THE ROLE OF GOLDSMITHS
One of the prime driving forces behind the growth of the Asante kingdom was the gold trade. In addition to controlling the production, the Asante also aimed to control the smiths who worked it (Ayensu, 1997). As the Asante defeated their rivals, they seized their smiths, transported them to Kumase, and made them work for the Asantehene. The fall of the Denkyira in 1701, and the defeat of the Tekyiman in 1720 both brought large numbers of goldsmiths into Kumase (Ayensu, 1997).
Goldsmiths were also required to keep the economy moving. Strict laws governed who could own gold, and in what forms. All nuggets found belonged to the chief, although their finders would be compensated in gold dust. The lower class could only own gold dust, and it was the sole currency. According to Bonnat (1876), there were over 100 men employed strictly for the purpose of creating the gold dust to be used as currency-this they did by crushing nuggets, mixing them with sand and red earth, heating them to the melting point, and flinging the mixture into cold water and red clay. They also had to produce the brass weights which were used as standard weights and measures in each village.