Before being executed by the Dutch in 1838, King Badu Bonsu II was the ruler of the Ahanta tribe in the western region. Badu Bonsu II was allegedly beheaded in retaliation for the murder of two Dutch emissaries in 1838. According to the Dutch government, Badu Bonsu II was handed over by his own “nation” to Dutch settlers, who then controlled part of the ‘old Gold Coast (now Ghana) which included the Ahanta tribal lands.
Arthur Japin, a Dutch author who discovered the king’s head while working on a historical novel, noted that the head of Badu Bonsu II had been taken by Major-General Jan Verveer in 1838 in retaliation for the murder of the king of two Dutch emissaries, whose heads were displayed as trophies on his throne. Kept in a formaldehyde jar, the head of King Badu Bonsu II was discovered accumulating dust in a laboratory at the medical center of the University of Leiden by the successful Dutch author.
He had been there since his arrival in the late 1830s from what was then called the Dutch Gold Coast and is now Ghana. Japin, the Dutch novelist, explained how he had helped reunite the head of Badu Bonsu II with his body. “I was looking for my novel about an Ahanta boy brought to the Netherlands in 1838, and at the same time I heard about the king, who had been a friend of the boy. I’ve been looking for the head for over 10 years, ”said Japin. ”Finally, in 2002, I found him locked in a dark closet where he had been for over 170 years. “
In March 2009, government officials from Ghana announced that he would be returned to his country of origin for an appropriate burial.
The Dutch and Ghanaian governments and a member of the Ahanta tribe of Badu Bonsu signed a pact in The Hague for the handing over of the chief, who was kept out of sight in a room elsewhere in the Foreign Ministry building for the ceremony. The chiefs of the Ahanta tribe organized an emotional ritual, pouring alcohol on the floor of the conference room while invoking the spirit of the chief in the presence of Ghanaian nationals dressed in the colors of mourning red and black of the country.