The Asante are the largest group within the Akan nation and it is their empire that consolidated the many Akan states of the 18th and 19th century under one political entity. At its height, the Asante Empire included more than just the Akan nations and its territories extended beyond the present borders of Ghana.
The Asante did not just reign supreme in West Africa, some of them were forcibly removed to the Americas where they led some of the biggest and most successful military campaigns against the excesses of western capitalism.
The books below are written by some of the world’s most distinguished historians who all happen to we Akan/Ga stock, including the great Asantehene himself, Prempeh I. Their works span the nineteenth to the twenty-first century showing the depth of scholarship within Akan society.
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Edited By Edmund Abaka, Kwame Osei Kwarteng
By employing a thematic approach, The Asante World explores several dimensions of Asante history including state formation, and Asante-Ahafo and Bassari-Dagomba relations in the context of Asante expansion. It examines the role of Islam which, although extremely intense for just a short time, had important ramifications on the history of the Asante. Together the essays excavate key aspects of Asante political economy and culture. In addition, the volume follows the Asante into the diaspora, exploring the Asante origins of Jamaican maroons. Featuring innovative and insightful contributions from leading historians of the Asante world, this volume is essential reading for anyone serious about exploring Asante political and intellectual history.
By Carl Christian Reindorf.
Carl Christian Reindorf was a Ghanaian and his seminal history of his people established him as one of the pioneers of modern West African historiography. The book is a patriotic response to the challenges of Reindorf’s times and has remained a source of inspiration for later generations of African historians as a passionate and compassionate telling of Asante history. Published in 1895 the work is a labour of love expertly stitched together from hundreds of oral histories collected by the author over several decades. As such, it reads like a great epic, taking the reader on a chaotic ride of conquest, expansion, dispersion and contraction, from the origins of the great Asanteman to the fall of the empire at the end of the nineteenth century.
- Related Lecture: Golden Stools and Kente Cloth – The Making of Asante Kings
Kwasi Konadu and Clifford Campbell
Covering 500 years of Ghana’s history, The Ghana Reader provides a multitude of historical, political, and cultural perspectives on this iconic African nation. Whether discussing the history of the Asante kingdom and the Gold Coast’s importance to world commerce, Ghana’s brief period under foreign rule, or the emergence of its modern democracy, the volume’s eighty selections emphasise Ghana’s enormous symbolic and pragmatic value to global relations. With sources including historical documents, poems, treaties, articles, and fiction, The Ghana Reader conveys the multiple and intersecting histories of Ghana’s development as a nation, its key contribution to the formation of the African diaspora, and its increasingly important role in the economy and politics of the twenty-first century.
By Otumfuo, Nana Agyeman Prempeh I
This is a key text for understanding the history of the Asante. It is also an early – and perhaps the earliest – example of history writing in English by an African ruler. It was begun in 1907 on the instructions of the Asantehene Agyeman Prempeh I. The chief source of information was his mother the Asantehemaa Yaa Kyaa, who possessed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the oral history of the royal dynasty of Asante. The result is an indispensably detailed document that charts the history of the Asante monarchy from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. Context is provided by the inclusion of other writings by or about Agyeman Prempeh, together with four introductory essays by the world’s leading scholars of Asante history.
Related Lecture: Moral and Political Philosophy of Early Asante Kings
This is a collection of key essays about the Akan people, their history, and their culture. Considering both the continental and diasporic history of the Akan, this volume features a new array of primary sources that provide fresh and nuanced perspectives. This collection is the first of its kind providing fresh perspective on how the Akan have interacted with regional and world powers eventually emerging as pioneers of both tradition and modernity. A must for all students of Ghanaian and West African history.
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