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This Ghana’s King Prempeh I Was Exiled To Seychelles For 24 Years Over 50,000 Ounces Of Gold

 

Asantehene Prempeh I was the 13th Ashanti Empire of the Gold Coast monarch. When he was about 16, he changed his name from Prince Kwaku Dua Asamu III to Prempeh I of the Kingdom of Ashanti.

His reign was turbulent due to the British annexation and invasion of the Gold Coast. Simply put, he ruled the Kingdom of Ashanti until the Gold Coast fell under British control.

The Asante Empire, also known as Asanteman, was an Akan empire that existed in Ghana, West Africa, for about two centuries, from 1701 to 1901. It expanded from the Ashanti Region to include parts of the Bono Region, the Central, Eastern, and Western Regions of the West African country, as well as parts of Ivory Coast and Togo.

The Ashanti Empire fought several wars against the British Empire in an attempt to thwart the latter’s expedition to the coastal lands. The Ashanti Empire and the British Empire fought five wars between 1824 and 1900.

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At the turn of the nineteenth century, the British government decided to formally establish its rule over the Gold Coast. To subjugate the Ashanti, an army was dispatched. They only defeated the well-organized Ashanti because their artillery and rifles were superior to the traditional muskets used by the Ashanti.

When the British arrived in Kumasi, the capital, they immediately looted the royal palace before torching the city.

The defeated Ashanti had already released their prisoners when they were forced to sign a treaty that ended human sacrifice, ended their claims to coastal territories, and required them to pay an enormous indemnity of 50,000 ounces of gold. The Wolseley expedition was named after him. As a result, the Gold Coast became a British crown colony.

Even though the British realized in 1894 that the Wolseley indemnity had never been paid, they remained wary of the French in Ivory Coast and worried about a resurgent Ashanti.

Nana Prempeh I attempted to speak directly to Queen Victoria and sent a delegation to London to make his case. The British administration, on the other hand, staged yet another spectacular British army expedition to Kumasi while secretly refusing to give Prempeh’s delegates an audience for nearly a year. The governor’s only priority was to obtain the gold he had previously pledged to Sir Garnet Wolseley.

Prempeh did not allow the Ashantis to engage the British army in battle, instead welcoming them diplomatically at his palace. He greeted the troops as guests with respect. This was in January 1896, and Robert Baden-Powell was in command.

Meanwhile, Prempeh I could not afford to pay the entire indemnification amount all at once, so he proposed making installment payments beginning with 680 ounces. This request was denied, and the King and other of his top chiefs were taken into custody without provocation, much to the surprise of the Ashantis.

Prempeh I’s house was robbed. His throne is still on display at the Royal Signals Museum in Blandford, England. The kidnapped Asantehene, Prempeh I, and a few of his family members and advisors were taken to Elmina for about a year before being transferred to Freetown, Sierra Leone.

It was until 1900 during the Yaa Asantewa War that the British decided to move the royal members to the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean out of fear for their safety.

After 24 years of exile in the Seychelles, the British enabled the Asantehene, Prempeh I, to come back to Kumasi as an ordinary citizen. According to the Ghanaian Museum, on September 13, 1924, Prempeh and 49 other people boarded the SS Karoa in Seychelles and headed to the Gold Coast.

To pacify the Ashanti, the British created Prempeh I the rank of Kumasehene in 1926, which he maintained until his death in Kumasi, Ghana, on May 12, 1931. His successor was Prempeh II of the Ashanti kingdom.

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Written by How Africa News

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