Frederick Mitchell Hodgson

Frederick Mitchell Hodgson (1851-1926) was a British colonial administrator who served as the Governor of the British Gold Coast (now Ghana) from 1900 to 1904. He is primarily known for his role in the Ashanti conflict, particularly the events leading up to the Ashanti War of 1900 (also known as the Yaa Asantewaa War).

During his tenure as Governor, Hodgson implemented policies that were seen as disrespectful and provocative by the Ashanti people. In 1900, he demanded the Golden Stool, the sacred symbol of the Ashanti kingdom, to be brought before him as a sign of submission. This act caused outrage and led to the Ashanti people uniting in resistance against British colonial rule.

The Ashanti War of 1900 ensued, with the Ashanti forces led by Yaa Asantewaa, a prominent Ashanti queen mother and leader. The war resulted in the defeat of the Ashanti forces and the exile of their king, Prempeh I. The Golden Stool was hidden and kept out of British hands during this period.

Hodgson’s actions and the subsequent conflict further intensified the resistance against British rule in the Gold Coast, and it ultimately contributed to the growing nationalistic sentiments that eventually led to Ghana’s independence in 1957. Hodgson’s governorship and his involvement in the Ashanti conflict remain significant aspects of Ghana’s colonial history.

How did Sir Frederick Hodgson’s demands trigger the Yaa Asantewaa War?

Unbeknownst to the senior British officer in the Gold Coast, the Golden Stool of the Ashanti people was such a sacred object that no one was allowed to sit on it – not even the king of the Asante people. The Golden Stool is seen by the Ashantis as an object that holds the soul of the kingdom.

Not only did Sir Frederick Hodgson demand that the Golden Stool be brought to him, the senior British official wanted to sit on the stool. His actions completely enraged the Asante people, who picked up arms and went to war to prevent British colonial rule.