Ashanti War, Second (1873–1874)
PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: The Ashanti Union vs. Great
PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Gold Coast of Africa and southern
DECLARATION: No formal declaration
MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: After a decade of raiding
the British Gold Coast, the Ashanti invaded when the
British continued to expand their empire in the region.
OUTCOME: The Ashanti were defeated, their capital was
burned, and they were forced to pay a huge indemnity in
return for British withdrawal from their homelands.
APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS:
Ashanti: 60,000; Britain and native auxilliaries, 3,587
CASUALTIES: Ashanti, more than 3,000 killed; Anglo-
African forces, 75 killed or died of disease
TREATIES: Treaty of Fomena, 1874
In January 1873 some 60,000 Ashanti warriors suddenly
invaded the Gold Coast, suzerainty over which the Ashanti
had renounced in 1831 after the First ASHANTI WAR. The
invaders attacked a British coastal fortress at Elmina in
October but were repulsed with the loss of about 1,000 warriors.
Sir Garnet Wolseley (1833–1913), the British commander
in the region, mounted a counteroffensive with
2,587 British troops and 1,000 African auxiliaries. He
invaded Ashanti territory, forcing a battle at Amoafo on January
31, 1874. A mere 1,500 British and 700 African troops
defeated 10,000 Ashanti there. Wolseley’s losses were minimal—
18 killed (another 55 succumbed to disease) and 394
wounded—whereas more than 1,000 Ashanti died or were
wounded. King Kofi Kakari (r. 1867–74) agreed to the
Treaty of Fomena in 1874, ending the war. In 1896 the
Ashanti kingdom was annexed by the British.
See also ASHANTI, RISE OF THE; ASHANTI UPRISING;
ASHANTI WAR, THIRD; ASHANTI WAR, FOURTH.
Further reading: H. Brackenbury, Ashanti War, 1874
(London: Frank Cass, 2001); Joseph Emmanuel Condua-
Harley, Sagrenti War: An Illustrated History of the Ashanti
Campaign, 1873–1874 (Privately printed, 1974); Robert B.
Edgerton, The Fall of the Asante Empire: The Hundred-Year
War for Africa’s Gold Coast (New York: Free Press, 1995);
Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage,