National Geographic : 1900 Jun
THE REVOLT OF THE ASHANTIS DURING the last week of April the Ashantis in great force surrounded Kumassi and fiercely attacked the fort. Though they were beaten off with severe loss, they renewed the attack several times during May, and a general state of insurrection now prevails in the country. Until 1894 Ashanti was a powerful confederation of tribes, which successfully withstood subjugation at the hands of the English from the Gold Coast Colony, though their capital was conquered and the kingdom much reduced in 1874. In 1895, when the confederation became weakened by the secession of a num ber of tribes, a permanent English garrison was stationed in Kumassi, and the kingdom came in fact within the English sphere of influence. Kumassi is about three miles in circumference, of an oval shape, and surrounded by an un healthy swamp. The population probably does not exceed 20,000, of whom not more than 25 are Europeans. It is stated that the garrison of the fort, numbering 358, included only 18 Europeans, the rest being native allies, prin cipally, from the Fanti tribes along the coast and Mohammedan Hausas, who have immigrated from the Niger districts of the interior. AsHANTr. \ Nser FRENCH In Revolt) Territores. /. <9 ^ ~ KUMASSI. LAGOS. Reinforcements are on the way from Sierra Leone and Lagos, but from the coast they have to march 180 miles, for the most part through a wilderness of swamp and virgin forest, before reaching Kumassi. The population of the Gold Coast Colony (this does not include the tribes of the Ashanti confedera tion) is estimated at about 1,500,000, and is friendly to British rule. They could not, however, render the English much effectual assistance against a determined revolt of the Ashanti tribes, as they are of a mild and inoffensive disposition. No estimate of the numbers of the Ashantis in rebellion can be formed, but the statement that they muster some 50,000 warriors is not improbable, and most of them are armed with old-fashioned percussion-cap guns. Ashanti is famous for its gold and goldsmiths, and for skill in the weaving of cotton. The climate has the reputation of being the most deadly in the world for foreigners of every nationality.