Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Rise and fall of Asante Kingdom


The Rise and fall of Asante Kingdom

The Asante kingdom is now part of what is known as Ghana today. It was made up of scattered and disunited states and has hostile neighbours like Denkyira, Akim and Akwamu. At the peak of the kingdom, Kumasi was the capital. The kingdom was hitherto a scattered one until Osei Tutu rose to the throne as its ruler.

Osei Tutu was said to be the leader that laid the foundation of a united Asante Kingdom. He was sent to the court yard of the king of Denkyira. At that time Asante was a tributary state to the then powerful Denkyira. Around 1696, he was invited to come and take up the Asante throne when his uncle Obiri Yeboah died. Upon rising to the throne, he engaged the services of one Okomfo Anokye as his kingship court priest. Speculations have trailed where Okomfo Anokoye came from. Some claim that he came from Nsuta while some said Mampong. The activities of Okomfo Anokye helped Osei Tutu to unite Asante. This he did through the use of magical powers. On one Friday, in a colourful ceremony, he magically made a golden stool to fall from the sky and rested on the knees of Osei Tutu. How this was done remained a mystery but he claimed that it was a sign that God wanted the Asante to unite.

Having realized unity, Osei Tutu with the help of Okomfo started working towards achieving the needed independence for the kingdom. For this reason the focused on Denkyira. They also nursed the interest of engaging in coastal trade which was monopolized by the Denkyira.

Opportunity reared its head when Ntim Gyakarin the then king of Denkyira made the demand of an exorbitant tribute from the Asante. Osei Tutu and his people refused to pay. This refusal led to a war between Asante and Denkyira. In the war the Asante defeated the Denkyira. The war was tagged the battle of Feyiase. Ntim Gyakari king of Denkyira was beheaded while he was playing game with his wife. Osei Tutu engaged on so many wars He was allegedly killed in one of them while trying to cross River Pra.

Upon the death of Osei Tutu, Okpoku Ware succeeded him. Okpoku continued to work in line with the policies of Osei. This he did still with the help of Okomfo Anokye. He embarked on the expansion of the kingdom and maintained the independence of the kingdom. Sooner in Okpoku,s reign, Okomfo died. Okpoku later died and was succeeded by Kwasi Obodun. Kwasi Obodun was said to be a peace loving king. During his reign the kingdom witnessed a very relative peace. He was succeeded by Osei Kojo and then Osei Kwame. Towards the end of Osei Kwame’s reign, the kingdom encountered strong internal crisis.

The kingdom later witnessed series of wars that signified its fall. One of those wars was that against the coastal state of Fante. The most significant of these wars was that against the British. It was significant because it led to the fall of the kingdom. This happen during the reign of Prempeh I. He was by the British under Sir William Maxwell to hand over the golden stool which at that time was the symbol of power for the kingdom. His refusal led to his deportation together with the Queen mother and some of his chiefs. They were deported to Seychelles kept there until 1924 when they were released. The British made the demand again which was not adhered to again. This time around the British attacked the kingdom. In the fierce battle, Asante’s army was defeated. This defeat signified the loss of the kingdoms independence for the British took control in 1902 and annexed the kingdom into southern part of British controlled Ghana.

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