Omanhene

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In several Akan nations of Ghana, the Omanhene is the title of the supreme traditional ruler ('king') in a region or a larger town. The omanhene is the central figure and institution of the nation. He has no function in the Ghanaian state, but has an enormous effect on the people that constitute it.

The omanhene is a major land owner, and is the head of an essentially feudal system. He commits the land he theoretically holds in trust to caretakers.

Omanhenes are appointed by queen mothers that are often but not necessarily their birth mothers. Dynastic succession tends to follow a matrilinial pattern. The exception to this is found, though, in the case of the Omanhene of Elmina.

Not all Akan nations have the Omanhene as the supreme ruler. The Ashanti, for example, have as supreme ruler the person of the Asantehene ( or 'Emperor'), who is superior to the Omanhenes of Asanteman.

'Hene' can be found in other titles of rulers in Ghanaian nations. For example, the chief of the Dagomba in the north of Ghana is known as the 'Dagombahene'.