ASHANTEE

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ASHANTEE ; a warlike nation of Negroes, on and near the Gold Coast of Guinea, in the vicinity of the British settlement, Cape Coast castle, at Sierra Leone, with which we have become acquainted by Bowdich's Mission to Ashantee (London, 1819), and Jos. Dupuis' Journal of a Residence in Ashantee (London, 1824), as well as by their bloody war with the English, in 1824, in which the governor of the abovementioned British colony, general McCarthy, lost his life. The kingdom of the Ashantees was founded, about 100 years ago, by a successful conqueror, with a kind of feudal constitution. It extends from 6° to 9° N. lat., and from 0° to 4° W. Ion. to the river Volta. The residence of the king is Coomassie. The law permits him to have 3333 wives, a mystical number, on which the welfare of the nation rests. His servants, above 100 in number, are slaughtered on his tomb, that he may arrive in the infernal regions with a suite becoming his rank. Several Negro states, under their own princes, are dependent on him. Ashantee itself (14,000 square miles, with 1,000,000 inhabitants) forms a part of Wangara, which contains two other states, Dahomy and the powerful Benin, whose king can lead 200,000 men to war. The fertile Benin is more advanced in civilization than Ashantee. The latter, however, display much taste and elegance in their architecture ; they also dye with skill, and manufacture cloths of exquisite fineness and brilliancy of color.