On this Day in 1924, Asantehene Prempeh I Returned to the Gold Coast after staying in exile in the Seychelles for 24 years following his surrender of his kingdom and his arrest 1896.
Asantehene Prempeh I, born in 1870 was the 13th King ruler of the Asante state of the Asante Kingdom and the Asante Oyoko Abohyen Dynasty. He was born as Prince Kwaku Dua III of the Kingdom of Ashanti, and he took the name of Prempeh I upon ascension on the throne at the young age of 18.
Asantehene Prempeh I began an active campaign of the Ashanti sovereignty. The British offered to take the Kingdom of Asante under their protection, but Asantehene Prempeh I of the Kingdom of Ashanti refused each request.
He stated, “My Kingdom of Asante will never commit itself to any such policy of protection; Asanti people and the Kingdom of Asanti must remain an independent sovereign state as of old, and at the same time be friends with all white men “.
The British Governor demanded reparations (fines of 50,000 ounces of gold levied on the Asantahene, the Ashanti emperor, by the Treaty of Fomena) agreed by Otumfuo Nana Kofi Karikari in the third Anglo-Ashanti War which occurred from 1873 to 1874 which the Asantes lost to the British for the first time.
Asantehene Prempeh I sent a delegation to London to negotiate the demands with Queen Victoria of which the delegates included the Asante military Commander.
The British decided to capture and annex the entire Empire. The war started on the pretext of failure to pay the reparations. Colonel Sir Francis Scott left Cape Coast along with the British and Indian Troops in December 1895 and arrived in Kumasi in January 1896. Major Robert Baden-Powell led an army of African allies who had opposed Ashanti rule.
Asantehene Prempeh I agreed to a capture and exile both to prevent an unprepared war and to protect the Golden Stool.
Prempeh I, the Queen Mother, and other important members of the Asante elite were taken prisoner and marched to the coast. On arrival they were kept for a year at Elmina Castle but were eventually exiled firstly to Sierra Leone and then later to the Seychelles Islands.
He arrived in Seychelles aboard the SS Dwarka on Tuesday 11th September of 1900; accompanied by 52 other prisoners, among them were his mother, his father, his brother and his three wives.
Asantehene Prempeh I stayed in exile in the Seychelles for 24 years before the the British allowed him to return to Kumasi as a private citizen.
On the 13th of September of 1924, Prempeh and 49 others left Seychelles aboard SS Karoa for Bombay. The oldest among them was the ex-chief, James Asafu Boachie. He was 96 years old. The youngest was a three months old baby girl, daughter Rose Amah Apia, daughter of Kojo Apia (1831-1911) ex-chief of Kumasi.
Among them, on 13 were original deportees. On the 22nd of September 1924 they left Bombay and travelled to Liverpool. The party left Liverpool on 29th October 1924. On Tuesday 11th November 1924 except James Prempeh, a son of the ex-king and his Seychellois wife, Marie-Francoise Auguste remained in Seychelles.
They had seven children. In 1941, one of their daughters, Suzy Mary married Andre King, the son of Billy King (1857-1934), one of the liberated Africans who was brought to Seychelles by the Royal Navy in the 1860’s. The couple had a son and a daughter…who themselves had many children.
In 1926 he was officially recognized as the chief of Kumasi (Kumasihene).