The Golden Stool is a sacred symbol of the Ashanti nation believed to possess the sunsum (soul) of the Ashanti people. According to legend, the Golden Stool -- sika 'dwa in the Akan language of the Ashanti -- descended from heaven in a cloud of white dust and landed in the lap of the first Ashanti king, Osei Tutu, in the late 1600s. The king's priest, Okomfo Anokye, proclaimed that henceforth the strength and unity of the Ashanti people depended upon the safety of the Golden Stool.

Drawing upon the Akan tradition of a stool indicating clan leadership, the Golden Stool became the symbol of the united Asante people and legitimized the rule of its possessor. To defend the stool in 1900, the Ashanti battled the British in the so-called Yaa Asantewa War. The Ashanti chose to let the British exile the Ashanti's last sovereign king, Prempeh I, rather than surrender the stool. Today the Golden Stool is housed in the Asante royal palace in Kumasi, Ghana.

The Golden Stool