Asante Empire

Asante Empire

Born: 1670

Died: 1957

Birth Place: Ghana

Known for: The Asante kingdom was one of the richest, most powerful, and enduring dynasties in West Africa.

Osei Tutu, military leader and head of the Oyoko clan, founded the Asante kingdom.

The Asante formed a powerful West African empire.

The Golden Stool of the Asante is said to contain the soul of the nation.

Asante Empire

Life story

 

United clans

 

The Asante kingdom began in the 1670s, when its leader, Osei Tutu, (Oyoko Clan) defeated his opponents. He united many clans into a confederation of states and created a capital called Kumasi.

 

Osei became known as Asantehene, meaning King. He started a festival called the Odwira Festival, which everyone in the Asante empire attended.

 

The next ruler, Opoku Ware, continued the work of Osei. The empire grew stronger. He won many wars during the 18th century and the Asante empire grew. Wealth built through trade saw the Asante empire control what is now Southern Ghana.

 

Golds and metals

 

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Asantes were famous for their gold and their ‘Golden Stool’ which the Asantehene sat on. Tradition states that one of the high priests of the empire conjured up the Golden Stool from heaven. This stool brought unity to the Asante states and each king was crowned sitting on it. The golden stool, to this day, remains a symbol of unity for the Asante people.

Their strong economy and society were very important, and the empire was known for its inventive brass weights, which were used to weigh gold.

 

Between 1823 – 1873 they fought the British, who wanted to control the territory. In 1874 British forces invaded, capturing Kumasi. The Asante empire rebelled through many uprisings, including a brave resistance led by Yaa Asantewaa, known as the Queen Mother. However, in 1902, the British defeated the Asante Empire, colonising that part of Africa. The Asante people gained their independence from Britain in 1957.

Osei Tutu brought many clans together to form the Asante kingdom. Why do you think he did this? Unity is an important value for the Asante people, what is used to symbolise this? Why do you think the British wanted to control the Asante Kingdom?

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