The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 12, No. 2 Fall 1985
Kwame Afosa UNIVERSITY OF MAIDUGURI, NIGERIA
FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION OF ANCIENT ASHANTI EMPIRE
Abstract: Ashanti was an empire which flourished in the forest region of present-day Ghana in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Ashanti was a monarchy with a bureaucracy financed through taxes. The sys-tem of tax collection was one of apportionment among the levels of the social strata that were required to bear the tax burden.
Accounting controls over funds which finally reached the coffers of the monarch involved boxes. The operations and uses of Adaka Kesie (the Big Box) and Apim Adaka (the Box of Thousand) could be likened to a current account and a petty cash account respectively.
Ghana evolved through amalgamation of three separate units — the Colony, the Ashanti Region, and the Northern Territories, known as the Gold Coast.
Prior to British colonisation of the Gold Coast it was inhabited by various tribes, and civilisation flourished in the forest and savannah regions. States like Ashanti, Akwamu, Denkyira, Akim, Kwahu, Fanti (known collectively as Akans) developed in the forest region, and Mossi and Tallensi in the savannah region.
Each of these ethnic groups developed a monarchical and civilised form of government, with the modern facets of adminis-tration, completely independent of any European influence. What is relevant with respect to the government of these nation-states is their finance, and more specifically their taxation — the raising of revenue to carry on the numerous activities of government. They never developed a complex system of taxation by modern standards; however, they established systems that served their needs.
This paper concentrates on the sources of revenue available to Ashantis because, first, it was representative of the Akans and secondly, it was the most advanced system of government in the