Africa has many kingdoms, there are lots of ancient Africa kingdoms that can be spoken about. One of the numerous kingdoms of Africa, and also a renowned one is the Asante kingdom. The Asante kingdom is one of the many kingdoms in modern-day Ghana, a country which was formerly called “Gold Coast”.
Gold Coast or Ghana is a west African country, which is one of the Sub-Saharan countries.
The Asante kingdom was established in the 17th century by King Osei Tutu with the assistance of a powerful Fetish Priest Okomfo Anokye, who conjured a golden stool from the skies to serve as a symbol of unification of the kingdom.
History of the name Asante:
The name Asante is derived from the Twi language of the Asante people who is part of the ethnic group called Akan. The name “Asante” means “because of war”. It was between the 10th century and 12th century AD that the ethnic Akan people migrated into the forest belt of Southern Ghana and established many Akan States.
The states that the Akan people established included the Brong Ahafo, Ashante, Assin-Denkyira-Fante Confederacy-Mankessim Kingdom (present-day Central region) Akyem-Akwamu-Akuapem-Kwahu (present-day Eastern region and Greater Accra), and Ahanta-Aowin-Sefwi-Wassa (present-day Western region).
How the Asante kingdom was formed:
The formation of the Asante kingdom hugely fell upon the fetish priest Okomfo Anokye. He was a close friend and the spiritual helper of king Osei Tutu. History has recorded that, Okomfo Anokye gathered all the clans of the Akan, who were by then ruled independently by paramount chiefs. During the gathering, the priest miraculously conjured a golden stool to descend from the skies. The golden stool came to rest on the lap of king Osei Tutu which was a symbol to confirm, the gods has chosen him to lead the new established Asante Kingdom.
Allegiance was sworn to the golden stool (the symbol of the Asante kingdom) and to king Osei Tutu as the chosen and accepted Asantehene (the King of the Asante kingdom). From that moment, all heirs of the kingdom of Asante were to belonged to the lineage of Osei Tutu.
The Golden Stool is believed to be the “Sunsum” spirit of the Asante unity.
Read also: The Aksum Kingdom and its power and glory
The kindom of Asante under Osei Tutu:
When Osei Tutu realized the strengths of a loose confederation of Akan states, Osei Tutu strengthened centralization of the surrounding Akan groups and expanded the powers of the judiciary system within the centralized government. This loose confederation of small city-states grew into a kingdom and eventually an empire looking to expand its borders. Newly conquered areas had the option of joining the empire or becoming tributary states.
Other kings that came after Osei Tutu
- King Opoku Ware I (1720–1745) engaged in further Akan territorial expansion
- king Kusi Obodom (1750–1764) succeeded Opoku Ware I.
- Asante king Osei Kwadwo (1764–1777) imposed administrative reforms that allowed the Ashanti Kingdom to be governed effectively.
- King Osei Kwame Panyin (1777–1803), and King Osei Tutu Kwame (1804–1824) continued the Ashanti Kingdom’s territorial consolidation.