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date: 06 May 2021

Nana Yaa Asantewalocked

  • Lynda DayLynda DayAfricana Studies, Brooklyn College

Summary

Yaa Asantewa, the female ruler of Ejisu, a town near the Asante capital of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of modern-day Ghana, inspired and led an armed resistance to British colonial rule of the Asante Kingdom from April 1900 until March 1901. The only female Asante ruler known to have commanded a national army, she assumed the mantle of responsibility to preserve the Asante kingdom when no male ruler would step forward. Under her leadership, Asante fighting forces developed the innovative technique of building stockades to block all the major roads and paths leading in and out of the kingdom, won numerous battles against British forces, and trapped the British Governor of the Gold Coast in the British fort in the Asante capital for nearly three months. Judged to be about sixty years old at the time she organized the war against British imperial forces, the elderly queen mother is credited with safeguarding the Golden Stool, the symbol of Asante unity, and fostering pride in the Asante nation. She is an international symbol of dynamic female leadership in a bloody struggle against colonial rule.

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