CHAPTER VII
BRITISH ASHANTI AND FANTE TILL 1816

OPOKU WARE was the grandson of Osei Tutu's sister, and had been named by Osei Tutu himself as his successor. He began his reign amid great difficulties. The Ashanti army had retired hurriedly after the disaster of Osei Tutu's death; and it is not surprising that Denkyera, Sefwi and Akwapim rose to help the Akim to crush the upstart Ashanti power for good and all. Opoku Ware, however, triumphed. In two campaigns he defeated the Akim, killing three paramount chiefs and capturing the Notes for the three forts at Accra. During one of the Akim campaigns the Sefwi made a sudden attack on Ashanti; they sacked Kumasi, killing Opoku Ware's own mother, and rifling the royal graves for gold. Opoku Ware hurried back from Akim and sent a force to follow up the victorious Sefwi as they were retiring. The commander of this expedition was Amankwa Tia the chief of Bantama, the first of several chiefs of that name to distinguish himself as an Ashanti general. Amankwa Tia caught the Sefwi army before it could recross the Tano river, completely defeated it, and killed the Sefwihene Ebirim Moro. The Sefwi territory between the Tano and the Bia was annexed to Ashanti and became known as Ahafo, the hunting preserve of the Asantehene.1

Having secured his position in this way, Opoku Ware took the offensive; in alliance with the Brong state of Nkoranza he attacked and subdued Tekyiman, and pushed beyond it to defeat the Gyaman people, whose chief Abo Kofi2 had made himself a golden stool in imitation of the Stool of Ashanti.

Opoku Ware died in 1742, and was succeeded by his uncle, Kwasi Obodum, "the chief that never killed a man if he could help

____________________
1
The boundary between the modern administrative districts of Sunyani and Ahafo Goaso perpetuates the memory of this annexation. The Ahafo Goaso of today represents the conquered territory, which was thoroughly devastated by Amankwa Tia, and has remained thinly populated until the present day. Claridge ( I, 213) puts this Sefwi war later, in Osei Kojo's time. I prefer Fuller's chronology which is supported by Bekwai and Kokofu tradition. Bekwai says that Ebirim Moro was a woman chief.
2
Usually called in Ashanti Abo Kobina; but Gyaman tradition, recorded by Tauxier (Le Noir de Bondougou) calls him Abo Kofi.

-137-

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