Akwasi Boakye (archaically spelt as Aquasi Boachi), the first Black mining engineer in the world.
Born on April 24, 1827, AKwasi Boakye is the world’s first black mining engineer. The African-Dutch mining engineer was a prince of the Asante Empire and the eldest son of Nana Kwaku Dua I, a King of the Ashanti Kingdom.
In 1837, along with his cousin Kwame Poku, Akwasi Boakye left to pursue an education in the Netherlands.
Life in Netherlands
The reason why Boakye and Poku were sent to the Netherlands to study was as a result of an agreement between Kwaku Dua I and the Netherlands as part of a deal that gave the
Dutch ”recruits” from Africa when they could no longer legally take slaves. Per the agreement signed, AKwasi Boakye and Kwame Poku were to return after their studies.
Although Kwame Poku did return to the Gold Coast as planned, Kwasi Boakye stayed in the Netherlands. He was trained as a mining engineer at the fore runner of Delft University, where he graduated in 1847 .In 1850, he was sent to the Dutch East Indies.
There he was discriminated by his superior Cornelius de Groot van Embden, for which he received financial compensation in 1857.
His compensation included an estate which is at the south of Buitenzorg or Bogor, a city in present-day West Java province in Indonesia.
He was a member of the Association of Civil Engineers (later called the Association of Delft Engineers). In 1871, he again became a member and correspondent for the Dutch East Indies. He died on 9 June 1904.
In 1997, Dutch writer Arthur Japin did a research about the lives of Kwame Poku and AKwasi Boakye and wrote the book, The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi.