ashanti empire


Lost Kingdom of Africa

Four-part series in which British art historian Dr Gus Casely-Hayford explores the pre-colonial history of some of Africa’s most important kingdoms. The African continent is home to nearly a billion people. It has an incredible diversity of communities and cultures, yet we know less of its history than almost anywhere else on earth.

But that is beginning to change. In the last few decades, researchers and archaeologists have begun to uncover a range of histories as impressive and extraordinary as anywhere else in the world.

The series reveals that Africa’s stories are preserved for us in its treasures, statues and ancient buildings - in the culture, art and legends of the people.

The first episode looks at Nubia, in what is now northern Sudan, a kingdom that dominated a vast area of the eastern Sahara for thousands of years. Its people were described as barbarians and mercenaries, and yet Nubia has left us with some of the most spectacular monuments in the world.

Casely-Hayford traces the origins of this fascinating kingdom back to 10,000 BC. He explores how it developed and what happened to it and its people, discovering that its kings once ruled Ancient Egypt and that it was defeated not by its rivals but by its environment.

Season 2

1930s Ghana: A young King Otumfuo Osei Agyeman Prempeh II King of Asante In 1931 the year of his installation he imme­diately began to work for the restoration of Asante Confederacy which was accomplished in 1935 Accordingly his status was raised from that of Kumasihene to Asantehene This was one of his greatest achievements During his reign he managed to get large parts of Asante lands which had been taken over by the British restored to the Golden Stool

Yaa Asantewaa

Celebrated as the Anti-colonial, freedom fighter and Queen mother of Ejisu (Ashanti Empire, modern Ghana).

Queen mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa, keeper of the Golden stool, refused to forfeit this sacred Asante symbol to the colonial governor and led the her people to fight the British in 1900.

She said:
“If you, the men of Asante, will not go forward, then we will. We, the women, will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight! We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.”

It took 2000 British troops to capture her, but her acts were never forgotten and her courage motivated the kingdom to rebel against the British.

What a Queen!

Queens of Africa series

One image and 100 words to describe all the women who inspired, shaped and changed our continent for the better.


Yaa Asantewa was the Queen Mother of Ejisu in the Ashanti Empire during the late 18th and early 19th century, as well as leader of the Ashanti rebellion against the British Empire.

Born in 1840, Yaa Asantewa played a supporting role in the royal family of Ashanti Empire (located in modern-day Ghana) as ‘Queen Mother’.  Following the exile of her grandson King Prempeh I by the British in 1896, Yaa Asantewa inherited leadership of the empire as regent in his stead.

In 1900, the British governor-general of the Gold Coast, Frederick Hodgson, met with local leaders at Kumasi. He demanded that the Golden Stool, the divine throne and symbol of the Ashanti nation, be turned over to him as a recognition of British power. While some of the leaders considered this, Yaa Asantewa, as Guardian of the Golden Stool, reprimanded them, saying:

“If you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.”

Yaa Asantewa then assembled an army of 5000 volunteers to resist the British forces, inflicting heavy losses upon them and forcing them to retreat to the fortified British offices at Kumasi. With the offices defended by machine guns and 500 Nigerian Hausas, Yaa Asantewa’s forces chose to instead lay siege to the British, cutting telegraph wires and blocking supply routes. Two days before the British would have been forced to surrender, a relief column sent by Hodgson broke the siege and forced the Ashanti to retreat.

Despite having been able to harass the British forces from several well-defended forts, the Ashanti Empire was eventually defeated and absorbed into the British Empire in 1902. As rulers before her had been, Yaa Asantewaa was exiled to the Seychelles, where she remained until her death in the early 1920s. In 1924   Prempeh I was finally allowed to return to Ashanti, bringing Yaa Asantewa’s remains with him to receive a royal burial on her native soil.

“If you, the men of Asante, will not go forward, then we will. We, the women, will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight! We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.” ~ Yaa Asantewaa Nana Yaa Asantewaa (c. 1840–17 October 1921) (pronounced YAH a-SAN-te-WAH) was a warrior, queen mother and one of the Africa`s great freedom fighters. She was arguably Ghana and Africa`s greatest fearless female warrior during colonial times. Yaa Asantewa who was the queen mother of Ejisu (Edweso) in the Ashanti Empire—now part of modern-day Ghana—by her brother Nana Akwasi Afrane Okpese, the Ejisuhene—or ruler of Ejisu. In 1900, she led the Ashanti (Asante) rebellion known as the War of the Golden Stool against British colonialism when the British Empire after looting Ashanti Kingdom and exiling King of Asante Prempeh I, dared to ask for their Golden Stool which symbolizes their soul as Nation and an ethnic group. She is popularly referred to as "Africa`s Joan of Arc.” When men panic and flee from danger, Yaa Asantewa laughs and face it squarely!