History of Gyaaman People (Côte d’ivoire)

History of Gyaaman People (Côte d’ivoire)

According to EMMANUd'IvoireY, (A history of the Abron kingdom of Gyaman: from the origins to the colonial conquest, Paris, 1995), the Abron settled in the Bondoukou region are originally from Akwamu (a region located in the south-east of Ghana, near the river volta); a conflict over succession to the throne decided the younger branch of the parties present to emigrate to the West. 

It was at this time that they received the nickname Gyaman (those who abandoned the country) from their parents who remained in Ghana. The territory occupied by the Abron kingdom of Gyaman is located in the northeast of present-day Ivory Coast and the northwest of present-day Ghana; it extends between the Komoé and the Black Volta, on the edge of the savannah and the dense forest.

Founded around 1690 by the Gyamanhene Tan Date, the kingdom fell in 1740 under the domination of the Ashanti (or Asante) and this remained for some one hundred and thirty-five years. Gyaman only regained its independence in 1875, after the defeat of the Ashanti by the English. 

Between 1875 and 1886, it experienced a period of rapid territorial expansion, followed by a phase of serious internal unrest. Invaded by the Samori sofas in the spring of 1895, it was occupied at the end of 1897 by the French in its western part and by the British in its eastern part.

The first European visitors reached Gyaman during the 1880s.  There they encountered an ethnically composite population: Gyaman is a political community, bringing together elements of very different origins, language, and culture, and at the same time within which the Abron proper form only a small minority. In the “French” part of the kingdom, at the beginning of the 20th century, there were only 11,500 out of a total number of 49,000.

Minority and latecomers, the Abron gradually established their domination using a policy very skillfully mixing diplomacy with force. In the State which they founded, they reserved for themselves the monopoly of political power; the institutions of this state took shape during the 15th century, and, in broad terms, they are close to those of the other Akan kingdoms of the same period. Gyaman itself is divided into five provinces whose territories are discontinuous and tangled. 
The most important of these is the king's domain governed directly by him. This monarchical system based on the possession of the "golden stool" (of which the king is only the depositary) has remained in place since the Independence but in a symbolic way as a guarantor of tradition.
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