Saturday 9 December 2023


Ya Asantewa I (born 17 October 1840 – 17 October 1921) was the Queen Mother of Ejisu in the Ashanti Empire, now part of modern Ghana. She was appointed by her brother Nana Akwasi Okesi Oven, Edwesohene, or ruler of Edweso. In 1900, she led the Ashanti War, also known as the War of the Golden Seat, or the Ya Asantewaa War of Independence, against the British Empire.

The Queen Mother

Oh Asantewa Aye warrior

Birth name: Nana Ya Asantewa Bornek.1840
Bisi, Ashanti Empire, died 17 October 1921 (age 80-81 years)
Seychelles Loyalty Ashanti Empire Asantewa War Golden Seat Children One

The Biography:

Yaa Asantewaa was born in 1840 in Besis, the daughter of Kwaku Amboma and Atta Bou. Her brother, Afrane Banin, became the chief of the neighboring community of Edweso. After an accident-free childhood, she farmed crops on the land around Poincra. She had a polygamous marriage with a man from Kumasi, with whom she had a daughter.

She died in exile in the Seychelles in 1921. She was a successful farmer and mother. She was an intellectual, politician, human rights activist, queen and warlord. Ya Asantewa was famous for her leadership of the Ashanti kings in the War of the Golden Seat, against British colonial rule, to defend and protect the sovereign independence of the Golden Seat.

Introduction to rebellion:

During her brother's reign, Ya Asantewaa saw the Ashanti Confederation go through a series of events that threatened its future, including the civil war from 1883 to 1888. When her brother died in 1894, Ya Asantewaa used her right as queen mother to nominate her grandson as Ijesohene. When the British exiled him to the Seychelles in 1896, along with Asante King Prempeh I and other members of the Asante government, Ya Asantewa became regent of Ejiso-Juaben Province. After Prempeh I was exiled, the British Governor-General of the Gold Coast, Frederick Hodgson, demanded the golden stool, a symbol of the Ashanti nation. This request led to a secret meeting of the remaining members of the Ashanti government in Kumasi, to discuss how to secure the return of their king. There was disagreement among those present about how to do this. Ya Asantewa, who was present at this meeting, stood up and addressed the members of the Council with these words:

How can a proud and brave people like the Ashanti sit and watch while the white men take away their king and chiefs, and humiliate them by demanding the golden stool. A golden seat means money only for whites; They searched and dug everywhere. I will not pay a single blood money to the ruler. If you, the Ashanti chiefs, are going to act like cowards and not fight, then you should exchange your apron for my underwear (Montu mo danta mma me na monnye me tam).

To dramatize her determination to go to war, Yaa Asantewa grabbed a pistol and fired a shot in front of the men.

Yaa Asantewaa was chosen by a number of Asante regional kings to be the war chief of the Asante fighting force. This is the first and only example of women being given this role in Ashanti history. The British-Ashanti Golden Seat War – also known as the "Ya Asantewa War" – was led by the Queen Mother, Nana Ya Asantewaa.

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