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Saturday, 4 March 2006

Yaa Asantewaa

Yaa Asantewaa (c. 1840-1921) was appointed Queen Mother of Edweso, a state in the Asante union in Ghana, by her brother, Nana Akwasi Afrane Okpese.During her brother's reign, Yaa Asantewwa saw the Ashanti Kingdom fall into a terrible spell. King Nana Akwasi Afrane Okpese wanted to expand the Ashanti Confederacy into an empire as great as that of Ghana Empire and the Europeans. Thus war was declared on the Fante and Ga, and new alliances were formed with the Dutch and then with the British, which resulted in the loss of the Dutch alliance. To obtain firearms, the King sold his own people as slaves; he also used slaves to build his palace. Many died under his reign. Upset and distressed by her brother's deeds, Yaa Asantewwa rebelled. Yaa Asantewwa's rebellion was a major blow to her brother's plans, because she had the support of the people of Edweso, as well as the Fante people situated in near and around Kumasi. When her brother died in about 1894, Yaa Asantewaa used her prerogative as Queen Mother to nominate her own grandson as King of Edweso. When her grandson was sent into exile in 1896, Yaa Asantewwa became regent. After the British deported the King of the Asante, she became leader in the war of resistance in 1900, supported by some male leaders.Eyewitness accounts from Edweso indicate that Yaa Asantewaa herself did not physically take up arms to fight. Rather, she was a tactician, strategist, and inspirational leader. She visited the soldiers in the battlefield to ascertain how they were faring. She also gave directions and advice and supplied gunpowder. Eventually, Queen Yaa Asantewaa was captured, but by whom remains a mystery, as does her ultimate fate. Some say she was sent to the Seychelles islands off Africa's east coast, and others say she was turned over to the King and secretly killed, which was the fate of most chiefs who became prisoners of war.Yaa Asantewaa remains a much-loved figure in Asante history for the courage she showed in confronting injustice and the colonialism of the British.Retrieved from "

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