The second Ashanti War breaks out in Africa


Ashanti King Prempeh I Ashanti King Prempeh I Image source:

Wednesday, 23 April 1873

 The second Ashanti war took place between 1873 and 1874, 50 years after the first one. The Ashanti Kingdom had its headquarters in Kumasi, which was in the interior, but also dominated the coastal tribes of the Gold Coast (now Ghana). The Ashanti Kingdom was very powerful, practiced ritual human sacrifices and even traded slaves with Europeans.

Over time, the Ashanti Kingdom gradually lost their domination over the coastal tribes, the Elima and the Fanti.

The slave trade was also abolished by Europeans. However, during the reign of King Kofi Karikari in 1867, they attempted to re-establish Ashanti rule over the Elima and Fanti tribes. The Ashanti also became involved in a dispute with the British over a Dutch fort. The British intended to take over the fort, abandoned by the Dutch at the height of the slave trade.

The Ashanti claimed that it belonged to them, since the Dutch had always presented them with annual gifts as a show of gratitude for allowing them to stay in the fort.  This dispute sparked the second Ashanti war in which the Ashanti were defeated, and their Capital, Kumasi, destroyed.

• Heritage History Ashanti Wars 1823 to 1901 Ashantis ”” versus ”” British, and Fanti, from Heritage History, [online], Available at [Accessed: 26 March 2012]
• Modern Ghana History of the Ashanti People, from Modern Ghana, [online], Available at [Accessed: 26 March 2012]

Last updated : 23-Apr-2014

This article was produced for South African History Online on 18-Apr-2012