Civilization of the Ashanti People; The Golden Empire of the Gulf of Guinea has flourished in present-day Ghana for almost three centuries

During development

Asante or Ashanti are among the great Akans, who make up between a third and a half of Ghana’s population and a third of Côte d’Ivoire’s population. Akan was born in Egypt. Soninki – Akan’s ancestors – crossed from east to west, like many African nations coming to Little Mauritania.

Soninki was the origin of the Wagadian Empire – or ancient Ghana – the most powerful country in Africa and perhaps the richest in the world at the time.
Remains of the Soninka Empire in Wagad, present-day Mauritania. Today, Kwame Nkrumah is named the prestigious Ghana of today in honor of this prestigious country.

With the fall of ancient Ghana in the twelfth century, part of the population descended to present territory and absorbed the locals who crossed their path. This is how Akan was born. Akan, like Malinka and probably Wolof, comes from Soninka.

Osei Tutu, founder

In Ghana and Ivory Coast, Akan is divided into many nations (Denkyira, Fanti, Bron, Aowin, etc.). According to African tradition, all these kingdoms were essentially matriarchal. Women had the legitimacy of power.

Numerous wars broke out between the Akkadian peoples, and in the 17th century two rich kingdoms emerged: Denkyira and Akwamu. Denkyir’s government subjugated the hostility of the people under their rule, who joined the founders of the most important empire in the region: Kofi Osei Tutu.

Osei Tutu inherited his mother’s uncle Obiri Yebo and was Kumasihene, the ruler of Kumasi. He was appointed king by his maternal grandmother and approved by the clan council. Osei Tutu led the resistance against Denkyire and after many wars defeated the former lovers of the region.

Okomfo Anyoke, a vital (animistic) priest who helps the new king, worshiped Siku Dwa Kofi, a golden chair that represents the soul and unity of the new Ashanti nation. Osei Tutu and Okomfo Anyoke also created the Odwira Festival, a regular celebration of the unity of the nations of the new empire to strengthen cohesion.
Asantehene Kofi Osei Tutu (illustration by Alfred Smith)

So in 5937 from the African era – 1701 – Ashanti was born with Ossei Tutu as the first Asantehen (Emperor Ashanti). According to Ashanti, at the time of the conquest of Ossei Bons, 38 nations were united, from north to south of Ghana and from Togo to the east to Ivory Coast to the west. Ashanti was larger than Britain.

The structure of the kingdom of Ashanti

The Ashanti political structure, entirely rooted in the African tradition, represents a model of improvement. It was a replica of that Denkyir.

At the top of the hierarchy was Asantehemaa, the royal mother, the equivalent of Isis. Surrounded by advisers, she had her own court and appointed the emperor. The emperor exercised power to his right. So he called Asantehen, the equivalent of Horus, who was usually his son. He gave his daughter the legitimacy of power, which in turn became Asantehemaa.

As almost everywhere in authentic Africa, the king promoted loyalty to the matriarch, and so ruled sovereignly with his sister. He was filled with the spirit of Sika Dwa Kofi, who had his servants. The ruler had to lose his personal wealth before he could serve the country. He had to end his rule without collecting material goods. He could not pass anything on to his heirs. This strict control has been carried out to prevent corruption and abuse.

Ashanti was divided into two main areas: the Ashanti metro, an area 50 km from the capital Kumasi; and Major Ashanti, the rest of the country. In the Ashanti metropolitan area, in addition to Kumasi, there were Osei Tutu 10 countries (Dwaben, Mampong, Adansi, etc.). The council that helped Asantehene rule the Earth consisted of kings and queens of these 10 nations. The duties of the ministers were divided between these kings and queens.

The council acted as a counterweight. Each of the nations of the Great Ashanti was ruled by one of these 10 nations. Therefore, Krakye and Bassa were under the sovereignty of Dwabennen (King of Dwaben); Persecution under Mamponghene (King of Mampong) etc

Each nation, both the Ashanti metropolitan area and the Greater Ashanti metropolitan area, was respected in its identity, retained its culture and political control over its territory, and recognized Asantehene as the supreme ruler. According to African thought, Ashanti was a confederation called Ekolo in Lingala.

Vitalism was the state religion and the clergy was powerful. Asantehene Osei Kwame, therefore, was removed from the throne because he clung to Islam. The king was the first priest. Abasuapuanin was the head of the families that formed the population and directed the worship of the form of God (water, earth, air, etc.).

Osei Tutu has developed a new empire in which he says that Kumasi is covered in gold. The country’s wealth was based on the extraction of gold mines, the abundance of which was incomprehensible. The nuggets belonged to the royal treasury and the powder was distributed to the people. This practice is reminiscent of ancient Ghana. It is this abundance that explains why Ghanaians in Europe were called the Gold Coast before independence.

In the nineteenth century, Bowdich described the pomp of life at court as follows: “One hundred large umbrellas or awnings, each of which could accommodate at least thirty people, were constantly mixed up by those who carried them. They were made of scarlet silk and other bright colors and were complemented by crescents, pelicans, elephants, swords, and other solid gold weapons.

The royal messengers had large gold plates on their chests; The captains and knights had carefully crafted solid gold necklaces. The girls wore golden frying pans; The artists stood behind the bundles of reeds containing gold. “This description is almost identical to that of Bekri of ancient Ghana 8 centuries ago or Ibn Battuta of the Mali Empire 5 centuries ago.

Cola nuts, salt and textiles were also traded internationally. Ashanti had commercial relations with the country Hausa, the Nigerian cities and even Libya. He had ambassadors at Fulani Fouta Djalon in Guinea, Danhome, in the Kingdom of Mande or in the states of Hausa. Ancient Africa, therefore, had diplomacy.

Architecture and knowledge

The royal residences as well as the administrative and religious buildings were built with raw earth, wood or bamboo. They were arranged around a patio and covered with straw. The totem signs were etched on the walls, religious symbols of Adinkra associated with the path from the dead to the afterlife or the spiral of divine creation common to all African nations.
Ashanti Palace photographed by the British after the country’s annexation.
The ruler of Ashanti and his officers.

The mausoleum of the Kumasi kings, in which the Asantees were buried, was destroyed by the British.

After their conquests, the kings of Ashanti, the first Osei Tutu, brought many Akan artisans to Kumasi. They were installed according to their specialization in the capital’s districts, giving them the opportunity to bring the empire to its artistic heyday. Potters, weavers, goldsmiths, founders, carvers, ivory carvers, etc. They produced absolutely remarkable pieces.

19th Century Ashanti Gold Mask
The seat and golden stool of the Asantehene The shape of the stool, also found in the Danhomé is similar to that of one of the thrones of pharaoh Tuanga Imana (Tutankhamun).
Gold weights from the 19th century, on which are represented Adinkra figurines. We even see the swastika decades before the birth of Nazism. The swastika originated in the black world, probably in Africa. It was Hitler who turned it into a racist symbol.

Ashanti and slavery

Like all black societies, with the exception of the black Maghreb under Arab influence, Akan societies did not use forced labor to function their economies. Prisoners of war and litigation were placed under the control of the masters, but were not abused in any way.

Ghanaian historian Albert Adu Boahen said of the slaves: “They had the right to own property and marry free citizens. Some were even appointed to responsible positions and could inherit the property of their masters. They were seen as full members of the family … Most of them were was fully integrated into the society in which they lived, and not revealing their origins was … a sacred rule. ”[2] This type of treatment for relatives was common in ancient Africa.

When the Ashanti came into contact with the Europeans decades after the founding of the empire, the fate of the prisoners of war changed and many were sold. When there was opposition to the Akan trade, the Ashanti kings mostly cooperated with the slave traders, mostly in exchange for rifles.

It is said that African states that resolutely resisted (the Empire of the Congo, the Kingdoms of Swahili, the Kingdoms of Somalia, the Empire of Mwene Mutapa) were destroyed by Europeans from the very beginning of the slave trade. Those who worked together around the world (Ashanti, Danhomé) survived a trade that was destroyed during the colonial invasion.

There is resistance and cooperation in every such historical event. The Jews know about it, 150,000 of them were in Hitler’s army, all the way to the ranks of generals. Jews and the West ensure that this fact remains unknown.

Near Ashanti

In the early 19th century, Ashanti expansionism clashed with the British-backed Fantia. The empire came into direct confrontation with the Europeans. Osei Bonsu, Osei Yao Akoto and Kwaku Dwa inflicted unforgettable defeats on the British. It was the first of the Anglo-Ashant wars in 73 years. The Ashanti will manage to keep the British away from the desired gold mines.

In the late 20th century, the British decided to make the Gold Coast a colony. Asantehene Prempeh was categorically against. He was captured and sent to Sierra Leone. The English demanded the surrender of the saint, Sika Dwa Kofi.

Given the chief’s hesitation about this sacrilege, Yaa Asantewaa, the royal mother of Ejisu, took over the leadership of the armed resistance to Ashanti. Kumasi eventually fell under English attacks and was destroyed in 1896. Yaa Asantewaa was captured and shipped to the Seychelles. This marks the end of independent Ashanti after 295 years.
Ejisuhemaa Yaa Asantewaa
Kente, the colorful Akana fabric, is probably the most promising African fabric in the world
Opoku Ware II, King of Ashanti. Next to him is Sika Dwa Kofi on his own throne. Asantehen is still one of the most respected kings in Africa, although he has lost much of his political power.

The Kente, the colourful fabric of the Akan, is probably the most iconic African fabric in the world

Notes:

Ejisuhemaa Yaa Asantewaa
Opoku Ware II, king of the Ashanti. Next to him is the Sika Dwa Kofi on its own throne. The Asantehene is one of the most prestigious kings in Africa to this day, even though he has lost much of his political power.

• General History of Africa, Volume 4, UNESCO
Histoire de l’Afrique Noire, Joseph Ki-Zerbo
• Black past
• [1] Histoire de l’Afrique noire, Joseph Ki-Zerbo, p. 274
• [2] Histoire Générale de l’Afrique (General History of Africa), Volume 5, page 474; …

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