Ashanti, or Asante, are an Akan people who live predominantly in Ghana and Ivory Coast. They speak Twi, an Akan dialect. Prior to European colonization, the Ashanti people developed a large and influential empire in West Africa. The Ashanti later developed the powerful Ashanti Confederacy or Asanteman and became the dominant presence in the region.
Today Ashanti number close to 7 million people (roughly 19% of the Ghanaian population, speaking Asante, also referred to as Twi, a member of the Niger–Congo language family.) Their political power has fluctuated since Ghana’s independence, but they remain largely influential. The former president of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor is Ashanti. Kofi Annan, the past U.N secretary General was also raised and brought up in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region. The majority of the Ashanti reside in the Ashanti Region, one of the administrative regions of the country. Kumasi, the capital of the current Ashanti region, has also been the historic capital of the Ashanti Kingdom. Currently, the Ashanti region of Ghana has a population of 3,812,950, making it Ghana’s most populous administrative district.
The Ashanti strongly resisted attempts by Europeans, mainly the British, to subjugate them. The Ashanti aligned themselves with the Dutch to limit British influence in the region. Britain annexed neighbouring areas. The Ashanti were described as a fierce organized people whose king “can bring 200,000 men into the field and whose warriors are evidently not cowed by Snider rifles and 7-pounder guns”
Ashanti was one of the few African states able to offer serious resistance to European colonizers. Between 1823 and 1896, Britain fought four wars against the Ashanti kings (the Anglo-Ashanti Wars). In 1900, the British finally defeated the kingdom and incorporated it into the Gold Coast colony as a protectorate.
Text adapted from Wikipedia’s article on the Ashanti people