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BY Mildred Europa Taylor, 11:00am May 17, 2023,

Return our gold – Ghana’s Asante king tells Britain after attending coronation of King Charles

The current Asantehene (Ashanti King) with the Golden Stool --- thekingdomofasante.com

Ghana’s Asante king has asked the British Museum to return gold items taken from his palace decades ago. In a first-ever meeting between the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the museum director, Dr. Hartwig Fischer, the Asantehene asked for a loan of items of regalia belonging to his people, BBC reports.

The platform adds there are over 200 Asante gold items and other regalia within the British Museum collection which were taken by British forces during the Anglo-Asante wars. In 1974, Ghana made a formal request from the then-Asante king, demanding the return of the gold items and other regalia that British troops took from the Asante palace in Kumasi in 1874, 1896 and 1900. 

For some time now, the British Museum has been collaborating with the Asantehene and Ghana’s Manhyia Palace Museum to see to it that the items are returned. A spokesperson for the British Museum told the BBC that the museum “is exploring the possibility of lending items from the collection to mark the 150th anniversary of the end of the third Anglo-Asante war, as well as to support celebrations for the Asantehene’s Silver Jubilee next year”.

The Asantehene’s call for the return of Ghana’s gold comes amid calls on Western countries to return artifacts looted during colonization. 

The Anglo-Asante wars

Between the 15th and 19th centuries, the Asante people boasted of wealth, dominance over trade and lands, as well as, strong warriors who fought to protect their kingdom from both local and foreign threats. The Ashanti or Asante Kingdom was the most revered and powerful Kingdom in the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana).

By the early 19th century, the British had established themselves well in the Gold Coast and had taken control over the coastal areas winning the trust of the Fantis who had become allies. Despite having control over a great part of the Gold Coast, the British needed to defeat the Asante to weaken their dominance and eventually take over the entire colony. But, over time, the Asante Kingdom had proven a force to reckon with and ready to battle the Fantis and British at any point in time. 

A long dispute had existed between the Fantis and Asante people and the arrival of the British escalated tensions between the two Akan tribes. On several occasions, the Asante had expressed their displeasure with the Fantis and British by raiding the Fanti lands and fighting the people. By the 1820s, the British decided to step in and protect the Fantis from the Asante. They indirectly declared war marking the beginning of the over 100 years of battle between the Britisg and the Asante people which is today known as the Anglo-Ashanti wars.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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