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In the Ashanti/Asante Kingdom, Yaa Asantewaa served as the queen mother of Ejisu (presently in modern-day Ghana). After her brother, Nana Akwasi Afrane Okpese, the ruler of Edwesu, died, she was appointed queen mother and suggested her grandchild take over as ruler of Ejisu. The Brits exiled Yaa Asantewaa’s grandson, the King of the Ashanti Prempeh I, to Seychelles in 1896. The Ashanti people’s regal and divine throne, the Golden Stool, was to be turned over to the British, according to British governor Sir Frederick Mitchell Hodgson. The Asante kingdom’s leaders gathered for a conference. Yaa Asantewaa, the Gatekeeper of the Golden Stool, expressed his disgust with the attitude of some chiefs who were afraid to battle the British and stated that if the men don’t step forward, then women will fight. The men who started the War of the Golden Stool, also known as the Yaa Asantewaa War, which was the final conflict in a string of Anglo-Ashanti Battles, were energized by this. Yaa Asantewaa was forced into exile in Seychelles after the British won the battle, where she passed away 20 years later.

Childhood of Yaa Asantewaa

She was the eldest of two children born to Ataa Po and Ampomah of Ampabame in Besease, Ashanti Kingdom, around the year 1840. She was raised by ranchers. The Edwesuhene, or head of Edwesu, is her sibling Nana Akwasi Afrane Okpese.

She grew up like the other kids in her neighborhood and worked in agriculture near Bonankra, which is now a municipality in south-central Ghana.

Those Things That Led to the Ashanti Rebellion

Yaa Asantewaa had seen a number of things, including the Ashanti Confederacy’s future being threatened by the civil conflict that raged from 1883 to 1888 while her brother was in power. After her brother’s death in 1894, she exercised her right as the queen mother of Ejisu in the Ashanti Kingdom and nominated her own grandson to be Ejisuhene.

The British exiled Yaa Asantewaa, other Asante government officials, and her grandchild to the Seychelles in 1896. As a result, she took on the role of regent for the Ejisu-Juaben region.

By requesting to recline on the Golden Stool, the Ashanti people’s royal and divine throne, British colonial administrator Sir Frederick Mitchell Hodgson made a political error. He was the governor-general of the Gold Coast at the time. He was unaware of the significance of the Golden Stool, the living, deceased, and future Ashanti people’s unborn symbol. Additionally, he gave the order to look for a seat.

This prompted the remaining Asante government officials to conduct a private meeting in Kumasi to come up with a plan to ensure the king’s return.

Yaa Asantewaa attended the gathering as well. She was disgusted to see that some council members preferred to ask Hodgson to release the king over fighting for the king’s return and honor out of fear of starting a war with the British.

She spoke to the council members, bringing to mind the valor of Osei Tutu, Okomfo Anokye, and Opuku Ware I, three of their heroes. She claimed that if it had been those times, the chiefs would not have allowed the king to be taken prisoner and removed without a fight, and the white men would never have ventured to approach the Chief of Asante in the manner that Hodgson did in modern times.

She continued by stating that she would gather her fellow women and fight the British until the last of them perished on the battlefield if the Asante men were unable to go to war with the British. The Ashanti Uprising was started as a result of her courageous and inspiring remarks. She was the first and only woman in Asante history to hold such a position thanks to the selection of several regional Asante kings to head the Asante fighting force in battle.

The Bronze Stool Battle

The third and final in a series of Anglo-Ashanti Wars between the Empire of Ashanti and the British Imperial government of the Gold Coast was known as the War of the Golden Stool, also known as the Yaa Asantewaa War, the Ashanti Uprising, and the Third Ashanti Expedition. It started in March 1900.
The rebellion besieged the Kumasi fort, where the British and their allies sought shelter, under Yaa Asantewaa’s direction. The Ashanti assaulted relief columns, cut telegraph lines, closed all access to food stores, and blocked all roads.

Even though a 700-person rescue squad arrived in June 1900, they were unable to get out of the fort a number of sick men. However, Hodgson and his wife were able to avoid the 12,000 Ashanti warriors and make it to the shore along with the rest of the group, including 100 Hausas.

Hodgson discovered a second rescue force of 1000 men after reaching the coast, which had been assembled from various British units and police agencies. On its way, the rescue team led by Major James Willcocks battled several Ashanti-allied groups and lost a number of members, especially at Kokofu. Early in July 1900, the force landed at Beckwai, and by July 14, it had made its way to Kumasi for the final assault. On the evening of July 15, just a few days before the occupants were set to capitulate, Willcocks finally relieved the Kumasi fort.
In September 1900, the British won the battle, and Yaa Asantewaa was captured along with 15 of her closest advisors. They were sent into exile for 25 years in Seychelles.

The sanctity of the Golden Stool was to be preserved and not be violated by the British or any other non-Akan foreigners, so the Ashanti region was absorbed into Crown Colony on January 1, 1902.
The Ashanti declared triumph as they succeeded in keeping the divine stool. They kept their de facto independence despite being incorporated into the British Empire and showed little to no respect for the colonial power.

Around 2000 Ashanti soldiers died in the conflict, while 1007 British soldiers and their friends perished. Up until 1920, the Brits were looking for the Golden Stool. It was accidentally discovered in 1920 by road workers after being buried deep within the forests during the conflict. The Ashanti saw the stool as being weak because of the labor that removed its golden ornaments. The workers were sentenced to execution by an Ashanti court for this desecration, but the British officials intervened and got them released.

Yaa Asantewaa’s Death and Impact

Yaa Asantewaa passed away in exile on October 17, 1921, in Seychelles, and three years later, on December 27, 1924, King Prempeh I and the rest of the Ashanti court were allowed to return from exile. The monarch arrived in Kumasi on a special train. He saw to it that Yaa Asantewaa’s body, along with the bodies of other Asante people who had been exiled, was returned to the Ashanti Kingdom for a proper royal burial.
Yaa Asantewaa’s bravery and leadership in opposing British colonial rule have made her a highly regarded and inspirational character in the histories of Ashanti and Ghana.

The Kumasi-based Yaa Asantewaa Girl’s Senior High School (Yagshs) bears her name. The Ghana Education Foundation provided funding in 1960 for the opening of the school founded by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, in 1951.

On March 6, 1957, the Ashanti Protectorate became a part of Ghana, realizing Yaa Asantewaa’s vision of an Ashanti nation free from British rule.
The Yaa Asantewaa Centre, an African-Caribbean arts and community center in Maida Vale, west London, was given her name in 1986.

In 2000, Ghana hosted a weeklong centenary celebration to honor her achievements. As part of the commemoration, a museum honoring her was opened on August 3 at Kwaso in the Ejisu-Juaben District.
Ivor Agyeman-television Duah’s documentary “Yaa Asantewaa – The Exile of King Prempeh and the Heroism of An African Queen” was broadcast in Ghana in 2001.

The stage production “Yaa Asantewaa: Warrior Queen,” which was written by Margaret Busby and directed by Geraldine Connor and featured an all-African ensemble, including master drummer Kofi Ghanaba, was performed in the UK and Ghana between 2001 and 2002.

From October 13 to October 17, 2003, BBC Radio Four’s radio magazine show Woman’s Hour aired a radio drama by Margaret Busby about Yaa Asantewaa.

Her combat dress (batakarikese) and sandals were lost in a fire that tragically occurred on July 23, 2004, along with many other priceless antiquities. In 2006, Ejisu hosted a second celebration in her honor from August 1 to 5.

Personal Life of Yaa Asantewaa

She married a polygamous guy from Kumasi, and the couple had a daughter they named Nana Ama Serwaah of Boankra.

Estimated net worth

The estimated net worth of Yaa Asantewaa is about $1 million.