Guide to the British Parliamentary Papers on the Ashantee Invasion, 1873-1877
The Ashantee (also spelled Ashanti) Invasion of Britain's Gold Coast protectorates began in December 1872. British forces responded with their own expedition and invasion of the Ashantee nation in January 1874, resulting in the Battle of Amoaful and the destruction of Kumasi. Materials in this collection consist of bound volumes and printings of reports, dispatches, and correspondence sent to Parliament during the Ashantee (also spelled Ashanti) invasion and the subsequent British expedition into Ashantee lands. Includes initial reports pre-dating the invasion, compilations of correspondence from the commanding officers leading the British forces, transcriptions of communications from the Ashantee king, negotiations regarding the Ashantee surrender, and reports from the Treasury about the cost of the expedition, both monetarily and in terms of British casualties.
- Collection Number
- British Parliamentary papers on the Ashantee Invasion
- Great Britain. Parliament
- 0.6 Linear Feet, 20 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
Materials in this collection consist of bound paperback volumes and compilations of reports, dispatches, and correspondence sent to Parliament during the Ashantee (also spelled Ashanti) invasion and the subsequent British expedition and retaliation. Items include initial reports from Gold Coast officials pre-dating the invasion, coverage of the Elmina battle, compilations of correspondence from the commanding officers leading the British forces, transcriptions of communications from the Ashantee king, negotiations regarding the Ashantee surrender, and reports from the Treasury about the cost of the expedition, both monetarily and in terms of British and allied casualties.
The majority of the materials are copies of dispatches and reports, but the volumes also include occasional maps detailing the terrain and layout of cities and villages; tables and spreadsheets calculating casualties and expenses; and other miscellaneous notes and asides. Volumes have been organized in loose chronological order.
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Collection is open for research.
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How to Cite
[Identification of item], British Parliamentary Papers on the Ashantee Invasion, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Years of tension on Africa's Gold Coast between Britain's protectorate states and the Ashantee (also spelled Ashanti) nation erupted with the launch of an Ashantee march towards Cape Coast Castle (in modern-day Ghana), beginning on 9 December 1872. By February 1873, the Ashantee had reached neighboring Fantee lands. Subsequent battles in March and April left the Fantee army defeated, and the invaders settled at Dunkwa with a force of 30,000 to 40,000 people.
Throughout the early months of the invasion, the British had maintained their strict policy of non-intervention, leaving the Fantee people to defend themselves. This strategy changed with the battle of Elmina on 13 June 1873, when the British bombardment of the town (which was harboring Ashantee sympathizers) was interrupted by an assault of about 3000 Ashantee. The attack on the British led the Colonial Office to send an expedition to the Gold Coast.
British forces, led by General Garnet Wolseley, sailed from Liverpool in September 1873 with a dual mission: clear Ashantee invaders from the protectorate, and make a new treaty with the Ashantee nation. By the time they arrived, however, the Ashantee invaders had already retreated due to starvation and disease. Wolseley pressed the Ashantee king, Kofi Karikari, for impossible terms; when these were turned down, he launched an invasion of the Ashantee nation, culminating in the Battle of Amoaful on 31 January 1874. British forces fired the town of Kumasi on 4 February 1874, and began their return march to Cape Coast Castle. The Ashantee nation was in such disarray that no one was able to sign the treaty. An embassy from the Ashantee king eventually met Wolseley at Cape Coast to officially surrender on 13 March 1874.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Ashanti (Kingdom)
- Cape Coast (Ghana)
- Great Britain. Parliament
- Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons
- Great Britain. Parliament. House of Lords
- Great Britain. Colonial Office
- Wolseley, Garnet Wolseley, Viscount, 1833-1913
The British Parliamentary Papers on the Ashantee Invasion were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2009-2010.
Processed by Meghan Lyon, March 2010
Encoded by Meghan Lyon, March 2010
Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2009-0286, 2010-0034, 2010-0073
Materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.