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(äshän`tē) or


(äsän`tē), historic and modern administrative region, central Ghana, W Africa. The region is the source of much of Ghana's cocoa. It is inhabited by the Ashanti, a matrilineal Akan people who constitute one of Ghana's major ethnic groups. Before the 13th cent., Akan peoples migrated into the forest belt of present-day Ghana and established small states in the hilly country in the neighborhood of modern Kumasi. By the late 17th cent. the states had been welded by the Oyoko clan into the Ashanti confederation, with the capital at Kumasi and the Oyoko chieftain as king. After subduing neighboring states the confederation came into conflict with British settlements on the coast, although treaties of friendship were negotiated (1817, 1820). A series of Anglo-Ashanti wars in the 19th cent. ended with the defeat of the confederation (1896) and its annexation (1901) to the Gold Coast colony. The British exiled King Prempeh I to the Seychelles and, in spite of great resistance, broke up the confederation. It was restored in 1935. In 1945 the Ashanti were given representation in the executive and legislative councils of the Gold Coast. They supported an unsuccessful attempt to give Ghana a federal constitution in 1954 and resisted the centralizing measures of the Nkrumah government. The Ashanti king remains influential in S Ghana. The Ashanti are noted for the quality of their gold work and their colorful kente cloth, and are famous for the gold-encrusted stool that is the symbol of the kingship.


See R. A. Lystad, The Ashanti (1958, repr. 1968); R. Battray, Ashanti (1923, repr. 1971).



Federation of the Ashanti, an early feudal-type state that flourished on the territory of the Gold Coast (now Ghana) from the late 17th century to the 19th century. The state was formed in 1697–1701. Agriculture and household industries played a large part in the economy of Ashanti (pottery, woodcarving, weaving, metalworking, etc.). The slave trade and gold trade were practiced. The supreme chief (asantehene) stood at the head of the state, with his residence in the town of Kumasi, and local chiefs (omanhene) headed the various districts. In 1896, Great Britain seized Ashanti in the course of the seventh Anglo-Ashanti war and concluded a treaty with various tribes establishing a protectorate. The Ashanti government then ceased to exist. After the 1900 Ashanti uprising against the British colonial rule was put down, Britain incorporated the territory of Ashanti into the Gold Coast colony in 1901. In 1935 the British formally restored the Ashanti state, but power in the country actually remained in the hands of the British governor of the Gold Coast. After the formation of the independent state of Ghana, the territory of Ashanti obtained the status of a region under the 1957 constitution.


Potekhin, I. I. “O feodalizme u ashanti.” Sovetskaia etnologiia, 1960, no. 6.
Potekhin, I. I. Stanovlenie novoi Gany. Moscow, 1965.



The Ashanti, also known as the Akans, are a people who live in the central region of Ghana. As with other African societies, for the Ashanti dreams hold the status of superior realities, and, it has been suggested, for some individual Ashantis dreams have as much if not more reality than waking experiences. R.S. Rattray, for example, has reported if a husband learns that another has dreamed of sexual intercourse with his wife, he will sue the dreamer for adultery because their souls are believed to have had sexual intercourse.

In an ethnopsychiatric study of the Ashanti, M.J. Field focuses on the distinction frequently made between “free” or spontaneous dreams and stereotypical dreams that is, those dreams individuals have repeatedly. Field describes how certain common elements of dream narratives indicate what they represent. For instance, in a dream the theme of being chased—whether by a deity, an animal, or even a weapon—indicates an individual who is afraid of retribution for a sin.


an administrative region of central Ghana: former native kingdom, suppressed by the British in 1900 after four wars. Capital: Kumasi. Pop.: 3 187 607 (2000). Area: 24 390 sq. km (9417 sq. miles)
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