Asante King of Ghana has requested that the British Museum return certain gold treasures that were stolen from his palace decades ago. The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II requested a loan of ceremonial relics from his people at a historic encounter with the museum’s director, Dr. Hartwig Fischer, according to the BBC.
The platform also notes that the British Museum’s collection includes more than 200 Asante gold objects and other ceremonial artefacts that were looted by British troops during the Anglo-Asante wars. Ghana officially demanded the return of the gold artifacts and other regalia that British troops had taken from the Asante palace in Kumasi in 1874, 1896, and 1900 in a 1974 letter to the then-Asante king.
In order to ensure that the objects are returned, the British Museum has been working with the Asantehene and Ghana’s Manhyia Palace Museum for some time.The British institution is “looking into 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,” a representative for the institution told the BBC.
In addition to requests for Western nations to return artifacts plundered during colonization, the Asantehene has called for the return of Ghana’s treasure.
The Anglo-Asante wars
The Asante people bragged of prosperity, control over trade and territory, and powerful warriors who fought to defend their kingdom from both domestic and foreign enemies during the 15th and 19th centuries. The most prestigious and powerful kingdom in the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana) was the Ashanti or Asante Kingdom.
By the beginning of the 19th century, the British had made a strong presence in the Gold Coast and had acquired control of the coastal regions. They had also gained the trust of the Fantis, who had now turned into friends. Even though they held sway over a sizable portion of the Gold Coast, the British still needed to beat the Asante in order to undermine their power and eventually annex the entire colony. However, the Asante Kingdom had established itself as a formidable opponent who was prepared to engage the Fantis and British at any 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.