Decorating servicemen and women with honours have long been a tradition of colonial and post-colonial regimes.
These specially made medallions are usually embossed with seals, images, and dates to depict the very occasion for which they are given to the brave men and women who earn the right to be so decorated. With these honours, their names are etched in history.
In the Ashanti empire, during the colonial and slavery era, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom honoured some soldiers who took part in the Fourth Anglo-Ashanti Wars.
An image of the medal, which has since surfaced online, was shared by the @Ashanti_Kingdom on Twitter.
It shows a British royal crown embossed in the middle, with the word ‘ASHANTI’ boldly inscribed around it, along with the date ‘1896,’ showing the period during which the war ended.
“This is the medal the British Queen, Victoria gave to the soldiers who took part in the Fourth Anglo-Asante Wars. Little did Victoria know that she was fighting against an 18-year-old King, Otumfuo Prempeh I. Anokwa,” the post read on Twitter.
According to blackpast.org, the Fourth Anglo-Ashanti Wars was part of five conflicts that occurred between the Ashanti Empire and the British Empire.
The conflict ultimately resulted in the Ashanti Empire being incorporated into the British Gold Coast Colony (now Ghana).
The first of the five wars began when the Ashanti claimed territory dispute with the Fante, who were a client state of Great Britain.
Sir Charles MacCarthy, the then British governor of the Fante region, had rejected the Ashantis’ claims and led a British army of 2,500 against the 10,000-man Ashanti army.
Meanwhile, before the start of the Fourth Anglo-Ashanti Wars, Queen Victoria had no knowledge that the was going to be fighting against an 18-year-old Asantehene Agyeman Prempeh I.
Prempeh I was later exiled in Seychelles for 24 years following his surrender of the kingdom in 1896, in his bid to protect the Ashanti sovereignty.
See the rare image below: