Education

Ashanti Vs British: The war of the golden stool

This was the war between the British and the Ashanti people of Gold coast which is now known as Ghana during the year 1900.

The war was triggered by the then colonial governor Frederick Hudson when he demanded on sitting on the golden stool which was considered by the Ashanti people as the highest form of disrespect from the British colony.

The golden stool was considered as a symbol of the strength, pride, history and future of the Ashanti people. It was a full expression of the Ashanti power since the seventeen century.

According to history, it is believed to have been invoked from the sky by Okomofo Anokye the high priest and one of the two founders of the Ashanti confederacy were it descended and floated onto the feet of the first Ashanti king. The high priest then declared that the soul of the nation reside on the stool. They then maintained the stool and placed it as their highest Possession.

It entire surface was made with gold and hanged with golden bows which help warn the king of impending danger. It was also consulted by the chiefs in times of war and as time progressed and as they won more battles against their rivals whereby turning their kingdom into an empire, the golden stool became more valuable to them.

Then came a British colonial, Sir Edward Maxwell who was sent by the Queen of England to subdue the Ashanti people and bring them under the British Crown as a colony.

Sir Maxwell started with diplomatic talks and treats which later revolve to force against the Ashanti people. They strongly refused to allow their land and Gold to be ruled by the British and this led to a battle between them and the British which lasted for three months, from December 1895 to February 1896.

As punishment for resisting the authority of the British, King Prempe 1 who was their ruler at that time was sent on exile alongside some of his chiefs. Before he left, he advised his people not to put up any resistance to the British command in other to save lives but little did he know that a more greater war would emerge after his departure.

The British kingdom was bent on totally subduing the Ashanti kingdom and its people and Sir Frederick Hudson Mitchell was appointed as the governor of the region. When news of the history of the golden stool reached Hudson, he demanded to sit on the stool as he was the new ruler of the Ashanti people and on 25th march 1900, Hudson called for a meeting with the chiefs on which he told them to pay €160,000(one hundred and sixty thousand pound) each year according to the 1874 colonial constitution and he also demanded to sit on the golden stool.

His demand on sitting on the golden stool was far too disrespectful to the Ashanti people who saw the stool as a symbol of their identity and history, and so the brave Queen mother, Nana Yaa Asantewaa arose and with the help of the remaining chiefs, they hid the Golden stool away. Hudson then deployed his soldiers to search for the stool. While the search was ongoing, Nana Yaa Asantewaa gathered the remaining Ashanti leaders in a secret meeting.

She brought them together so that they could find a way to defend the golden stool and also bring back their king. She wanted to spark a revolt against the British but I seems the spirits of the Ashanti people were broken. Many of the leaders she had gathered were afraid of standing against the British but Nana Yaa Asantewaa was a fearless and brave women.

She tried her best to motivate them and was able to gather an army of 5,000 people. She commanded the army to engage in a war against the British which is known till date as the war of the golden stool. They ambushed Hudson’s deputy and his army and killed alot of them.

When the British survivors reached the other soldiers and told them of the uprising, the British soldiers station in Ashanti retreated to Kumasi which was the major base of the British colonial offices. In response to the attack, the British officers immediately fortified their base with high walls, weapons and over 500 armed men. However the Ashanti warriors were not done with the British, so they made a long siege and eventually launched an attack on the base which was unsuccessful.

Relentless the Ashanti warriors surrounded the British, blocked all the roads leading to the town, intercepted the British food supplies and destroyed their telegraph wires. This was a very frustrating moment for the British officers as the could no longer communicate using their telegraph lines and also had no food.

Making things worse, a disease broke out in their base. Eventually a British rescue party arrived, rescuing Hudson, his wife and a few others who were not affected by the disease. During their escape the Ashanti warriors chased after them and killed quite a number of them. The Ashanti people celebrated their successfully revolt, however their victory will short lived.

The British waited for a year before launching an attack on the Ashanti kingdom and after a fierce battle they defeat the Ashanti warriors and arrested their leaders including Nana Yaa Asantewaa.

The arrested leaders were exiled for 25 years, many of whom died on exile including Nana Yaa Asantewaa whom died in 1921. Three years later (1924), King Prempe was released from exile but by then the British had formed strong bases in Ghana. However the reason of the battle which was saving the golden stool was fulfilled

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