History of Ahanta People of Ghana and Ivory Coast .

History of Ahanta People of Ghana and Ivory Coast .

Ahanta People can be found in mostly in Ghana and some parts of Ivory Coast . They are related to the Nzema , Jwira Pepesa , Brong or Bono , Sefwi , Fanti and others part of the Akan People.
 It is believed the word “ Ahanta “ derived from “ Ahan nta “ Ahan meaning the land and Nta meaning twins and the word all together became Ahanta meaning the land of the twins.
According to other accounts , It is claimed Ahanta migrated from what is now Present day Northern Sudan and settled in Gold Coast Present day Ghana later in 1229 with the Fanti and Bono People altogether was claimed to have also migrated from Bono Kingdom.
It is believed one of the richest areas on the coast of what is now Western Region of Ghana , comprised a regional power in the form of a confederacy of Chiefdoms which had come in the early contact with the European nations settling in Gold Coast Present day Ghana for a purpose of trade. It is said after the death of King Obrumankoma , Bono People decided to have their own becoming King due to misunderstanding between them and Fanti People.

It is believed Fanti had left for Present day Tekyiman also spelled as Takyiman or Techiman and was led by Odapayan and Oson of Techiman and crossed the back of river Pra then settled there , Crayner posits that a Fanti Traditional Priest known as Nkomhyeni Amina or Okomfo Hemaa Amina who was led by the gods and Ancestors to perform a ritual cleansing and they congregated near the river Pra.
 In his Incantation a whirlwind surrounded the People and the towns Include Takoradi Sekondi , Cape Three Point , Akwadaa , Busua , Dixcove , Prences.

Their Capital is Takoradi Sekondi also referred as twin city . Others believed King Obrumankoma a Fanti King once ruled Bono Kingdom before he passed away , Bonos were sacked and Fanti succeeding getting themselves enstooled as Kings among Bono .
 The Fanti first had Nana KunKumfi Ameyaw being enstooled as the first King who ruled Bonoman or Bono Kingdom and took them across the river . It is said some of the people could not cross and also migrated westwards towards the South.
In this modern day It is believed they are the Ahanta and Wassa People historically their migration between their Ahanta and their Fanti neighbors occured at the back of the river Pra.

 It is believed the Aboriginal People were considered to be Mpakowa and Etsii People as well as Asebu and Cryner said they settled among Ahanta.
 It is said Asebu people are also in Mankessim in Central Region of Ghana , Asebu people had lived upon war between them and Fanti entered the sea to hold the tails of several dolphins and whales that was transported to the hometown of the Ahanta King known as Nana Baidoo Bonsoe ll which is Busua, Western Region of Ghana .
 After the Dutch were driven the Swedish out of Present day Butre , The Dutch West India Company with its headquarters in St . George’ d Elmina in what was in Central part of Gold Coast , it is said they decided that it would be Important to negotiate a treaty and in 1656 the treaty signalled the definitive switch in European Jurisdiction in the area until 1875.
 It is said the Treaty of Butre between Dutch and Ahanta was signed forcefully on August , 1656 and was regulated by jurisdiction of the Dutch West Indian Company over the town of Butre and surrounding of Upper Ahanta , creating a Dutch protectorate over the area and the treaty lasted until the Dutch departure from Gold Coast in 1872 . Europeans captured Ahanta and sold them during Slavery era to Jamaica , Netherlands , Cuba , Barbados , México , Paraguay , Uruguay , Puerto Rico , Brazil , Bolivia , Guatemala , Ecuador , Chile , Aruba , Guyana , Suriname , Dominica , Trinidad and it is said some were brought to Present day India and Pakistan by Arabs who were merchants.

 The Maroons of Jamaica and Suriname were mostly of Ewe , Ga Adangbe , Asante , Igbo , Ahanta , Nzema , Wolof , Yoruba and shared ancestry with other ethnic groups in West , Central and East Africa . Ahanta People also have a carnival dress a fancy dress used in Busua for Ahanta carnival every year and Kundum also spelled as Kuntum is celebrated by the Ahanta and Nzema People of Ghana and Ivory Coast , The Origins of Kundum there lived a hunter known as Akpoley , during an expedition , he chanced upon some dwarves dancing in a circle . After observing the dance , the Kundum festival is also a time for people of a town and their Chiefs to sit down by welcoming natives back home , who have travelled. 

This is to install sound moral values into the People . Each day of the week has a unique celebration , preparing for Kundum by getting new clothes and footwear made from beautiful material to show off what they have . Kundum festival starts Sunday with the beating of drums at the outskirts of the town at 5 places . The Significance of this is to seek the guidance of God and their Ancestors during the celebration . On Monday , there is a temporary ban on drumming and dancing . The Kundum fire is lit at the Chief’s Palace and this flame is kept burning throughout the week.
 This place serves as the epicenter of the festival and the main festival meal is prepared on fire . On Tuesday and Wednesday is for singing and dancing all over town . The Chief parades the town in his royal palanquin and they organize competitions with neighboring towns amidst humor and laughter . 

On each night there is a meal prepared for everyone to feast on the anticipation of the final feast , Akopley hunter from the village go for hunting expedition and he saw dwarves and he saw dwarves dancing to the strong rhythm of their music . Akopley learnt Kundum dance and came to teach his people . Thus the Origin of Kundum festival and Kundum dance . 
The Kundum Festival Celebration , The way It is celebrated varies from town to town . Everyone of them makes an effort to add some uniqueness to their own celebration to make it grand . Kundum is one of the few festivals in Ghana and Ivory Coast that has evolved with the modern trend of life . Aside the usual dancing and feasting to which it is associated , Kundum dance was introduced to the people by Akpoley the dance is considered to be ritual dance by expelling evil forces attacking their villages , town and people . During Kundum festival , the dance is performed by most Inhabitants of Axim and surrounding towns . It is believed Kundum originally came from Ahantas . In the Western Region of Ghana has alot of legends behind it.

 One School of thought has it that the Origin of Kundum festival came from a tree in a village called Aboade whose fruits ripen only one a year . Thus the People adopted the ripening of the fruits to start the celebration . Another legends has it that a the final feast is reserved for ritual cleansing and the dancing of the Legendary Kudum dance . This Kudum dance is very unique in nature among Nzema and Ahanta with no fixed rhythm . The People just enjoy themselves and everywhere is a party . It is an ancient festival with a modern blend of the style . 

The Final Sunday is the final feast which is prepared . The People share food , amidst drumming and dancing , no one is left out , and this is what brings unity and peace . Others claimed Ahanta Carnival is bring celebrated due to the Ahanta Chief seized one of the forts the Dutch used it for Slave trading , and Ahanta resisted the cannon fire of Ships and fought off a regiment of 120 Soldiers . It is said in Jamaica it is celebrated by Ahanta descendants today in what is now Present day Jamaica and some parts of West Indies under the name Jonkanoo. 
The Port of Dixcove , Ahanta town with the Dutch possessions , British took over all obligations Including the existing treaties and contracts . After British started to develop their own policies towards the United Gold Coast possessions . Ahanta resisted British take over , with the result that British Navy bombed Butre in 1873 to achieve , political submission . In 1874 , It is believed British declared the entire Gold Coast Present day Ghana Including Ahanta a Colony , de jure and de facto , ending all diplomatic and legal obligations. Avudwene is an Ahanta satrifical or sacred song used during annual Kundum.
In Ahanta Concept , God is known as Nyame mu Enyame , Otwediapong Kwame , Obadie or Obadi3 , Nana Nyankopon , Asaase Yaa is known as Asaase Afua among Ahanta , Jwira Pepesa and Fanti , Asaase Afua is a goddess who is considered to be the mother of Asuo Tano and Kwaku Ananse and also Asaase Afua is associated with the earth , pluto , venus and jupiter planets . 
On Thursday is a sacred day , Akom Spirituality of the Akans was brought by Ahanta , Asante and others Akans captured into Slavery to Jamaica , Suriname , Guyana , Barbados and Dominica . For Dominica Akom is combined or mixed with Vodu which is classified to be Dominica Vudu , In Suriname Akom is known as Winti . In Guyana and Barbados Akom is combined with different African Spirituality and Akom simply means the act of possesing of spirits , It is believed Europeans especially Dutch , Spanish and British saw it as something part of their tradition before the arrival of Christianity and Islam in Gold Coast Present day Ghana and they stopped or forced them to stop practicing their Indigenous Spirituality . Others claimed due to the war some of the Ahanta migrated from Present day Ghana to Present day Ivory Coast and According to other accounts , It is claimed the word “ Ahanta” means dry oneself after being wet or cold the root word is “ Hata” and the drawing of Nana Badu was designed in the 1830s .

 Ahanta performed traditional dances such as Asafo Warrior dance , Kundum dance , Adowa dance and other kind of different types of traditional dances . Ahanta craft work Include hand- carved stools , Akuaba is a fertility doll and Kente cloth is considered to be made up of cotton and is woven in bright , narrows strips with complex patterns . Ahanta instruments Include Sanku which is Seprewa , flute , Ivory horns , drums and different types of Instruments and Ahanta has what is known as Ahanta traditional chant songs which dates back to the ancient times.

 Ahanta Society is composed of exogamous matrilineal clans , the members of which traced their descent from a common female ancestor , these clans are hierarchically organized and are subdivided into localized matrilineages .

 The Matrilineal descent also governs Inheritance , Succession and land tenure and Ahanta has 8 family clans . The word “ Akan” means the First and Ahanta birth rite is made up of 3 major events such as the birth of the baby, naming of the baby , and taking baby outdoors . Traditionally , The labors of Childbirth were left to Traditional midwives and other women who could also play a role in the naming of the baby . The Baby was mostly either named after relatives , both dead and living , or events surrounding their births . Among Ahanta and other Akans , a baby was named 8 days after his or her birth , to align his or her spirit with the divine powers . 

This was also a time to confirm that the Child was here to stay , and would not be returning back to the land of the Ancestors . Until the naming ceremony , the Child was considered as a stranger to the society . The Child’s first name was conventionally the day of the week he or she was born such as Kojo , Adjoa , Kwabena , Abena , Akua , Kwaku , Yaa , Yaw , Kwame , Ama , Kofi , Afia , Kwasi and Akosua . Names of Children including the order of Society names also include Piesie first born , Manu or Maanu for second born , Mensa or Mansa for third born and Anan or Anane for fourth born . According to Matengo Chwanga account , The Akan or Ahanta naming ceremony was also elaborate and mobilized elders and relatives from both sides of the baby’s family.

 Libations are been poured and the baby was named by the father . If the Child was a girl , a broom was placed in her hand as part of the naming procedure , If the Child were a boy , a cutlass was placed in his hand . When the naming ceremony is completed , the Child is been taken outside , where the community was presented with its first chance to meet him or her.
 Performing elaborate ceremonies for the naming of a baby is rare if all it happens nowadays , the passage into adulthood and marriages still elaborately carried out in other African countries . According to Ato Kwamena Esun a Ahanta native’s account , a Ahanta Society , the name of the Child is done by the father of the Child . If they don't live closer to the family home it can be done in their matrimonial home but the naming is done by the father .  

Nana Badu Bonsu ll A King of Ahantaman who ruled and rebelled aganist the Dutch.
Nana Badu Bonsu ll hail from Busua, Western Region of Ghana, he belongs to the Ahanta ethnic group which is an Akan ethnic group in Ghana, he was a leader who rebelled the Dutch and killed Dutch Governors including Governor Hendrik Tonneboeijier a Dutch Colonial Officer, the Dutch government used the treaty of Butre, It is a treaty between Netherlands and Ahanta on 27th August, 1656, the treaty regulated the jurisdiction of Netherlands and Dutch West India Company over the town of Butre and the surrounding country of Upper Ahanta creating a Dutch protectorate over the area.
It is said the treaty lasted until the Dutch departure from Gold Coast in 1872 and as the basis for military action against Nana Bonsu ll an expeditionary force was sent to Ahantaland for war but It is believed Nana Badu Bosu was captured by the Dutch, he was described as Intelligent and brave man he never gave up and he was lynched because he was one of the African King and warrior who refused to participate in Slavery, he resisted from the European Invasions, so every time, Europeans called him a devil they first arrived in Gold Coast Present day Ghana, they justify such things then possessed 32 out of 80 forts castle Including fort medal cross at some point Nana Bonsu was very annoyed so he fought the Dutch and the government. Nana Badu Bonsu ll killed the Dutch emissaries Including the acting governor with his weapon, Dutch People knew how strong the Ahanta were so they sent forces to fight in a war with Ahanta, military captured him and was sentenced for murder as he was hanged and beheaded, following the execution, head chop off or cut off sent to Netherlands which is a baricbaric in Netherland it disappeared for almost 170 years ago and its remin were found in 2005 , Ahantas provoke or dared them to return back the head of their King back to Ghana, finally Dutch were afraid and brought it back to Ghana in 2009. Before they returned it they first made an announcement about it, The Portuguese discovered Ghana had natural wealth in the 15th Century then Europeans fought their way to acess the metals, Ivory, Slaves, Dutch who arrived after Portuguese were eventually bought out out by the British. Others said He was beheaded by Dutch Colonialist In revenge in 1703 and had since been kept at Leiden Museum . According to Godfried he urgued that the Dutch should pay for the mausoleum and establishment of a schloarship program for the people of the region at a minimum, Its time to look ahead and it bend things to advantage, According to Joy he was originally known as Baidoo Bonsoe and he is also referred as Baidoe Bonsu ll or Nana Badu Bonsu he conquered all the way to the coast near Koromantse and earned the name “Bonsu”, his head was first discovered in a jar of formaldehyde gathering dust In 2008, It was stored part of the anatomical collection, Dutch were embarrassed by Its discovery then their government agreed to Ghana’s demand that the relic will be returned, the head was taken by Gen. Jan Verveer in 1838 in a retaliation for Bonsu’s Killing of two arming Dutch the head was separated from the body , In July 2009 Ahantas went to Netherlands to pour libations before the head was returned by the Dutch and the descendants of the Late Nana Badu Bonsu were angry about this evil act his great grand child said he is very angry when they returned the head of his great grandfather.

The Rise and Fall of Ahanta Kingdom by Nana Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III . 

When you mention Ahanta, nobody seems to know what Ahanta means or the kind of people they are but Ahanta was once referred to as a nation, country or a kingdom and not the paltry 2 million ethnic group of people who call themselves Ahantas of today. We seem to have lost everything so many Ahanta youths who do not know where we came from and how our forefathers lived in greatness, enjoyed power and supremacy shy away from the Ahanta personality. 

They have thus become social renegades who wish to belong to other tribes where they have no connection.
According to Wikipedia Encyclopedia, Ahanta means the land of twins. As at how Ahanta became known as the land of twins is not certainly known since there are other meanings or accounts which seem more accurate and convincing than this one. It could be linked to the fertility of Ahanta women and multiple births which was very predominant then on Ahanta lands then. Some indigenous cultural practices around that time also saw births of twins as a taboo and for Ahanta to welcome the birth of twins is likely to earn her the title land of twins which I think we should pride ourselves with it but if we are to situate the land of twins account properly, then it precedes the migration of Ahantas from the Bono kingdom which occurred in 1229.
Ahanta is also believed to have come from the Fante word "hata" which matches with "yinda" in Ahanta language which means to dry or warm oneself after being wet or cold but geographically, the true definition of Ahanta is the land between Pra and Ankobra rivers. The stretch of land between these two rivers is how far and wide the once prosperous and flourished kingdom of the Ahantas covered. Our forefathers lived here in greatness and in supremacy particularly those of us who come from royal homes.
Ahanta belong to several Congo -Niger languages such as Igbo in Nigeria, Edo in Benin and all the Akan languages stretching across the South of the Sahara Desert from Togo to Cote D'Voire. It is one of the sub unit of several kwa languages across the forest belt of Sub-Sahara Africa. Ahanta is as old Methusalah but the sad thing is that our language faces possible extinction in the next 10 or 20 years as recently showed in a research conducted by the University of Cape Coast. We are not speaking it ourselves and for that matter, we are not teaching our children to pass it on to the generations that may come after us. Sekondi -Takoradi for instance has lost its Ahanta taste and fragrance.
As mentioned earlier, in 1229, Ahantas and Fantes moved from the Bono kingdom in the present day Takyiman after the death of Odapagyan who was then the leader of the Fantes to further south of the Sahara. On reaching the Pra river, the Ahantas crossed further southward to their present area of settlements. It is actually the crossing of the Pra River that gave birth to "hata" which means to dry or warm oneself in the sun. The oral account says that after crossing the Pra river, our forefathers decided to warm themselves in the sun and also to dry their clothes so they became known as "Ahatafo" meaning people who warm or dry themselves in the sun. It thus became our ethnic or tribal name.
This account is more precise, accurate convincing, consistent and backed by facts than the age old myth that Nana Badu Bonso and his descendants came from the mouth of a Whale. Legend has it that he fought his way through from the Pra river and settled at Busua which was then the abode of mighty Whales. He then established his authority over all the conquered lands and form his kingdom.

 It is worth mentioning here that before the arrival of Ahantas, the land was already inhabited by indigenes who were probably Guans so the present Ahanta people comprises of descendants of Guans, those who migrated from the Bono kingdom and other vassal states which later migrated into the Ahanta kingdom. It was the conquering exploits from the Pra river to the sea at Busua that rather earned the warlord of Ahanta Otumfour Badu Bonso contrary to the account that he came from the mouth of a Whale but whatever that it was, all the accounts surrounding the migration story of the Ahanta people make our history and culture rich.

 The royal title for Ahantahene was suspected to be "beduru bonso" which literally means to have reached the Whales and later corrupted to be Badu Bonso as years go by. He is believed to have possessed some whimsical powers that made him to conquer enemies with ease and thus the title Otumfour which means the powerful one.
Between 1300 and 1400 after arrival of Ahantas to their present location particularly the Bono group, they quickly organised themselves into a powerful kingdom which was made of chiefdoms along the Atlantic coast from the Pra to the Ankobra rivers. They had already lived in the Bono kingdom so organising themselves into kingdom and chiefdoms were something they did without much difficulties since they were already practicing most of traditions of the Bonos. A kingdom that enjoy prominence, glory, power and supremacy until the Europeans particularly the Dutch arrived in Gold Coast. The Ahanta kingdom then started to receive stiff opposition and interferences from foreign invasions particularly from the Dutch and started to lose its thresholds.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in Gold Coast in 1471 and built their permanent trading post at Elmina in 1482. In 1515, they built Fort St. Anthony at Axim and in 1626, they built Fort Sebastian at Shama. The Portuguese have quickly expanded their trading activities across Ahanta from Shama to Axim covering almost the total land area of the Ahanta kingdom. The Dutch led by Barent Eriksz arrived in 1591 and by 1598, other Dutch traders had also arrived in Gold Coast and started to pose stiff opposition to the Portuguese. Through the efforts of General Jacob Clantius, the Dutch secured a permission to build Fort Nassau near Moree through the Asebu treaty.

In the preceding years, the Dutch constantly battled the Portuguese to drive them out of Gold Coast in order to gain control over the trade which eventually turned out to be a slave trade. In 1637, the Dutch captured Elmina Castle, Fort Sebastian at Shama in 1640 and in 1642, they had captured Fort Antonio in Axim. Aside ceasing Forts and Castles of the Portuguese, the Dutch built Fort Orange in Sekondi in 1642 and Fort Batenstein in Butre in 1656. By 1717 they have succeeded in driving the Portuguese away and gained control over the trade particularly in Ahanta areas.
Ahanta became the main trading grounds for the Dutch in Gold Coast. On 27th August 1656, the Butre treaty was sign between the Ahanta chiefs and the Dutch which made Ahanta a protectorate of the Dutch from the attacks of other European nations who had interest in the ongoing slave trade. A pact which lasted for 213 years until 1871 when the Dutch left the Gold Coast and the British took over. It was longest pact between an European nation and an African state.
 This pact became the basis for the annihilation and desolation of Ahanta as expedient forces marshalled by the Dutch marched on Ahanta on 30th June 1838 led by Major-General Jan Verveer from the Royal Netherlands Army. Major Ahanta towns like Takoradi and Busua were massacred and a large military presence was maintained in Ahanta. Asantehene alone offered 30,000 troops though the Dutch turned down his offer and believed it to be a ploy for the Ashantis to gain direct trading access with the Europeans at the coast.
In the course of war Badu Bonso II was captured and on 27 July 1838, he was hanged after which his head was removed and sent to Netherlands where it got lost for more than a century until it was rediscovered at Leiden University Medical Centre by one Arthur Japin who was conducting a research and had earlier on read about this great Ahanta king who stood against foreign invasion and interferences. The head had been stored in a jar of formaldehyde for about 170 years. In 2009, after a brief ceremony was conducted in Hague, the head was returned to Ghana previously known as the Gold Coast where it was originally taken away by the Dutch.
In 1871, the Dutch sold all their trade possessions to the British who have already built Fort Metal Cross at Dixcove in 1683 and were very active in the ongoing slave trade and left the Gold Coast after they have robbed Ahanta off everything including her pride and dignity. The British took over from the Dutch until 1957 when Gold Coast became independent and by then there was nothing left that Ahanta can boast of. From 1471 to 1957, Ahanta and other coastal Akan state were constantly oppressed and suppressed by several European nations particularly the Portuguese,the Dutch and the British.
In it all, foreign influence on Ahanta and other coastal Akan state lasted for 486 years. A period long enough to destroy everything Ahanta. Once a beautiful Ahanta kingdom was left disorganised till date.
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