The value of the gold stolen by the British army from the Asante Kingdom could be worth more than £2 billion, British Professor Tom McCaskie, a professor of Asante history at the Centre of West Africa History, University of Birmingham, UK, has revealed.
He revealed this at a special launch of a book on the History of Asanteman, authored by Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II, the 14th occupant of the golden stool in 1939, during a symposium to commemorate 150 years of British invasion and brutality on the Asante kingdom, held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) on Tuesday.
The book launch and symposium formed part of activities marking the silver jubilee celebrations of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the 16th occupant of the Golden Stool.
The Sagrenti War, which was fought in 1874 between soldiers of the British colonialists under the command of Sir Garnet Wolseley and the Asantes, saw the burning of the palace of the then king of the Asante kingdom, Kofi Karikari, and the looting of many priceless objects, regalia, gold ornaments and other artefacts from the palace.
The symposium was attended by Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, traditional leaders, religious leaders, members of the academia and historians, among others.
Professor Thomas McCaskie, who traced the history of the war, said that 150 years ago, the British forces entered Kumasi when the king was absent, looted the palace of priceless regalia and set it ablaze.
Prof. McCaskie used the occasion to urge Ashanti leaders to continue to pursue further the restoration and repatriation of all the looted treasures of the Asante Kingdom.
The event also saw the Chairman of the Council of State and Juabenhene, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, and former Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah, deliver their remarks for the occasion.
Launching the book, the Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, said the book would bridge the gap in Ashanti history and also serve as research material on Asante history.
The book, scripted in 1949 and edited by Prof. Tom McCaskie, is an autobiography of the 14th Asantehene, who reigned from 1931 to 1970.
Before the book launch, the Kumasi Centre for National Culture staged a play to depict the Sagrenti War.
Some of the looted booties from the war have been returned from an American museum, while others from the British museum are expected to arrive in the Manhyia palace on Thursday, February 8, 2024.
The returned artefacts would be presented to the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu, during the ‘Kuntunkuni’ durbar of chiefs and people of Asanteman at the Manhyia palace on Thursday, February 8, 2024, to mark the 150th anniversary of the Sagrenti War.