Latest posts by The Maestro (see all)
- Super Harbaugh Rivalry Bros: The Transnistrian War – February 27, 2020
- Super Harbaugh Rivalry Bros: The Battle of Karansebes – February 20, 2020
- Super Harbaugh Rivalry Bros: The Opium Wars – February 13, 2020
Hi, I’m Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh.
And I’m Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
You might recall us as the first pair of brothers to ever face off against each other as NFL head coaches.
It’s safe to say that as brothers, we’re close, but also competitive as hell. Isn’t that right, John?
Why are you speaking? I’m pretty sure you’re only allowed to speak once you’ve won a Super Bowl.
John, I’m pretty sure that as a longtime NFL quarterback who’s been to a Pro Bowl and won a Comeback Player of the Year award, not to mention my college accolades, I’ve earned that right. Do you have any of those things, John? Oh, that’s right. You weren’t good enough to play in the NFL. Besides, if you hadn’t turned the lights out in XLVII, I guarantee I would’ve won.
Super Bowl, Jimbo. Super Bowl. At any rate, despite the fact that we’re ridiculously competitive, we do get along pretty well as brothers. With the Ravens being Super Bowl faves and mostly cruising, and with Jim’s college season already wrapped up – since the Wolverines aren’t in the Playoff, yet again – we have a little spare time on our hands each week, with the 20 minutes we each have between waking up at 4 AM and hitting the gym at 4:20. In that 20 minutes, we’re going to show you some of the strangest, weirdest, nastiest rivalries throughout history – virtually all of which turned extremely vicious and violent.
As much as my brother drives me insane – which he unquestionably does – it’s good to know I’ve got someone in the family as rigorously committed to a schedule as me. I think this 20 minutes of research will serve us both well, as we each look to replicate Sun Tzu’s Art of War as perfectly as possible. Unlike John-boy here, though, I already have it memorized – in English and Mandarin. He still has to use cue cards most of the time.
Kiss the ring, Jimmy. Let’s get to our first edition of SUPER HARBAUGH RIVALRY BROS with a look at a conflict from the turn of the 20th century…
THE WAR OF THE GOLDEN STOOL
Combatant 1: The British Empire
Combatant 2: The Ashanti Empire
Time Period: 1900
Location of Conflict: Africa’s Gold Coast, in modern-day Ghana
Reason for Conflict: Someone really, really wanted to sit on a sacred stool.
What happened? In the late 19th century, the British Empire had fought a number of small-scale skirmishes against the Asante people of the Gold Coast; while the British had official control of the region, the Asante maintained their independence, fiercely defending their small pockets of territory throughout the region. In the previous war, ending in 1874, the British defeated the Ashanti king Prempeh I, exiling him to the Seychelles islands; they also received an annual indemnity of £160,000 as payment for the cost of the war.
Things were pretty good for the British, but of course, being the world-conquerors they were, they weren’t content with just controlling most of the territory- they wanted all of it. On March 25th, 1900, the governor of the UK’s Gold Coast colony, Sir Frederick Mitchell Hodgson, marched into the town of Kumasi, demanding that as the representative of royalty (Queen Victoria) and the ruler of the territory, he deserved to sit upon the Golden Stool.
Unfortunately for Hodgson, this was a completely insane demand to the Asante people. The Golden Stool, which came into existence at some point in the 17th century, is a sacred relic used as both a symbolic representation of the power of a ruler, as well as an integral part of the rites and ceremonies that take place upon the coronation of a new king. Due to its holy nature, even the king is not actually ever allowed to sit on the stool; they have to hover over it without ever properly touching the stool. As you can probably guess, the idea that a foreigner would march in and demand control of it – let alone sit directly upon it – started yet another war between the two sides.
Sir Frederick Mitchell Hodgson, despite his status as a British official, was not an intelligent man – he had completed failed to understand the political and traditional importance of the stool, and thus the aggressive nature of his speech was essentially a declaration of war. Not only that, he lacked adequate military support in the region, allowing the British offices in Kumasi to be trapped in a siege by the insurgent Ashanti warriors.
Led by Warrior Queen Mother Yaa Asantewaa, King Prempeh’s grandmother, the Ashanti Empire declared war on March 28th, leading to a six-month conflict that ultimately ended in victory over the massive British Empire.
The Aftermath: Over 1000 British and 2000 Asante peoples died in the conflict – a larger toll than all of the previous Anglo-Ashanti wars combined. Despite the heavy casualties, the stool was never found, despite frantic searches by the British after the siege of Kumasi was finally broken in June 1900.
In 1901, the British arrested Yaa Asentewaa and other leading members of the Ashanti Empire, exiling them to the Seychelles, where most eventually perished over the next 25 years. In September 1901, the Ashanti Empire was officially incorporated into the British Empire; despite their now total control over the land, the British government remained determined to find the Golden Stool, but it remained hidden deep in the forest until 1921, when a group of laborers found it and stripped it of its gold ornaments. The Ashanti, completely enraged, sentenced them to death, but the British intervened, reducing their punishment to exile. In 1924, King Prempeh I returned from exile to once again lead his people, albeit under the watchful eye of the British government in the Gold Coast and the Ashanti Empire. With Prempeh returned, the British promised they would never seek to sit on the throne ever again – and it was officially brought out of hiding in order to be used again in royal ceremonies.
Kinda sounds a lot like Dad’s chair at the dinner table, huh?
Shut up, John. He spent his entire life farting on that chair. I don’t understand your obsession. God, it smelled terrible.