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Asante-Fanti Wars

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The Akan people known as the Fanti and Ashanti are very close culturally and linguistically. They existed as rivals on the Guinea Coast of west Afrika for hundreds, possibly thousand of years. The rivalry between them grew much more serious in the nineteenth century, as the europeans arrived and began implementing divide and conquer tactics to escalate tensions. The British were usually allies of the Fante, and the Dutch of the Asante.

At the beginning of 1806 the Asantehene charged some people with robbing graves. The Fante promptly gave refuge to the accused, who were people from Assin, and Asantehene Osei Bonsu (reigned circa 1801-1824) sent an army against the Fante. At Abora, four miles from Cape Coast, a battle was fought, in which the Asante were victorious. A british agent (representing the African Company of Merchants) at Cape Coast sheltered the accused grave robbers, whilst the Asante went on to attack the fort at Kormantine (Fort Amsterdam) of their old allies the dutch. The british then tried to make friends with the Asante, and Colonel Torrane, who was in charge at Cape Coast, handed an old and blind Assin king called Kwadwo Otibu to the Asantehene, although he knew the old man would be killed; which he was.

A verbal agreement was now made between the british and the Asante that the latter should be recognized as the rulers of the Fante, except where a british fort existed. Shamelessly, Torrane sold or gave away 2,000 of his former Fante allies, and the Asante victoriously marched first east along the coast and then north back to their capital. The Asante thus extended their dominions to the coast.

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