The Ashanti live in central Ghana in the Rainforests of West Africa approximately 150 miles away from the coast. The Ashanti are a major ethnic group of the Akans (Ashanti and Fanti) in Ghana, Ghana is a fairly new nation, barely more than 50 years old, and Ghana was previously called the Gold Coast. Much of the modern nation of Ghana was dominated from the late 17th through the late 19th century by a state known as Asante. Asante was the largest and most powerful of a series of states formed in the forest region of southern Ghana by people known as the Akan. Among the factors leading the Akan to form states, perhaps the most important was that they were rich in gold. It is now politically separated into four main parts. Ashanti is in the center and Kumasi is the capital.