to the Komoe River in the west. Indeed, such was the strength of the Ashanti that they posed a threat to the British on their arrival, and it took four "wars" to bring about their final defeat. As we shall see, the first of these wars, beginning in 1824 (G4), followed the establishment of colonial territories by the British in Sierra Leone, the Gambia and the Gold Coast in 1821 (G4).
xxxxxIncidentally, before becoming Ashantehene, or king, of the new Ashanti state, Osei Tutu lived for a time amongst the Akwamu people. On returning to Kumasi he was accompanied by a priest called Okomfo Anokye and he brought with him the legendary "Golden Stool" which, he claimed, had descended from heaven. This stool became the symbol of the spirit and unity of the Ashanti people and, according to Ashanti tradition, played a vital role in the kingdom's success. As we shall see, it was the cause of a war -