From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Total population
Regions with significant populations

Accra, Brong Ahafo Region, Eastern Region, Ashanti Region, Volta Region of Ghana,

Togo, Benin
Christianity, African Traditional Religion
Related ethnic groups

Akwamu (also called Akuambo) was a state set up by Akan people (in present-day Ghana) that flourished in the 17th and 18th centuries. The name was also applied to its people.[1] Originally immigrating from Bono state, the Akan founders settled in Twifo-Heman.[2] The Akwamu led an expansionist empire in the 17th and 18th centuries. At the peak of their empire, the Akan created an influential state and culture that has contributed to at least three countries in West Africa.


Like most Akan, the Akwamu migrated from Bono Manso to settle at the Twifo-Heman forest in the later part of the 16th century. This group of Akan belonged to the Aduana family; they were blood brothers of Asumennya, Dormaa and Kumawu. According to oral tradition, a succession dispute resulted in Otomfuo (brass-smith) Asare deserted the family to form a new state or city called Asaremankesee- Asare's big state. The modern city of Asaremankese was originally founded and occupied by the Akwamu.

Akwamu expansion started between 1629–1710. They migrated into the Akuapem area, including Kyerepon and Larteh, Denkyera, Ga-Adangbe; and the Ladoku states of Agona, Winneba, Afram plains, Southern Togoland and finally Ouidah in present-day Benin. The powerful king Nana Ansa Sasraku I annexed the Guan and took over the traditional areas of the Kyerepon. He ruled over them until Asonaba Nana Ofori Kuma and his followers, after a succession dispute in an effort to form their own State, engaged them in a fierce war. The Akwamu were driven away from the mountains.

These Asona family members and their followers were given a piece of land by the Guan and Kyerepon, the original settlers, to form the Akuapem state. But, most of the present Akuapem still have their roots at Akwamufie, especially those bearing the names Addo and Akoto, or who are from the Aduana family.

Nana Ansa Sasraku also played an important role in the life of the King Osei Tutu of Asante, protecting him from the Denkyira. When Osei Tutu was called to take over the Kwaaman stool, Nana Ansa Sasraku provided him with 300 Asafomen from Akwamu to guide him to Kwaaman. When Nana Osei Tutu arrived, he gave all the men to Kwaaman Asafohene. They became citizens of Asafo, gaining the title of Akwamuhene of Kumase for Kumase Asafohene. According to oral tradition, the structure of the Asante army, which was started by Nana Osei Kofi Tutu l and helped the Asante through many wars, was a replica of the well-organised Akwamu army.

Nana Osei Tutu was assisted in execution cases by the Anumfuo (later Adumfuo) who accompanied him from Akwamu. In the 21st century, numerous Asante trace their ancestry to Akwamu especially; these included people from Asafo and Adum, as well as sections of people from Bantama and Barekese.

After the death of Nana Ansa Sasraku, he was succeeded by two kings collectively, Nana Addo Panin and Nana Basua. It was during this time that the Akwamu took over the possession of the trading Danish Castle at Christianborg at Osu, in present-day Accra.

Because of the cordial relationship between Akwamu and Asante, during the 19th-century expansion of Asante, it never annexed the Akwamu. The Akwamu Stool became the wife of the Asante Stool during the reign of Nana Odeneho Kwafo Akoto I. During the Golden Anniversary of Nana Kwafo Akoto II, Nana Opoku Ware I crossed the Pra River to spend two days at Akwamufie.

At the peak of their power, the Akwamu state encompassed much of the eastern part of the present-day Gold Coast. It is traditionally thought that between 1677 and 1681, the Akwamu state conquered the states of Ladoku, Agona and Whydah, as well as the Ewe people of the Ho region.[3] The Akwamu also conquered the Ga people and occupied the old Ga Kingdom.[3]

In 1693, the Asimani of Akwamu led a raid and seized Osu Castle (currently the seat of the Ghanaian government), from the Danish colonists.[4] The Akwamu thus controlled many of the trade routes from the interior to the coast in the eastern half of what is now Ghana and created a capital at Nyanoase.[5]

In the 1720s a civil war in the Akwamu state caused great hardship. The victors sold most of the King's allies as slaves and they were transported to the Caribbean island of St. John. In 1733 they fomented a slave revolt on the island.[6]

In 1734 the Akwamu were defeated by the Akyem, and their empire came to an end. The Akwamu were pushed to Akwamufie, the location of their current capital.

List of rulers of the state of Akwamu (formerly Twifo-Heman)[edit]

Territory comprised part of present-day southern Ghana

Tenure Incumbent Notes
Akwamuhenes (Rulers)
c.1480 to c.1500 Agyen Kokobo, Akwamuhene Founder of Twifo-Heman
c.1500 to c.1520 Ofusu Kwabi, Akwamuhene
c.1520 to c.1540 Oduro, Akwamuhene
c.1540 to c.1560 Ado, Akwamuhene
c.1560 to c.1575 Otumfo Asare, Akwamuhene Founder of the Akwamu State, with capital at Asaremankesse
c.1575 to c.1585 Akotia, Akwamuhene Relocated capital at Ayandawaase
c.1585 to c.1600 Ansa Saseraku, Akwamuhene
(Ansa Saseraku I)
c.1600 to c.1620 Ansa Saseraku, Akwamuhene
(Ansa Saseraku II)
c.1620 to c.1640 Ansa Saseraku, Akwamuhene
(Ansa Saseraku III)
c.1640 to c.1660 Abuako Dako, Akwamuhene
c.1660 to c.1680 Afera Kuma, Akwamuhene
c.1680 to 1702 Manukure, Akwamuhene
1702 to 1726 Akwano Panyini, Akwamuhene
1726 to 1734 Dako Booman, Akwamuhene
1734 Conquest by the Akyem peoples


B.Osei-Akoto from Ghanaweb

  1. ^ "Akwamu". Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 28 March 2007. 
  2. ^ "The Akwamu". Ghana.co.uk. Archived from the original on 13 December 2006. Retrieved 28 March 2007. 
  3. ^ a b Muḥammad Zuhdī Yakan, Almanac of African Peoples & Nations, p.161
  4. ^ "Ghana Castle". ghanacastle.gov.gh. Government of Ghana. Archived from the original on 3 April 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2007. 
  5. ^ Kwamina B. Dickson, A Historical Geography of Ghana, p.23
  6. ^ Hartman, Saidiya. Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007) pp. 91-93

Further reading[edit]

  • Dantzig, Albert van; Barbara Priddy (1971). A Short History of the Forts and Castles of Ghana. Accra: Liberty Press. 
  • Wilks, Ivor (2001). Akwamu 1640–1750. A Study of the Rise and Fall of a West African Empire. Trondheim.