The Akuapem: History Of The Akuapem People

The Akuapem People

One group of Akan people who live in southern Ghana and south-eastern Côte d’Ivoire is the Akuapem. Akan is a general word for a lot of people who speak languages that are related. Asante and Fante people live in southern Ghana, and Baule and Anyi people live in south-eastern Côte d’Ivoire. These are the largest and most well-known ethnic groups.

The first centralized Akan states grew stronger starting in the 1300s. This was because trade routes were set up to move gold around the area. The grand Asante Kingdom didn’t form until the end of the 17th century in the central forest region of Ghana. This was when several small states joined together under the Chief of Kumasi to get political freedom from the Denkyira.

The Akuapem People

The British broke up the Asante confederacy in 1900, and in 1901, they started to colonize the area. There is no longer a central Akan confederacy, but the Akan people are still very important in politics and business.

Economy Of The Akuapem People

In the beginning, the Akan economy was based on trading gold and slaves with Mande and Hausa traders in Africa and then with Europeans along the coast. The Asante were in charge of this trade and got guns in exchange for acting as middlemen in the slave trade. These helped them gain even more power than they already had.

Asante also got a lot of high-end goods, which they used as status symbols and signs of political power. Growing cocoa for export is part of local agriculture, and yams and taro are the main foodstuffs.

It’s very important to the Akan who live near the coast to fish. The cut-down forests don’t leave many hunting opportunities. Large markets are mostly run by women, who also have a lot of economic power. Men, on the other hand, fish, hunt, and clear land. Agricultural work is done by both men and women.

Political Systems Of The Akuapem People

Royal membership among Akan is determined through connection to the land. Anyone who traces their bloodline from a founding member of a village or town may be considered royal. Each family is responsible for maintaining political and social order within its confines. In the past, there was a hierarchy of leadership that extended beyond the family, first to the village headman, then to a territorial chief, then to the paramount chief of each division within the Asante confederacy.

The highest level of power is reserved for the Asanthene, who inherited his position along matrilineal lines. The Asantahene still plays an important role in Ghana today, symbolically linking the past with current Ghanaian politics.

Religion: Akan believe in a supreme god who takes on various names depending upon the particular region of worship. Akan mythology claims that at one time the god freely interacted with man, but that after being continually struck by the pestle of an old woman pounding fufu, he moved far up into the sky. There are no priests that serve him directly, and people believe that they may make direct contact with him.

There are also numerous gods (abosom), who receive their power from the supreme god and are most often connected to the natural world. These include ocean and river spirits and various local deities. Priests serve individual spirits and act as intermediaries between the gods and mankind. Nearly everyone participates in daily prayer, which includes the pouring of libations as an offering to both the ancestors who are buried in the land and to the spirits who are everywhere. The earth is seen as a female deity and is directly connected to fertility and fecundity.