hidden figures: yaa asantewaa, the ashanti empire’s warrior queen

February 7, 2017
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Yaa Asantewaa is a badass woman. Not only did she help run the Ashanti empire as its Queen mother, she also helped protect it from ruin. During her brother’s reign, Yaa Asantewaa saw the Asante Confederacy go through a series of events that threatened its future, including civil war from 1883 to 1888. In the decade after, the British deported Prempeh I and demanded the Golden Stool, the symbol of the Asante nation. This request led to a secret meeting of the remaining members of the Asante government at Kumasi, to discuss how to secure the return of their king, and in 1900, she led the Ashanti rebellion known as the War of the Golden Stool or the Yaa Asantewaa war, against British colonialism. During the course of this, Queen Yaa Asantewaa and 15 of her closest advisers were captured, and they too were sent into exile to the Seychelles. Three years after her death, on 27 December 1924, Prempeh I and the other remaining members of the exiled Asante court were allowed to return to Asante. Prempeh I made sure that the remains of Yaa Asantewaa and the other exiled Asantes were returned for a proper royal burial. Because of her contributions to the Asante people and the empire, she’s immortalized in legend and song. Let’s celebrate the Queen mother this Black History month for the impact she had on what became the beautiful country of Ghana and for the warrior queen inside all of us.

By T. McLendon, AFROPUNK Contributor