The Ashantee Medal was sanctioned on 1st June, 1874 and awarded to personnel of British, Colonial and allied native forces deployed against the army of the Ashanti King Koffee Kalkalli, which was threatening the British Gold Coast Protectorate during the Third Anglo-Ashanti War.
The Ashanti Confederacy was a major opponent of the British expansion in Western Africa during the 19th century. A 30 year peace was agreed in 1831 to prevent repeated border disputes and minor infractions across the Pra River. By 1872 matters deteriorated when the port of Elmina was handed over from the Dutch West India Company to the British Coastal Colony. King Kaofi Kalkali of the Ashanti, who had previously controlled the port of Elminia, made things difficult for the new British rulers. In 1873 General Sir Garnet Wolseley, with a large force in 1874 invaded Confederacy territory, although they were forced to withdraw, African reinforcement’s for the British convinced King Kaofi to surrender. After this the British territory along the coast was expanded and formalised as the Gold Coast colony.
It should be noted that the capital is spelt Coomassie on the bar to this medal and Kumassi on that for the 1900 campaign.
Materials: The majority of the British medals and clasps are made of solid silver, though some were issue in bronze versions, mainly to Indian non-combatants. The majority of the British campaign awards are circular, usually 36mm in diameter.
Ribbons: Medals are worn suspended from their own specific ribbons. These were first made of silk but cotton was increasingly used as the nineteenth century developed. Their own colours often have a symbolic significance: the equal stripes of the ‘1939 to 1945 Star,’ for example, are dark blue to represent the service of the Royal and Merchant Navies, red, to represent that of the Armies and light blue to represent that of Air Forces.
Ribbon width can vary slightly though it is generally 32mm wide.
Ribbon – 32mm wide, yellow with black borders and two thin black stripes down the centre.
Type – Campaign Medal.
Eligibility – British, Colonial and native forces.
Awarded for – Campaign Service.
Campaign – Third Anglo-Ashanti War.
Established – 1st June 1874.
Suspender – Straight.
Designer – Obverse: L. C. Wyon Reverse: Sir Edward J. Poynter, R.A.
Naming – In indented Roman capital with the date 1873-4. The lettering is filled in black.
Clasps – one issued.
Description – The obverse of this medal is the diademed head of Queen Victoria, wearing a veil, and the inscription “VICTORIA REGINA.” The reverse is a scene of bush fighting around a tree between British and Ashanti men which was inspired by the fighting in the campaign.
Clasps are usually referred to as ‘bars’. They are single-faced metal bars carried on a ribbon attached to the medal, indicating the recipient’s service in a particular campaign or battle. The clasps carry side flanges to enable them to be attached to the medal and riveted to each other, so that new ones can be attached as earned. Usually the first earned Clasp is closest to the medal, so that the latest earned should be at the top, although they can be found in the wrong order.
Awarded to those present at Amoaful and the capture of the capital, or those protecting the lines communication north of the Prah river.
Major LL Gordon, 'British Battles & Medals
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