The Ashanti, or Asante, are a major ethnic group in modern Ghana.
The Ashanti speak Twi, an Akan language similar to Fante. For the Ashanti (Asante) Confederacy, see Asanteman.
Prior to European colonization, the Ashanti people developed a large and influential empire in West Africa. The Ashanti later created the powerful Ashanti Confederacy and became the dominant presence in the region.
The Ashanti, Adansi, Akyem, Assin, and Denkyira peoples of Ghana, like the Baoulé of Côte d’Ivoire, are subgroups of the West African Akan nation which is said to have migrated from the vicinity of the north-western Niger River after the fall of the Ghana Empire in the 13th century. Evidence of this is seen in royal courts of the Akan kings reflected by that of the Ashanti kings whose processions and ceremonies show remnants of ancient Ghana ceremonies. Ethnolinguists have substantiated the migration by tracing word usage and speech patterns along West Africa.
Thus, although the Ghana Empire was geographically different from present-day Ghana, some of its people, specifically the Akan, moved to what is today Ghana, hence the historicity of the name. In fact, the North African Almoravid dynasty gold coin was renowned throughout the medieval world as being made of the purest of golds, since West African gold was 92 percent pure at the time it was mined, higher than old Egyptian gold ore, which started at 85 percent, a figure which was later refined to 95 percent. Evidence of early Ashanti connections to the Islamic world is the Ashanti word for money – “sikka” – the same as the Arabic word for minting money.