In the Caribbean, he is known as William Kofi Nti, the son of a wealthy West African king who came to Trinidad in the 1880s to leave a mark on the region and prove his existence. His real name is Nana Kofi Ntim, and he is the son of (Asantehene) King Karikari, the tenth king of the great Ashanti Kingdom in present-day Ghana, which fought the British for more than 400 years before succumbing to British domination.
Between 28 May 1867 and his forced abdication on 26 October 1874, King Karikari ruled the Asante Kingdom as the son of Afia Kobi. Nana Kwaku Dua I, whose real name was Barima Fredua Agyeman, was his grandfather.
He resumed the war with the British to safeguard his country and the conflict with weaker nations to extend the Ashanti Kingdom during his reign as king.
The Ashanti’s conflict with the British became more complicated when several other tribes on the Gold Coast sought shelter from the British and joined them in fighting. In March 1874, King Karikari signed the Treaty of Fomena with the British, ending the Sagrenti War of 1873-1874, which resulted in the pillage of the Ashanti palace and the burning of Kumasi. The war was named6 after Sir Garnet Wolseley, the British Army Commander at the time.
The 1874 Treaty of Fomena, signed by King Karikari, ordered the Ashanti to pay 50,000-ounce gold compensation, relinquish British claims to Elmina, and evacuate their soldiers off the coast to allow a trade to continue. In exchange, the British were expected to free all Ashantis they held captive.
While the British, who now had complete authority over Elmina, enabled the Ashanti to dominate trade, King Karikari negotiated the education of two royal sons in England. This was agreed upon, and Kofi Ntim, the King’s son, and another royal were transported to England.
Prince Kofi Ntim is the only one of the two royals who survived the trip to England; regrettably, his royal relative died in England a few months after arriving and starting education as promised by the King. To ensure that they kept their half of the bargain, Prince Kofi Ntim was sent to the Caribbean, where he would have a better chance of surviving due to the climate’s similarity to that of Africa.
According to Sir Francis Fuller’s publications, Prince Kofi Ntim was christened in the United Kingdom and given the English name William. He was then schooled in both England and Trinidad before being appointed to a position in Trinidad, where he worked closely with the army and governor.
He was placed in the care of Mr. James Henry Collins, the headmaster of the Boys Model School, Tranquility, Port of Spain, upon his arrival in Trinidad.
He is most known for designing and supervising the construction of a Victorian-style edifice on the hills west of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, in 1883, which served as a port and army signal station. The British gave Kofi Ntim the commission to design the signal station that replaced parts of Fort George, and he was inspired by designs from home in Africa and Britain.
He embossed his letters W.K.N on the signal station when it was completed, but they have since been obliterated owing to rehabilitation.
In 1886, he departed Trinidad for Sierra Leone, stopping in Barbados, where he was lavishly welcomed and feted by the West African community, many of whom were witnessing a direct royal from their homeland for the first time. Before his exile in Seychelles, Kofi Ntim served as an interpreter for numerous persons in Sierra Leone, including King Prempeh.
He was sent to serve on the Gold Coast after working in Sierra Leone for a while, where he planned to build a relationship with his people. Unfortunately, due to cultural differences, the relationship soured, and Kofi Ntim returned to England, where he resided until his death.
He created a signal station that has been maintained and renovated multiple times. The gorgeous edifice in Trinidad and Tobago is open to tourists.