The Ashanti Golden Stool was seen as a unifying instrument which brought together the various groups within the Ashanti nation in the 17th century. It was widely believed, that the Ashanti Golden Stool embodies the soul, strength, vitality, unity and even the very survival of the people of the Ashanti Empire.
Legend has it that the Ashanti stool came out of a dispute between the King Ntim Gyakari and a group of Ashanti people led by Osei Tutu. Tutu’s people were supposed to send tribute to King Gyakari in the form of gold dust but this proved to be a very difficult undertaking as Tutu’s people were undergoing harsh economic times. As a form of protest they sent to Gyakari bags containing stones. This was interpreted by Gyakari as an act of rebellion and so war developed between the two groups.
In a bid to quell the dispute Okomfo Anokye, a famous chief priest, advised Osei Tutu that in order to ensure the prosperity of the Ashanti Empire all the small units needed to become united under one King. He indicated that Tutu would be that King and that he should call a meeting of all the Ashanti chiefs to discuss the matter. Okomfo Anokye promised Tutu that he would ensure that he would have strong military support and success if he followed his advice.
Meetings were held in the Ashanti settlements of Kumasi, such as Juaben, Nsuta, Bekwai, Mampong, Kokofu and Esumej, on a Friday. At these meetings the chiefs and people were told that their supreme god Nyame had instructed them to all unite under one King. During one of the meetings Okomfo Anokye invoked the name of Nyame. The story is told that the sky became dark and there were peals of thunder and lightning. A golden stool appeared and landed in the lap of Osei Tutu. The stool was named “Sika Dwa Kofi”, which means Golden Stool Born on a Friday.
The high priest blessed the sacred stool and dedicated it to Osei Tutu and to all the other Ashanti Kings in the future. The stool was declared to be symbol of the new Ashanti union in unity and spirit.
The people were asked to respect the stool as a sacred symbol of the protection and the growth of prosperity among the Ashanti nation. With togetherness the Ashanti fought against their enemies defeating them and controlling the Gold trade along the Gold Coast in West Africa.
Boahen, Adu. Topics in West African History. (2nd ed.), Edinburgh: Longman Group
Crowder, Michael. West Africa: An Introduction to its History. London: Longman Group
Flynn, J. Asante and Its neighbours 1700-1807. London: Longman Group Ltd. 1971.