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GHANA STUDIES / Volume 3 ISSN 1536-5514 / E-ISSN 2333-7168© 2000 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 3 ASANTE AT THE TURN OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY EMMANUEL AKYEAMPONG Introduction The editorial board of Ghana Studies launched a call for papers in 1999 for a special issue in 2000 to commemorate Asante at the turn of the twentieth century and the centenary of the Yaa Asantewaa War of 1900. At the request of the journal’s editor, I agreed to collate the papers and write an introduction to the issue. Ghana Studies expresses its gratitude to those who responded to the call for papers and made possible the exciting collection of articles that forms this special issue. The journal did not define the scope of the various articles, and the contributors freely selected the themes addressed in this issue. We are privileged to offer contributions by Lynda Day, Ivor Wilks, Thomas McCaskie, Kwame Arhin, Adu Boahen, and Pashington Obeng. For health reasons Adu Boahen was unable to write the article he had planned for this issue. He has in progress a book manuscript on the Yaa Asantewaa War entitled “Etuo Ato Bare: Yaa Asantewaa and the Yaa Asantewaa War of 1900–1901.” He suggested that I transform the fifth chapter into an article for this special issue. I accepted the challenge, and the result is the article included in this issue. Though I am responsible for the structure of his article, I refrained from any major editing that would have changed the substance of his arguments or altered his evidence. I cut down the number of historical examples he used to shorten the article and provided a consistent footnote format. Boahen has reviewed and approved the article that appears in this collection. As the principal editor of the collection, I have refrained from imposing a standard orthography and from reconciling some of the differences in factual evidence or interpretation. These papers reflect the state of the field on Yaa Asantewaa and Asante at the turn of the twentieth century, and it is our hope that the articles will inspire further research into related and new areas. Thus the War of 1900 is referred to by some of the contributors as an Anglo-Asante War and by others as an Anglo-Kumase War. 4 Ghana Studies • volume 3 • 2000 That not all the important aman or founding states of Asante participated in the War of 1900 is clear. But it was also more than a “Kumase War,” and tributary states such as Banda are on record for supporting and contributing troops to the Asante revolt of 1900. The War itself is described variously as a “resistance,” a “rebellion,” and a “nationalist movement.” There is richness in diversity, and the different perspectives taken in this collection provide intriguing snapshots of Asante in transition and unorder. An important point of divergence is whether the Golden Stool was hidden in Edweso for a while in the prelude to the 1900 War. Agnes Aidoo1 and Boahen (this issue), supported by Obeng (this issue), place the Golden Stool at Edweso in the custody of Yaa Asantewaa in the mid-1890s. McCaskie’s reconstruction of the peregrination of the Golden Stool in the prelude to the 1900 War does not mention a stint at Edweso. It is hoped that further research would shed more light on this issue and resolve this apparent discrepancy. A brief biographical sketch of Yaa Asantewaa may be useful to the reader, as little is known of her aside from her dramatic eruption onto the Asante historical stage in 1900. The articles in this issue will provide a more indepth portrait. Yaa Asantewaa’s date of birth remains uncertain. Boahen (in this issue) refers to a census taken in the Seychelles Islands in 1912, which gave Yaa Asantewaa’s age as eighty, and based on this and other evidence assigns a birth date of around 1830. Yaa Asantewaa grew up in Besease (near Edweso), and married a grandson of the Golden Stool, Nana Owusu Kwabena from Kantinkyiren near Trede. The marriage produced only one child, a daughter named Ama Serwaa Brakatu, whose subsequent marriage produced several grandchildren for...


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