Osei tutu I.

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Osei Tutu I , actually Otumfoe Osei Nana Kofi Tutu I , (* 16 ??; † 1717 ) was the founder of the Ashanti Kingdom in what is now Ghana .

As the successor to his maternal uncle, Obiri Yeboah , Osei Tutu first became Kumasihene , i.e. ruler of the city of Kumasi , and in 1695 the first Asantehene , i.e. ruler of the Ashanti .

Life story and legends up to the coronation

According to the legend, Osei Tutu's mother remained childless for a long time until she became pregnant with the help of an Akwamu priest , named Tutu Alban. As a thank you, the son Osei Kofi also received the name Tutu.

As a youth, Osei Kofi Tutu was sent to the court of the King of the Denkyra , to whom the Ashanti were tributary as vassals at the time. There he fell in love with a sister of the king, made her pregnant and had to flee to the Akwamu in the southwest of what is now Ghana. Here he befriended a priest named Okomfo Anokye , who would stay with him for life as a friend, advisor and spiritual supporter. Both returned to Kumasi, and as Kumasihene, Osei Tutu began to expand his empire to the surrounding Ashanti city-states using firearms acquired from Europeans.

Coronation to the Asantehene and cooperation with Okomfo Anokye

In 1695 (1701 according to other sources) Osei Tutu was crowned Asantehene. The aforementioned Okomfo Anokye played a central role in this. Okomfo Anokye claimed to have received the order from Nyame , the high god of the Akan, to turn the Ashanti into a powerful people. To get the word out, Osei Tutu called a meeting at which Okomfo Anokye called down from heaven a wooden chair partially covered with gold, who then sat down on Osei Tutu's knees. Okomfo Anokye proclaimed that this chair "Asikadwa" contained the spirit or soul of the whole Ashanti people. This founding myth played a central and in its effect very real role in the preservation of the unity of the Ashanti in the future and to this day.

War on the Denkyra

Osei Tutu carried out an effective military reform, the basics of which he probably had copied from the Akwamu. 1699–1701 he waged war against the previously overpowering Denkyra and defeated them. The most significant booty in this war was the lease contract originally signed by the Dutch with the Kommenda for the Elmina fort . Just as the Denkyra had captured the rights to trade with the European owners of this fort from the Kommenda, the rights were now with the Ashanti. This gave them direct access to trade with the Europeans, including firearms. Osei Tutu subjugated large parts of the kingdom of the Denkyra and waged a bloody war against their most powerful allies, the Akim , without being able to subjugate them definitively. According to the oral tradition of the Ashanti, he succeeded in subjugating the Akim in a second war from 1719 and he did not die until 1731. However, recent research indicates that he died around 1717 and the second war against the Akim was waged by his successor.

Osei Kofi Tutu I. had laid the militarily and, in association with Okomfo Anokye, also spiritually, the foundations for the 200-year-old empire of the Ashanti.


  • Basil Davidson : A History of West Africa. 1000 - 1800. New revised edition, 2nd impression. Longman, London 1977, ISBN 0-582-60340-4 ( The Growth of African Civilization ).

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