• patricia tonui

The Anglo- Ashanti wars

The Anglo-Ashanti Wars were a series of five confrontations between the Ashanti Empire and the British Empire, with the Ashanti Empire eventually being absorbed into the British Gold Coast Colony (now the nation of Ghana).


The First Anglo-Ashanti War began when the Ashanti claimed disputed territory from the Fante, a British client state. Sir Charles MacCarthy, British governor of the Fante territory, rejected the Ashanti claims in 1823, leading a 2,500-man British army against a 10,000-man Ashanti force. The Ashanti beat the British army and killed MacCarthy in the Battle of Nsamankow on January 22, 1824.

In the Battle of Efutu later that year, the Ashanti beat the British and their African allies, the Fante and the Denkyirans. In 1828, the British were forced to retreat to their Sierra Leone colony. After the Ashanti recognised the Pra River as the border between the British-controlled Fante coastal region and the Ashanti Empire, the war was declared officially over in 1831.


Between 1863 and 1864, the second Anglo-Ashanti War took place. A huge Ashanti force crossed the Pra River in 1863 in quest of Kwesi Gyana, a fugitive. British, African, and Indian troops reacted, but neither side claimed victory because disease cost more lives on both sides than the fighting itself.

Between 1873 and 1874, the Third Anglo-Ashanti War raged. General Garnet Wolseley of the British Army commanded a force of 2,500 British troops as well as thousands of Indian and African troops against the Ashanti Empire. The British decided to defeat and destroy the Ashanti Empire for the first time. The British defeated the Ashanti in the Battle of Amoaful on January 31, 1873, with the help of better trained soldiers, the introduction of quinine (which helped protect against disease), and the new maxim gun (machine gun), which gave the British forces a significant technological advantage over the Ashanti Army. The British briefly occupied and then torched Kumasi, the Ashanti capital. The war ended in July 1874 when the Ashanti signed the Treaty of Fomena.


Between 1894 and 1896, the fourth Anglo-Ashanti War took place. The British sought to ensure that neither French nor German soldiers conquered the Ashanti a decade after the Partition of Africa. They made the decision to annex the entire Empire. The conflict began when the Asantahene, the Ashanti emperor, failed to pay the penalty of 50,000 ounces of gold imposed on him by the Treaty of Fomena. Colonel Sir Francis Scott and his British and Indian troops left Cape Coast in December 1895 and landed in Kumasi in January 1896. Major Robert Baden-Powell was in charge of an army of African friends who were fighting against Ashanti power. Asantehene Agyeman Prempeh was apprehended and removed from power.When the war ended in 1896, Prempeh was forced to sign a treaty of protection and, along with other Ashanti leaders, was exiled to the Seychelles Islands.

Defeat of the Ashantees, by the British forces under the command of Coll. Sutherland, July 11th 1824

Public domain image


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