The first of three Anglo-Ashanti wars took place from 1823 to 1831 between the British and the Ashanti Kingdom. The wars were due to the Ashanti's ambition to conquer the coastal regions of Ghana which were already under British colonial influence. The coastal nations (primarily the Fante and Ga people) relied on the British for protection from Ashanti ambitions. The British also had an incentive to weaken the Ashanti Empire as the Ashantis were friendly with the Dutch, who were commercial rivals of the British. This adversarial relationship came to a head in the third Anglo-Ashanti war in 1873.
Cape Coast Castle was a key venue in the theater of war. In early 1824 the Ashanti's defeated the British, killing the governor, Sir Charles MacCarthy. His skull was returned to Kumasi as a symbol of victory after the battle of Nsamankow. It is alleged that it was used by the rulers of Ashanti for years, following the victory as a gold-rimmed drinking cup.
On July 14, 2017 the British were able to triumph in a follow up Ashanti advance towards the castle, slowing down the momentum of the Ashanti coastal expedition. At this period in time the Ashantis were winning the war. The British defended their colonial outpost in Cape Coast and the main battle theater headed eastward to Accra.