Peoples & Societies
The Asante Kingdom
A subgroup of the Akan peoples, the Asante are Twi-speaking matrilineal peoples primarily located in south-central Ghana. From the founding of the Asante kingdom at the start of the 18th century, the Asante constituted the most numerous and prominent of the Akan. Vast quantities of gold and bedazzling royal regalia established the kingdom’s reputation.
The foundation of Asante wealth began in the 14th century, when Akan peoples began trading gold with North African Muslims. This commercial and cultural network expanded to the European coast by the late 15th century. Through the gold trade, and eventually, the Atlantic slave trade, the Kingdom of Asante prospered.
The young kingdom fought to control its trade routes, but after two major military defeats, it became a British Crown Colony in 1901. In 1924 the British restored the Asante confederacy, and in 1999 Osei Tutu II was installed as their 16th Asantehene (king).
- Roslyn Walker, The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana, Label text, 2018.
University of Iowa Museum of Art, Art & Life in Africa
Learn more about the Asante peoples.
Learn more about the Asante kingdom and slave trade.
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
Read an essay about art of the Asante Kingdom.
Read an overview of the peoples and cultures in Africa.