The Ashanti (also spelled Asante) Empire (1701–1957) was an Akan empire and kingdom in what is now often called the Ashanti Region. The Ashanti Empire expanded from Ashanti to include the Brong-Ahafo, Central region, Eastern region, Greater Accra region, and Western region, of present-day Ghana. Ashanti people used military power due to effective strategy and early firearm adoption to create an empire that stretched from central Ghana to the present-day Ivory Coast. Due to the empire’s military prowess, wealth, architecture, sophisticated hierarchy and culture, the Ashanti empire was extensively studied and has more historiographies by European, primarily British, authors than almost any other indigenous culture of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Starting in the late 17th century, the Ashanti king Osei Tutu (c. 1695 – 1717) and his advisor Okomfo Anokye, established the Ashanti Kingdom, with the Golden Stool of Asante as a sole unifying symbol. Osei Tutu oversaw a massive Ashanti territorial expansion, building up the army by introducing new organization and turning a disciplined royal and paramilitary army into an effective fighting machine. In 1701, the Ashanti army conquered Denkyira, giving the Ashanti access to the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean coastal trade with Europeans, notably the Dutch.
The Ashanti Kingdom is the home to Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana’s only natural lake. The state’s current economic revenue is derived mainly from trading in gold bars, cocoa, kola nuts and agriculture; forest has also been cleared to plant cassava, maize and yams.
Today the Ashanti monarchy continues as a constitutionally protected, sub-nation state and traditional state within Ghana. The current king of the Ashanti Kingdom is Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Asantehene.