Black people's liberation: the Ashanti uprising and Ghana's independence

The Ashanti Kingdom 1 File Photo

Sat, 4 Jun 2022 Source: Joel Savage

Ghana's gold deposits and strategic location at the crossroads of trans-Saharan trade routes made the Ashanti Region wealthy. Throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, England attempted to obtain control of this territory, which it saw as vital to its drive to gain a financial advantage over its European competitors in the burgeoning slave trade.

The indigenous Akan people, who were rich in gold and had a fearsome military presence under Osei Kofi Tutu I, controlled the region, and while Great Britain was able to acquire the surrounding areas, the major capital Kumasi remained under tight Ashanti authority.

The Ashanti were able to bring 200 thousand men to the field, according to a British journal from the nineteenth century. These soldiers "clearly did not fear weapons and cannons," according to the report. Between 1820 and 1890, the Ashanti Wars saw a series of engagements with the British in which the Ashanti sustained enormous losses and signed provisional and frequently short-lived peace accords and settlements.

After the golden seat War, which erupted when a British diplomat sat on a seat considered sacred to the Ashanti people, Great Britain was able to seize Kumasi in 1900? European criminals set fire to a number of government facilities, including the Central Library, which contained a huge number of books in different languages, according to reports at the time.

The Ashanti Royal Court was banished to Seychelles, including Yaa Asantiwa, the Queen Mother who spearheaded the uprising. The British Gold Coast accepted the Ashanti Kingdom on the provision that neither the British nor any other foreigners would infringe on the golden seat.

Under British administration, the region's economic power grew in the decades afterward, thanks to train manufacturing and infrastructure, the expansion of the coffee trade, and the introduction of the cocoa factory.

Local governments were still governed by traditional tribal councils under colonial control, and this, together with the growth of European education for African Aborigines, contributed to a growing awareness among blacks and a quickly growing interest in African unity and self-government.

The news of India's and Pakistan's independence, as well as the misery of African soldiers returning from World War II, bolstered this movement. Returning soldiers' pensions were withheld due of their skin color, resulting in several riots and looting in 1946.

Under duress, the economically weakened British government sought to avoid more war by holding talks with local authorities, led by the United States and Kwame Nkrumah, a British-educated Ghanaian, who later became the first President of Ghana.

The emerging socialist People's Congress party, led by Nkrumah, won the election and formed a power-sharing agreement with the British that lasted until 1957, when the British ultimately relinquished control of the country. Ghana became the second country in Sub-Saharan Africa to break free from European colonization.

Because the Ashanti Empire was suspicious of literacy, ignorance reigned supreme, which may account for the loss of much information and facts about African history, as many African languages were oral. Since Islam established a stronghold in the region, writing reached Northern Ashanti via Muslim traders.

There were rich and poor in their society, just as there were in other societies around the world, so their society was very similar to the feudal system, in which the rich exploited the poor, and there were free workers and slaves, just as there were in ancient Greece and the United States in the 1800s.

Despite their mistreatment, the poor in pre-colonial Ashanti show no signs of revolt. Slaves from neighboring tribes were also owned by the Ashanti. Despite the fact that the Ashanti have their own religion, the Ashanti religion, the community was influenced by the Islamic and Christian religions at the same time, due to commercial and political contacts.

Material and symbolic are the two primary components of the Ashanti religion. They also believe in aspects that are comparable to other religions, such as the existence of a creator. Divination is a typical illustration of the Ashanti faith; they use it to predict the future, which is similar to other ideal African religions.

Columnist: Joel Savage