Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa of West Africa's Ashanti Empire

Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa
of the Ejisu Clan of the Asante (b. 1863 - d. October 1923)

Yaa Asantewaa was named Queen Mother of the Ejisuhene (part of the Asante or Ashanti Confederacy) by her exiled brother Nana Akwasi Afrane Okpese. Prior to European colonization, the Ashanti people developed an influential West African empire. Asantewaa was the Gatekeeper of the "Golden Stool" (Sika 'dwa) during this powerful Ashanti Confederacy (Asanteman), an independent federation of Asanti tribal families that ruled from 1701 to 1896.

The Flag of The Republic of Ghana
containing image of the Golden Stool

The story of Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa is a story of the modern history of the nation of Ghana, Africa. In 1896, Asantehene (King) Prempeh I of the Asanteman federation was captured and exiled to the Seychelles islands by the British who had come to call the area the British "Gold Coast." Asantewaa's brother was said to be among the men exiled with Prempeh I, deported because of his opposition to British rule in West Africa.

In 1900, British colonial governor Frederick Hodgson called a meeting in the city of Kumasi of the Ashantehene local rulers. At the meeting, Hodgson stated that King Prempeh I would continue to suffer an exile from his native land and that the Ashanti people were to surrender to the British their historical, ancestral Golden Stool - a dynastic symbol of the Ashanti empire. In fact, power was transferred to each Asantahene by a ceremonial crowning that involved the sacred Golden Stool. The colonial governor demanded that it be surrendered to allow Hodgson to sit on the Sika 'dwa as a symbol of British power.

The Sika 'dwa or Golden Stool

At this time, Yaa Asantewaa was the Gatekeeper of the Golden Stool. After this meetings, the Ashantehenes of the federation gathered to discuss the British development. Upon hearing some of the Ashantehenes entertain surrender to the British demands, it is reported that the Queen Mother Yaa Asantewaa rose and said the following:
"Now I have seen that some of you fear to go forward to fight for our King.
If it were in the brave days of Osei Tutu, Okomfo Anokye, and Opoku Ware, leaders would not sit down to see their King taken away without firing a shot.
No white man could have dared to speak to a leader of the Ashanti in the way the Governor spoke to you this morning.

Is it true that the bravery of the Ashanti is no more? I cannot believe it. It cannot be!
I must say this, if you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields."
-- Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewa 
Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa (picture of unknown date)

The Ashanti-British "War of the Golden Stool" was led by Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa with an army of 5,000. While Yaa Asantewaa was captured by the British and deported, her bravery stirred a kingdom-wide movement for the return of Prempeh I and for independence.

Early map of West Africa  (cir. 1625 map of pre-Asanti/Akan federated state)

Ashanti Empire (Asante Empire) during the 19th Century

Today, Ashanti is an administrative region in central Ghana where most of the inhabitants are Ashanti people who speak Twi, an Akan language group, similar to Fante. In 1935 the Golden Stool was used in the ceremony to crown Osei Tutu Agyeman Prempeh II (ruled 1935-1970). Independence from the British colonialist was secured in 1957. On August 3, 2000, a museum was dedicated to Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa at Kwaso in the Ejisu-Juaben District of Ghana.


  1. Thank you for doing this for our generations to come! I never knew about the golden stool!

  2. I am going to learn as much as possisble to bring a rise to the power of the black woman because we are the target now and that is not exceptable.

  3. Is a high time an institution be named after the legendary Yaa Asantewa

    1. There is a community centre in Notting HIll, London named after her.

  4. i love how black women inspire me

  5. I love Black history month it inspires me to do great things

  6. I too commit to learning more to bring rise to the Power of Black women. "Silencing the Black woman is like shutting up the heavens."
    ""Let's open up the heavens!""

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. In South Africa lately, University of Western Cape students demanded the renaming of the university' administrative building to Queen Asantewaa. This is great.

  9. Queen Mother Ashantewaa nd Queen Nzingha of Angola are huge African legendary Ancestors.

  10. Nice and concise, however one of the names of the brave men mentioned in the quote is OPOKU WARE and not Opolu Ware.

  11. Excellent stuff,im gonna bring this to the screen to let Africa to know about our hidden sheroes.

  12. Great blog. Can I please use your images of Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewa for my blog. I'm reviewing a piece of text writtern about her and I would like to have picture with it so people remember her

  13. Very proud of our forebears. They were very selfless and patriotic and always ready to sacrifice unto their deaths for the collective good of their respective communities and Kingdoms.
    Great History of Great African Peoples. The plunderers now deemed Africans a menace in their lands and treating them like rubbish because our present crop of selfish leaders could not behave like their predecessors of old.

  14. We don't know about female scientists, sportists, warriors. Only some queen of Europe.

  15. Replies
    1. yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. This piece is very beneficial and of a great important to our generation to come. Obaa Yaa as I used to call her was a brave woman indeed and we cannot compare women of our days to her. May her braveness and courageous heart @nd soul rest in perfect peace.

  17. she was good i wactch her before in ckass

  18. The location of the Golden Stool should be decorated...befitting the importance the history of the people of Ghana.

  19. Thank you for this thorough and clear summary of the Queen's history. And this the 1st time I've see her strong and uplifting words pledging to protect their history and culture against these European invaders who dared to express their intention to subjugate Ghana.



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