Bono state

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Bonoman
11th century–20th century
Location of the Bono state; The core area of Bono Confederation highlighted in white
Location of the Bono state; The core area of Bono Confederation highlighted in white
CapitalBono Manso
Common languagesBono Twi
Religion
Bono Ancestral worship and spirituality
GovernmentMonarchy
History 
• Established
11th century
• Renamed Brong-Ahafo
1957
• Dissolved into Ghana
20th century
CurrencyGold dust, cowries and
(Salt, copper)
Succeeded by
Techiman

Bonoman (Bono State) was a trading state created by the Bono people, located in what is now south Ghana. Bonoman was a medieval Akan kingdom in what is now Bono, Bono East and Ahafo region's respetively (named after the Bono(Brong) and Ahafo) and eastern Ivory Coast[1]. It is generally accepted as the origin of the subgroups of the Akan people who migrated out of the state at various times to create new Akan states in search of gold. The gold trade, which started to boom in Bonoman as early in the 12th century, was the genesis of Akan power and wealth in the region, beginning in the Middle Ages[2].

Origin[edit]

The origin of the Akan people of Bonoman was said to be further north in what is now called the Sahel or the then Ghana Empire when natives wanted to remain with their traditional form of Bono ancestral worship and spirituality, those Akans that disagreed with Islam, migrated south of the Sahara, in present day Ghana[2][3]

Trading centers used by state[edit]

Bono Manso[edit]

Bono Manso (sometimes known as Bono Mansu [literally "On the state of Bono"]) was a trading area in the ancient state of Bonoman, and a major trading centre in what is now predominantly Bono East region. Located just south of the Black Volta river at the transitional zone between savanna and forest, the town was frequented by caravans from Djenné and Timbuktu as part of the Trans-Saharan trade. Goods traded included kola nuts, salt, leather, and gold; gold was the most important trading good of the area, starting in the mid-14th century.[2][4][5][6]

Begho[edit]

Begho (also Bighu or Bitu; called Bew and Nsokɔ by the Akan)[7] was an ancient trading town located just south of the Black Volta at the transitional zone between the forest and savanna north-western Brong-Ahafo. The town, like Bono-Manso, was of considerable importance as an entrepot  frequented by northern caravans from Mali from around 1100 AD. Goods traded included ivory, salt, leather, gold, kola nuts, cloth, and copper alloys.[5][8]


Excavations have laid bare-walled structures dated between 1350 and 1750 AD, as well as pottery of all kinds, smoking pipes, and evidence of iron smelting. With a probable population of over 10 000, Begho was one of the largest towns in the southern part of West Africa at the time of the arrival of the Portuguese in 1471.[8]


The Malian king occupied Bighu in the mid-sixteenth century as a "perceived failure of the Bighu Juula to maintain supplies of gold," according to Bakewell. "As a result of the occupation of Bighu it seems clear that the Malian king gained access for a time to that part of the Akan gold trade which the Wangara were able to control." Bakewell also notes, "the site of the abandoned town of Bighu, or Bitu, in the present-day Ghana...lies near the present village of Hani."[9]:18,30–31

Bonduku[edit]

Bonduku was another trading center within the empire of Bonoman. It gave birth to the state of Gyaman also spelled Jamang Kingdom which was particularly famous in the production of cotton. The state existed from 1450 to 1895 and was located in what is now Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.[4]

Structure of towns of Bonoman[edit]

Based on excavations, carbon datings and local oral traditions, Effah-Gyamfi (1985) postulated three distinct urban phases. According to him, in the early phase (thirteenth to the fifteenth century) the urban center was relatively small, and the towns were populated by thousands of people, not all living in the urban center. Buildings were made of daubed wattle. Painted pottery of this period was found distributed within a radius of 3.3  km.


In the second phase, the sixteenth to the seventeenth century, the urban centers were larger, consisting mainly of evenly distributed houses and a nuclear market center. Many indications of participation in long-distance trade, such as imported glass beads and mica coated pottery, stem from this period.[6]

Fall of the Bonoman[edit]

The fall of Bono state occurred during the rise of more Akan nations, especially the exodus of various subgroups of Akans from the Bono state. Several factors weakened this state, including conflicts among the leadership, conflicts due to taxation, and no direct access to the coast of Gold Coast, where trade was helping many Akan states have more influence.[2][4]

Influence on Akan Culture[edit]

Various aspects of Akan culture stem from the Bono state, including the umbrella used for the kings, the swords of the nation, the stools, goldsmithing, blacksmithing, Kente Cloth weaving, and goldweighing.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anquandah, James (2002). "Ghana: early towns & the development of urban culture: an archaeological view". In Adande, Alexis B. A.; Arinze, Emmanuel (eds.). Museums & urban culture in West Africa. Oxford: James Currey. pp. 9–16. ISBN 0-85255-276-9.
  2. ^ a b c d Effah-Gyamfi, Kwaku (1987). "Archaeology and the study of early African towns: the West African case, especially Ghana", West African Journal of Archaeology.
  3. ^ "Atlas of the Human Journey". The Genographic Project. Archived from the original on 2010-02-07. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  4. ^ a b c d Crossland, L. B. (1989). “Pottery from the Begho-B2 site, Ghana”. African occasional papers 4. Calgary: University of Calgary Press. ISBN 0-919813-84-4. Effah-Gyamfi, Kwaku (1985), Bono Manso: an archaeological investigation into early Akan urbanism (African occasional papers, no. 2) Calgary: Dept. of Archaeology, University of Calgary Press. ISBN 0-919813-27-5
  5. ^ a b Crossland, L. B. (1989). Pottery from the Begho-B2 site, Ghana. African occasional papers. 4. Calgary: University of Calgary Press. ISBN 0-919813-84-4.
  6. ^ a b Meyerowitz, Eva L.R. (1949), "Bono-Mansu, the earliest centre of civilisation in the Gold Coast", Proceedings of the III International West African Conference, 118–120.
  7. ^ Kwasi Konadu, The Akan Diaspora in the Americas (Oxford University Press, 2010; ISBN 0199889279), p. 51.
  8. ^ a b Goody, Jack (1964). "The Mande and the Akan Hinterland". In Vansina, J.; Mauny, R.; Thomas, L. V. (eds.). The Historian in Tropical Africa. London: Oxford University. pp. 192–218.
  9. ^ Effah-Gyamfi, Kwaku (1979), Traditional history of the Bono State Legon: Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana.

Further reading[edit]

  • Anquandah, James (2002). "Ghana: early towns & the development of urban culture: an archaeological view". In Adande, Alexis B. A.; Arinze, Emmanuel (eds.). Museums & urban culture in West Africa. Oxford: James Currey. pp. 9–16. ISBN 0-85255-276-9.
  • Crossland, L. B. (1989). Pottery from the Begho-B2 site, Ghana. African occasional papers. 4. Calgary: University of Calgary Press. ISBN 0-919813-84-4.
  • Effah-Gyamfi, Kwaku (1987). "Archaeology and the study of early African towns: the West African case, especially Ghana". West African Journal of Archaeology. 17: 229–241.
  • Goody, Jack (1964). "The Mande and the Akan Hinterland". In Vansina, J.; Mauny, R.; Thomas, L. V. (eds.). The Historian in Tropical Africa. London: Oxford University. pp. 192–218.
  • Insoll, Timothy (2003). The Archaeology of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-65702-4.
  • Effah-Gyamfi, Kwaku (1979), Traditional history of the Bono State Legon: Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana.
  • Meyerowitz, Eva L.R. (1949), "Bono-Mansu, the earliest centre of civilisation in the Gold Coast", Proceedings of the III International West African Conference, 118–120.