THE UNION OF THE ASANTE
Before 1600 AD, groups of farmers moved north from the area of Adansi about 80 km in search of better farmland, and in order to participate in the flourishing gold trade. They moved near Lake Bosumtwi, cleared farms, and gradually took the lead over their neighbours, with whom they shared a common language (Twi), eventually founding a town called Asantemanso. They began to trade in gold with peoples from the north, as well as coastal peoples, and as more people from Adansi joined them, they grew stronger, and called themselves the Asante (Davidson, 1998).
At this time, they were ruled by the Denkyira, to whom they paid taxes and tribute. They had rivals to the north-west, the Domaa. In order to combat these two problems, they began, in about 1650, to work together. At this point, they were merely an alliance of small states working together against the Denkyira and the Domaa. But in order to become independent, they formed a formal union in 1695, under the leadership of Osei Tutu.
The focal point of the Asante people became the Golden Stool, which was decreed to hold their collective strength and spirit, and to symbolize their coming wealth and power. Osei Tutu decreed the laws for the Asante, including laws of common citizenship. He decreed that the Asante were now one people with a common history, and it was forbidden to speak of separate histories.