This is the definitive and standard account of the Ashanti campaign by the future hero of the siege of Mafeking and founder of the Scouting movement, Major-General Robert Baden-Powell.. B-P commanded a unit of Native Levies during the Fourth Ashanti War in 1895-96. The conflict was caused by Britain’s desire to keep its French and German colonial rivals out of the gold- and rubber-rich west African Ashanti kingdom. The Ashanti king, Prempeh, ordered his people not to resist the invasion by a mixed British and West Indian force, augmented by B-P’s native tribesmen, but losses due to disease were high. Eighteen soldiers died, and 50% of the expedition fell sick. After taking the Ashanti capital Kumasi King Prempeh was unable to pay the ‘fine’ of 50,000 ounces of gold demanded by the British, so he was disposed, and, along with other Ashanti leaders, sent into exile in the Seychelles. B-P’s book is both an account of the almost bloodless campaign, and an apologia for its aims. He claims the British put an end to the Ashanti custom of human sacrifice; stopped the slave trade and raids on neighbouring tribes; and ensured peace and good order. Among the casualties of the campaign was Queen Victoria’s son-in-law, Prince Henry of Battenberg, who died on board the ship returning him to England. The book is well illustrated, and includes B-P’s own highly competent sketches.
DOWNFALL OF PREMPEH A Diary of Life with the Native Levy in Ashanti, 1895-1896
A fascinating and definitive account of the fourth Ashanti ‘war’ in 1895-96 written and illustrated by the future hero of Mafeking and founder of the Scout movement, Maj-Gen. Robert Baden-Powell. The conflict was a rapacious British colonial expedition to take control of the gold-and rubber-rich west African Ashanti kingdom. Though bloodless, eighteen soldiers died of disease and 50% fell sick.