The Golden Stool of the Asante
The Golden Stool of the Asante contains the soul or sunsum of the nation. It is considered to be so sacred that no one is allowed to sit on it. It is kept under the strictest security; it is taken outside only on exceptional occasions and never comes into contact with earth or the ground.
The Asante have always defended the Golden Stool when it was at risk.
1896: The Asante allowed their King, Prempeh I, to be deported rather than risk losing a war and the Golden Stool in the process.
1900: The Governor of the Gold Coast, Sir Frederick Hodgson, demanded to sit on the stool. The Asante remained silent and when the assembly ended, they went home and prepared for war. Although they were finally conquered by the British, the Asante claimed victory because they fought only to preserve the Golden Stool, and they had.
1920: A group of African road builders accidentally found the Golden Stool and stripped it of its gold ornaments. They were tried according to traditional custom and the death penalty was imposed. But the British intervened and the sentence was commuted to perpetual banishment.
Golden Stool: Studies of the Asante Center and Perophery , Enid Schildkrout, Carol Gelber (Editor). American Museum of Natural History, 1987.
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