The History of the Ashanti Empireq

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,513
Benin City, Nigeria
#2
Kumasi was really destroyed in 1874 by Wolseley, though it is also the case that further damage was done in 1896 to what little remained afterward.

While I did come across a single mention of supposed "picture-writing" on an image of a comb in R.A. Freeman's book Travels and Life in Ashanti and Jaman, that description by the author ("picture-writing") actually wasn't in regard to some Asante symbols but those of another Akan group. However, the notion that the adinkra symbols were "hieroglyphs" is debatable. I don't think their use for that purpose was ever established.

Regarding pronunciation, while "Ashanti" is accepted - probably because it appears so much in the written sources - I would really call that more of an exonym (even though the difference between Asante and Ashanti is admittedly slight).

https://books.google.com/books?id=YV1GAAAAYAAJ&pg=PR25#v=onepage&q&f=false (#6)


https://books.google.com/books?id=zjD5z4Qan6sC&pg=PA86

The autonymic pronunciation does not have a "sh", but like I said Ashanti is accepted because it has been used so much and the difference is slight anyway.


For a video that was limited to only 8 minutes I think it managed to cover some of the basic things well while also managing to include a few more interesting details.
 
Aug 2018
19
Canada
#3
I listened to the first 2 minutes and realized this was a Post-contact civilization: 1640-1902. And made possible, they say, by European Firearms/guns... and who knows what other ideas were similarly gotten/enabled.
And many were refugees from the Muslim influenced Ghana Empire (1100-1500)

So it really doesn't move the needle on Innate sub-Saharan civilization.
these were peoples who had a good look for centuries at Muslim and Euro groups/ships/caravans arriving in the area as traders and slavers. Outsiders didn't just come upon this empire, they provided it's ideas and tools.
Some earlier sub-Saharans were even brought to the Arabian Peninsula and saw it's incredible marvels in Architecture, Metal, Silk, Tile, and paintings.
 
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May 2018
84
On earth.
#4
I listened to the first 2 minutes and realized this was a Post-contact civilization: 1640-1902. And made possible, they say, by European Firearms/guns... and who knows what other ideas were similarly gotten/enabled.
And many were refugees from the Muslim influenced Ghana Empire (1100-1500)

So it really doesn't move the needle on Innate sub-Saharan civilization.
these were peoples who had a good look for centuries at Muslim and Euro Civilizations arriving in the area as traders and slavers.
Some of the earlier sub-Saharans were even brought to the Arabian Peninsula and saw it's incredible marvels in Architecture, Metal, Silk, Tile, and paintings.
What was the goal with this?
While Ashanti itself may have been founded "post contact", the culture that would birth it, Akan culture, existed independently before that, and birthed many other civilizations of its own. As clearly stated in the video, the Bonoman kingdom preceeded Ashanti, founded around around 1000ad. Surely, thats an example of a "pre-contact" civilization right there? What about Denkyira?
And so what if European firearms / guns made the success of Ashanti possible? It was they who chose to begin to use them, they who had to teach themselves how to repair the poor quality guns they usually obtained, they who often produced their own ammunition, and they who led their conquests. If anything, all that Ashanti's success shows is the adaptability of their society, to transfer from not using guns at all to dominating over their opponents using the weapons.
Furthermore, even if the Akan oral history is to be believed, which is shaky at best (I frankly have no idea why it was presented as solid fact), the Akan explicitly fled Ghana to avoid their conversion to Islam, so it's safe to assume that their influences from Islam were minimal, and regardless, a) West African civilization predates Islam itself, Ghana likely developed from Dhar Tchitt culture which most consider to be built by the modern Soninke people years prior to Islam being a thing. b) Ghana was very much so still an indigenous West African state, simple religion change doesn't change that fact.
So yes, Ashanti is an example of "innate sub-Saharan civilization". The Akan as a whole people had a "good look" at European civilizations for maybe 200 years, starting with the arrival of the Portuguese around 1470, but even that was mostly just in the form of them building a singular fort at Elmina which the Ashanti didn't bother to replicate, and trading some weaponry during a time period where they already had civilizations on the gold coast, and their most known Muslim contact would've still been an African state that they ditched due to it's Islamicization. Generally, that doesn't sound like a lot.
Also, a little side comment, sub saharans likely independently developed metal working as early as 1000bc, as evidenced by numerous archaeological finds in modern Nigeria.
 
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Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,513
Benin City, Nigeria
#5
The notion that the Akan, or the Asante specifically, migrated from the Ghana empire is basically a fabrication though. Like how some British claimed to be descended from Trojans far back in the past.

The state (Asante) actually was really derivative of Bonoman and Denkyira, with substantial influence from Akwamu.

The dates given for the Ghana empire of 1100 to 1500 are way off. And according to Arabic sources, the Ghana empire had already been a great state when the Arabs made contact with it, not to mention it was only Muslim during the very last part of its centuries long existence anyway.
 

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,513
Benin City, Nigeria
#7
Regarding the role of European firearms, it should be noted that the coastal African states in the Gold Coast kept up a deliberate embargo on the sale of guns to the interior, to prevent the flow of guns to Asante.

Asante was an interior/inland state which the coastal states knew was more powerful than their own smaller states (even despite the fact that their own states had uninhibited access to some firearms from trade with Europeans), so they had to band together to resist its expansion and prevent it from gaining access to firearms, which they knew would put them at greater risk of being conquered by it.

But then Asante outmaneuvered these states militarily and then politically to gain at least some (limited) access to firearms; the most crucial action being their defeat of the state of Akim in 1742, which opened up the route to Accra, where they could obtain at least a limited number of firearms. Afterwards, Asante then conquered most of the coastal states one after another anyway, even though these coastal states were the ones with a greater number of firearms and free and uninhibited access to firearms from trade with Europeans. The means by which the Asante leadership broke the embargo on firearms that the coastal states had imposed is discussed in "The Importance of Firearms in the Struggle Between Ashanti and the Coastal States, 1708-1807" (1968) by S. Tenkorang. (Link.)

Basically, the Asante first gained access to a substantial quantity of firearms over the course of the 18th century by defeating those coastal states that had had much more access to firearms. So they were able to get access to guns in substantial quantities by defeating states that were, in theory, actually better equipped in terms of weaponry than they had been in the 18th century.
 
Aug 2018
32
United States
#8
I listened to the first 2 minutes and realized this was a Post-contact civilization: 1640-1902. And made possible, they say, by European Firearms/guns... and who knows what other ideas were similarly gotten/enabled.
And many were refugees from the Muslim influenced Ghana Empire (1100-1500)

So it really doesn't move the needle on Innate sub-Saharan civilization.
these were peoples who had a good look for centuries at Muslim and Euro groups/ships/caravans arriving in the area as traders and slavers. Outsiders didn't just come upon this empire, they provided it's ideas and tools.
Some earlier sub-Saharans were even brought to the Arabian Peninsula and saw it's incredible marvels in Architecture, Metal, Silk, Tile, and paintings.
So what you're saying is that because they had influence from other states, they are an invalid African civilization? Welcome to world history. Europeans got firearms from the Chinese. They got their religion from the Middle East. writing systems, silk, paper. Even farming and livestock. All foreign imports. Why is it always a problem when Africans do it?
 
Aug 2018
32
United States
#9
The notion that the Akan, or the Asante specifically, migrated from the Ghana empire is basically a fabrication though. Like how some British claimed to be descended from Trojans far back in the past.
DNA analysis confirms that the Akan people descend from the Sahel. (Mentioned in the video)

The state (Asante) actually was really derivative of Bonoman and Denkyira, with substantial influence from Akwamu.
The video literally already covered the Bonoman as the progenitors of the Akan people.

The dates given for the Ghana empire of 1100 to 1500 are way off. And according to Arabic sources, the Ghana empire had already been a great state when the Arabs made contact with it, not to mention it was only Muslim during the very last part of its centuries long existence anyway.
The dates given in the video for the Ghana Empire were in text at the bottom of the screen 700-1240. The dates of migration of the Akan people FROM the Ghana Empire are the 11th through 15th centuries (1000s to 1400s) not 1100-1500. It was stated that they abandoned the empire to escape religious oppression from Islam that slowly began to overtake the kingdom. the 1000s to the 1400s does line up with the Almoravid invasion of Ghana which took place in the 1000s.
 
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Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,513
Benin City, Nigeria
#10
DNA analysis confirms that the Akan people descend from the Sahel. (Mentioned in the video)
Well you can PM me this "DNA evidence" of "descending from the Sahel". There is no mention of any actual, specific DNA evidence in the video, just a statement around 1:10 about the ancestors of much of Ghana's modern population and how DNA analysis connects much of Ghana's modern population to a population from 2700 years ago.

Maybe the video meant to claim something else. But if that is the case, it wasn't stated clearly. If there is some different meaning/interpretation besides the one I've just described then it was not made clear.

The video literally already covered the Bonoman as the progenitors of the Akan people.
The comment I made that you are responding to here was a comment on MochaNikkei's post. Thought that would be clear from the context.


The dates given in the video for the Ghana Empire were in text at the bottom of the screen 700-1240. The dates of migration of the Akan people FROM the Ghana Empire are the 11th through 15th centuries (1000s to 1400s) not 1100-1500. It was stated that the abandoned the empire to escape religious oppression from Muslims. It never claimed the founded the empire.
Once again, my comment here was about MochaNikkei's post, where he gave the dates of 1100 to 1500 as if those were the dates for the existence of the Ghana empire.

But anyway, there is no evidence for this supposed migration. At least none I have ever seen. Though if this "DNA evidence" exists you can provide it.

The video was fine overall, but a few of its claims are not accurate, such as claiming that "the Asante began trading with the Europeans since the 15th century" which makes no sense and is just incorrect. I did not go into detail about everything that wasn't 100% accurate because I didn't want to just start nitpicking and seem like I was taking a negative stance against the video, but sometimes the finer details do really matter.
 

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