Ghana. The Gold Coast. A land rich in resources and ripe with opportunity for a foreign power capable and willing to exploit the native politics and relationships of the region. In the continuation of The Anglo-Ashanti Wars, the Ashanti would butt heads with the British ten years following the Second Anglo-Ashanti War.
WOLSELEY FORTIFIES THE BRITISH GOLD COAST
In the summer of 1873, General Garnet Wolseley was assigned to oversee the building of a road into Ashanti territory. The troops for his territory wouldn’t arrive until January 1874. During the fall, the Royal Engineers arrived and he led them in establishing fortifications within distance of their base at Cape Coast. The goal was a road leading to Kumasi.
These fortifications included well-stocked camps and bridges extending across the Pra River, the border between the British-held Gold Coast and Ashanti territory.
Development was stalled since Wolseley used locals to do the labor and they wouldn’t hang around if there was minor scuttlebutt that Ashanti war parties were nearby. His troops eventually arrived in December 1873 and January 1874. Unlike the first two wars, this force had large numbers of specialist soldiers: Royal Artillery, Royal Marines, the Naval Brigade, Fante troops, and more.
These troops eased the tensions of laborers and by the end of January, the road was halfway complete. The development of the road brought the British dangerously close to the Ashanti’s fortifications igniting the war.
THE THIRD WAR
During the Battle of Amoaful occurred January 31, 1874, and pitted the forces of General Garnet Wolseley against Chief Amanquatia. Only Wolseley’s force size was documented at around 2,500. His Rifle Brigade forming around the village and the Black Watch rushing forward.
At least one British account states that Chief Amanquatia’s tactics gave Wolseley a challenge before he fell in battle. A few days later on February 4, the British forces burned the capital of Kumasi which had been abandoned.
The third of the Anglo-Ashanti Wars finished in July when the Ashanti king, Kofi Karikari signed the Treaty of Fomena. The conditions stated that human sacrifice was to end and the British protectorate and Kumasi could trade. It was up to Kofi Karikari and the Ashanti to keep the road safe and clear.
They were also ordered to pay 50,000 ounces of gold as a result of the loses the Crown suffered. The fourth and fifth conflicts in the Anglo-Ashanti War would be the results of slights to British power.