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The Reign Of Nana Prempeh I

                                                         THE REIGN OF NANA PREMPEH   I

                                                                          (   1888 – 1896  )

Nana Prempeh I was enstooled in March 1888 with the stool name Nana Kwaku Dua III . This name later changed to Prempeh I. Because of the civil war which proceeded his enstoolment, the chiefs who did not support him continued to cause trouble. Among the states which were opposed to his enstoolment were Kokofu, Mampong, Nsuta, Adanse and Dadiase. The states which supported him were Kumase, Bekwai, Dwaben, Edweso, Offinso, and Nkoranza. Edwesohene was the war general for Nana Prempeh,s faction during the civil war, therefore after the war his stool was raised to paramount status . The other Asona towns within the Kingdom who were serving Kumase direct but had scattered were all made to come under Edweso, as requested by Dikopim.( Dikopim,s request did not materialised at Nana Tutu,s time because of opposition from the scattered Asona Towns)


According to oral tradition , the defeat of Atwereboana,s supporters made them desert their towns . The people of Kokofu crossed the Pra River into the protectorate . Those from Mampong and Nsuta went to Atebubu. There was even the move by the people of Mampong to become British subjects. This period coincided with the scramble for Africa, therefore the British Government decided to colonise Asante by all means. The Governor wrote many letters to the King on the matter but Nana Prempeh I did not yield to his suggestions because his request were always accompanied by threats . According to Kimble , in one of the letters the Government promised to pay the King six hundred pounds sterling (600) per annum. He also promised to pay the Chiefs of Mampong, Kokofu, Bekwai, Dwaben, and the Queen-mother a total of one thousand four hundred pounds sterling (1400) , if they agreed to come under the British ,but if they refused , he will enstool Atwereboana , the rival contestant .


This luring and threatening behaviour of the British made the King and the state become confused . The Kingdom had already decided on friendship with the British. That was why the Governor was invited to be present at NanaPrempeh,s enstoolment . However , it was not duty of the British Government to appoint a King for them . Because of the threats , the King appointed an eight – man delegation to go and see the Queen of Britain and have a frank discussion with her on what was happening in the Gold Coast, especially in the Asante Kingdom. According to Claridge, the delegation was made up of the following people: John Ansa, Albert Ansa, Nana Kwame Boaten, Nana Kwaku Fokuo, (a linguist),Kwaku Nkroma, Kwabena Bonna, Agyapon Daban and Kwadwo Tufour .


The Governor persuaded them to stop the journey and discuss everything with him , because he requested the crown in the Gold Coast . They did not agree to the Governor,s suggestion and left for England, because of the many threats in the Governor,s letters to the King. They wanted to hear from the Queen but not her nominee. They were in fact prepared to throw much light on their customs to the Queen of England to bring about peace among them. The Governor told them point blank that the Queen of England would not welcome them but they took it as one of the threats. They did not know that the King had been described as cruel King who took delight in human sacrifice therefore they would not be welcomed. They still insisted on going to see the Queen of England. They therefore boarded a ship for England. When they arrived, they made all possible efforts to get audience with the Queen , but they were refused . They remained in England for six months trying to see the Queen but all efforts were in vain. The Governor at the time, Mr Brandford  Griffith was transferred and Mr William Maxwell  was posted to replace him.                          The new Governor was asked to send the following message to Nana Prempeh I.

1.       That he should allow a British resident representative in Kumase.

2.       That he should open his trade routes to all and allow free trade in Asante district.

3.       That he should stop human sacrifice.

4.       That he should honour the Fomena Treaty by paying the Government an amount of one hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds sterling (175,000) which was equivalent of fifty thousand ounces of gold stated in the treaty.

5.      That he (The Asantehene) should allow any state in his Kingdom , which wished to secede and come under the British , do so without intimidation . Such a state would be welcome by the British Government.

The new Governor wrote a letter containing the message as stated to Nana Prempeh (Asantehene) and gave him a few days to reply. It was eight days after the deadline that Nana Prempeh I replied that he had received the letter but since he had sent messengers to Britain to see the Queen of England, he could not give full reply to the points raised until they returned . When the letter was received by the Governor , he decided to use force on the Asante Kingdom to bring it under the British Flag.

The messengers to Britain returned to the Gold Coast in December 1895 without seeing the Queen of England. When they reached the shores of Accra, that saw the preparations being made by the Governor for an expedition to Kumase. Fearing the consequence, they went to meet the Governor and agreed that a British representative was welcome in Kumase and they wanted to lead the representative to Kumase. They also agreed on all the terms contained in the Governor,s letter and asked him to rescind his decision of sending troops to Kumase. The Governor did not give in to their plea but asked that he needed the King Nana Prempeh I himself but not his representative, therefore he would come to Kumase with the troops and if the King (Nana Prempeh ) was not happy with their coming , he should meet him at Praso and make a new treaty with him. He should also pay all the expenses incurred on the soldiers. Since the Governor did not agree to their request , they left immediately to report to the King and the Asanteman(the Asante state) . Asanteman , on hearing the news waited for the Governor,s arrival.


According to Claridge,the King (Nana Prempeh) and hid Chiefs decide to fight the British again and while waiting , he dressed two of his children and sent them as hostages to the Governor at Praso. His motive was to present them to the Governor so that he and his troops would not cross into the Asnate territory, but return. However, the Governor , knowing that the Asnantes did not inherit paternally , refused the offer . The King ( Nana Prempeh) sent again his linguist , Nana Fokuo and Nana Boaten to plea with the Governor to return since he had accepted all the terms in the letter . The Governor again refused their plea and continued with his men . The governor and his troops crossed River Pra on 11th January 1896. They were met by the chief of Bekwai, Nana Yaw Boaten, and the chief of Abodom , who made a treaty with him and accepted to become British subjects. According to Claridge, after the treaty , they received flags from the Governor and hoisted one at Bekwai in the chief,s palace . The chief of Adanse , Nana Kwaku Nkansa,had also accepted the British protection earlier on 18th of October 1895.

When the news reached to the King that some chiefs had joined the camp of the Governor,King Nana Prempeh and the remaining chiefs decided to accept the British Flag. They therefore waited for the arrival of the Governor so that they might proclaim to the Asante Kingdom that they had accepted the British Flag and they needed the Governor,s representative in Kumase. When the King (Nana Prempeh) heard that the soldiers would reach Kumase  on the 17th of January, he summoned his chiefs to a great durbar to welcome the Governor. The King and his elders reached the the durbar grounds at 9:00 O,clock in the morning to wait for the Governor,s arrival . They waited till 5:00 O,clock in the evening before they got to know the news that the Governor was arriving on 18th January . The soldiers who arrived in Kumase on 17th January, consisted of 1,322 whites and 1,800 blacks, made up of Hausas, Fantes,and men from Adanse and Bekwai.


When the Governor reached Kumase on the 18th January , he was told that the King (Nana Prempeh) and his men were at the durbar grounds waiting for him . He therefore sent message to the King that he is tired and they should retire to their homes and mount the durbar on the 20th of January.   The and his elders had decided that they were meeting the Governor to proclaim to him that they had accepted to come under the British Rule so that he in turn might introduce the resident representative for Asante . Little did they know about the motive of the Governorand why he had come with that number of troops.


Another durbar was mounted for the Governor on the appointed day . The King and his chiefs reached the durbar grounds early in the morning. To their astonishment they saw soldiers all over the place . The soldiers started separating the chiefs from their supporting men . Only the chiefs and few of their elders were allowed to go to the chiefs stand . This made the King (Nana Prempeh) and his chiefs sense danger. After a while the Governor also arrived at the durbar grounds and exchange greetings followed . Then followed the actual message he brought. This message was that he came to invite the King (Nana Prempeh) and his subjects to accept the British rule in his country. Secondly, he stated that the King and his subjects had not kept the terms of the treaty of Fomena,therefore they had come to urge them to keep their promise by paying the 50,000 ounces of gold as stated in the treaty.  After the message, the King (Nana Prempeh) and his chiefs became baffled as they never dreamt that the Governor was coming to retrieve debts. In this state, John Ansa, leader of the Asante delegation to London,went to the King and whispered something to him.


A few minutes later the King and the Queen mother got up and went to the Governor bowling down before him and touching his shoes. They returned to their seats and the King made statements that from that day onwards,he and his subjects had accepted the British rule.  On the payment of 50,000 ounce of gold, the King(Nana Prempeh)stated that he would pay it but had no funds at that particular moment, but he would pay six hundred ounces (600 oz) of gold, which was the equivalent of two thousand pounds sterling (€2000). The Governor did not accept the amount. He insisted that if the King(Nana Prempeh) had managed to raise money to send a delegation to England, he should be in the position too pay. When the Governor waited for a while and the money was not paid, he ordered the arrest of the King(Nana Prempeh) and the Queen mother ,the King,s father,his brother, two heirs to the throne,two linguists,the King,s interpreter, the chiefs of Bantama, Asafo, Mampong, Offinso, Edweso , and some of the King,s wives and servants.

Records from the archives indicate that the people arrested and deported included the following:

1.     Nana Akwasi Agyemang Prempeh                                     King of Asante .
2.     Nana Yaa Akyaa                                                                 The King,s mother and Queen mother of Asante .
3.     Nana Appea  Osokye                                                          Chief of Mampong .
4.     Nana Kwadwo  Kwahu (  alias Kwadwo Appia )           –  Chief of Offinso .
5.     Nana Kofi Afrane ( alias Kofi Mensa )                           –  Chief of Edweso .
6.     Nana Kwame Amankwaatia II                                      –    Chief of Bantama ( war chief – Kontihene).
7.     Nana Asafo Boakye                                           –               Chief of Asafo  ( war chief 2  and Akwamuhene ).
8.     Nana Kofi Subri                                                                  Akyempemhene.
9.     Nana Kwabena  Agyekum                                                  Oyokohene.
10.   Nana Kwasi  Gyambibi                                                       The King,s father .
11.   Nana Agyemang Badu                                                        The king,s brother and chief of Adum.
12.   Nana Akwasi  Akuoko                                                        Head   Linguist of the King
13.   Nana Boakye Ntansa                                                          Chief of royal bodyguards ( Akonfrahene )
14.   Mr Francis Korsah                                                              Interpreter to the King
15.   Barema Yaw  Konkroma.
16.   Kwaku Fokuo                                                                     The king,s linguist
17.   Nana Kwaku Wusu                                                             The King,s linguist
18.   Kwame Kusi.
19.   Abena Kordie                                                                      The King,s wife
20.   Amma Kwahan                                                                    The King,s wife
21.   Kwasi Boakye                                                                     The king,s son
22.   Kwame Yeboah                     The Kings, attendant
23.   Kwabena  Dabre                   The King,s attendant
24.   Kwame  Asante                     The King,s cook
25.   Maame Mansa                       The Queen mother,s attendant
26.   Maame Daaho                       The Queen mother,s attendant
27.   Yaa Boatemaa                        Mamponghene,s wife ( chief of Mampong)
28.    Kwaku Fokuo                       Mamponghene,s servant (chief of Mampong)
29.    Kwame Ware.                       Mamponghene,s son ( chief of Mampong)
30.    Akua Akyaamaa                   Bantamahene,s wife
31.    Yaa Asokwa                           Bantamahene,s wife
32.    Abrakatu                                Bantamahene,s servant
33.    Daakowaa                              Asafohene,s wife (chief of Asafo,s wife)
34.    Nipade Yennow                    Asafohene,s wife (chief of Asafo,s wife)
35.    Ama Anowuo                        Asafohene,s wife (chief of Asafo,s wife)
36.    Kofi Mensa                            Asafohene,s servant
37.    Dwaben Amma Serwaa       Subri,s wife
38.    Kwaku Dua                            Subri,s servant
39.    Kwame Baafi                         Subri,s son
40.    Kwaku Boaten                       Boakye Ntansa,s servant
41.    Yaa Kordie                              Boaten,s wife
42.    Yaa Yennow                           Agyeman Badu,s wife
43.     Kwame Adu                          Agyemang Badu,s servant
44.     Kwabena Akroma                Agyemang Badu,s servant( Terchirehene)
45.     Amma Serwaa                      FoKuo,s wife
46.     Kwasi Agyapon                    The King,s half brother
47.     Kwame Oti                            Servant
48.     Kwame Awua                       Servant
49.     Maame Amma Dapaa
50.     Akosua Akyem                      From Mfensi
51.     Akranyame                             From  Offinso
52.     Maame Akua Afriyie
53.     Adokuaa
54.     Akua Agyeiwaa                      Offinsohene,s wife (chief of Offinso,s wife)
55.     Nana Kwame Boaten            Dominasehene ( chief of Dominase)

After the arrest they were sent to Cape Coast Castle. They were again moved to the Elmina Castle. From there they were deported, first to Sierra Leone on 1st of January 1897 then later to Seychelles Island. This action was taken because the British feared that the Asante’s might manoeuvre to kidnap their King. According to Claridge, when Nana Prempeh ( the King) was arrested, three chiefs, Kwaku Nantwi, Nana Opoku Mensa (Obuabasa) and Kwame Afrifa were asked to administer Kumase state. Separate treaties were made with the states. They were made to come under the chief commissioner direct as independent states.


The states were Bekwai, Agona, Offinso, Edweso, Nsuta, Mampong, Kumawu, Bompata, Kokofu, Adanse and Dwaben. The chief of each state was to institute his own court and try cases. Those found guilty were to be punished according to the traditional laws. However, no chief had power to institute capital punishment expect the Government. The resident commissioner appointed to administer Asante Region was Major Piggot.


Source: Ashantibiz


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