The Asante empire was at its peak around the beginning of the nineteenth century; when Ashanti and British interests first met. It ruled over three million people in what is now Ghana (previously known as the Gold Coast). Making them by far, West Africa’s most powerful state.
Asante empire was more than half the population of the United States of America at the time and more than a quarter of the population of the United Kingdom; which was about eleven million in 1801. From an American stance, the empire was greater than England, Wales and Scotland combined or the state of Wyoming.
For over a century, British forces were at war with the Ashanti forces. They lost more than twenty significant engagements throughout the first part of the eighteenth century. This allowed the Ashanti to expand their empire across the entirety of present-day Ghana.
West Africa had some of the most successful and longest-lasting military resistance to European invasion. The Asante of Ghana’s century-long battle against the British was by far the longest.
Army units of Asante fought several minor and big conflicts against Britain from 1807- 1900. In 1824, an effort by Sir Charles Macarthy; a British administrator in the Cape Coast region, to organize a Fante army to put the Asante in their place ended in utter failure. MacCarthy’s head was brought to Kumase as a conquest prize of immense power and significance.
Many of these battles were won decisively by the West African army; which was the only one to beat a European army in more than one major battle. Despite the British employment of machine guns and 75mm artillery in the last war of 1900; the Asante forced British forces to retire many times.
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