Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article
Ashanti wars (Asante wars). The Ashanti empire, located in the hinterland of the Gold Coast of west Africa, reached its peak in the late 18th cent. An attempt by the Ashanti to establish their dominion over the territory adjacent to British trading posts in 1807 threatened British legitimate trade, but because of Britain's vacillation over its role in the region did not lead to armed conflict until 1824 when the Ashanti were victorious. The judicious intervention of George Maclean, chief administrator of the British Gold Coast settlements, induced the Ashanti to waive their claims over the coastal peoples, but the British government's ambivalence emboldened the Ashanti to seize the coastal territory again in 1863. After another reversal of policy, Britain sent a military force under Sir Garnet Wolseley to challenge Ashanti claims in 1873. Wolseley marched north and destroyed the Ashanti capital, Kumasi. In 1874 the land south of Ashanti was declared to be a British crown colony. The rapid expansion of French and German colonization in the region induced Britain to demand Ashanti submission in 1896. When the Ashanti resisted, another British expedition (1900–1) finally destroyed the empire, which became a British crown colony in 1902.