Asantewa, Yaa

ca. 1832–1921
Asante queen

Yaa Asantewa was queen of the ASANTE town of Edweso, located in present-day GHANA. In 1900 she led a three-month siege against British troops in the Asante capital of Kumasi. The British had seized Kumasi four years earlier in an attempt to extend their control of the country, then known as the Gold Coast. They forced a group of Asante chiefs and elders, including Asantewa’s grandson, to leave their land.

During this conflict, the Asante hid the Golden Stool, the sacred symbol of Asante kingship. When British governor Sir Frederick Hodgson arrived in Kumasi in 1900, he demanded payment from the Asante as well as surrender of the Golden Stool. These demands led to an uprising and siege by Asantewa and leaders of the surrounding Asante towns. The British eventually broke the siege and exiled Asantewa to the SEYCHELLES, where she died 21 years later. (See also Colonialism in Africa.)

Asantewa, Yaa