The aboriginal race of
Ghana all along the sea-coast and inland, at some points 15, 20, 30 and 40 miles
northward, were nearly all of the Guan, Kyerepong, Le and Ahanta tribes, speaking
different dialects of the Ahanta, Obutu, Kyerepong, Larteh (Le) and Kpeshi languages.
They seem to have extended from Asini down toTema; thence to the Volta were the
districts of the Les, speaking Adangme, the mother dialect of Ga. In the interior
were the Twi or Fante tribes, who, as we suppose, when the Moslem invasion of Western
Europe was stemmed, and the Christians reasserted their superiority in Spain, were
driven by the Moors from central Africa into the low lying countries between the
Kong (Kpong) mountains and the river Pra. Hence the tradition of the Fantes
about their emigration to the coast, that they separated from the other emigrants
and were called Ofatewfo i.e. the portion that has separated from the main body.
We suppose this to be more the real meaning than "Efantewfo" pickers of
"efaii" i.e. vegetable or pot-herb.
The emigrants from the interior,
after crossing the river Pra, travelled along it to the coast, and either subduing
the aborigines or driving them along the coast, they settled in the country between
Sima (Chama) and Dwomma (Gammah, Mumfort) along the sea-coast as well as in the
interior. The Denkyeras and Tshuforos crossed the Pra, leaving the Ahanta and Guan
aborigines on the south from Sima (Chama) to Asini, and on the east from Dwomma
(Dshiienma, Mumford, Montfort) to Lany-ma or the Cook's loaf.
Although it is stated above
that the Guan and Ahanta tribes extended from Asini to Tema, yet according to the
political division, the Le tribes^ among whom were Guans, Kyerepongs, Kpeshis and
Adangmes, extended from Mount Langma to the Volta. When the Akras arrived at
the coast, they met the Guans and the Ningowas who were very hospitable to them
as they originated from the same place in the middle east. The Guans later on
moved to the Akuapem mountains and beyond the river Volta leaving the Akras
behind. What the Lartehs say of having had 30 towns, and the Kyerepongs, also 50
towns, may be true of that time. Thus we see that the tribes of Larteh, Anum, Nkonya,
and even the Bowure people in Krepe, emigrated from this coast to the other side
of the Volta. The Bowures are reported to have emigrated from Mowure in Fante. There
are, however, some remnants of the aboriginal race of the Les, Kpeshis and
Obutus mixed up with the Akras. — To prove that the Kpeshis may have occupied the
land from Tema to the Volta, we give the following reasons.
All the lagoons from Laloi near
Kpoh (Poni) on the east to the river Sakumo and the lagoon Sakumo in Apa (Apam)
on the west were owned by the Kpeshis and Obutus or Afutu-Berekus; the first lagoon
they named Sakumo nukpa (the elder) and the river they called Sakumo fio (the younger).
The lagoons which the natives worship as their fetishes have all their
religious songs in the Obutu or Kpeshi dialect. This shows that the Obutus and Kpeshis
were the first settlers on this tract of land. There is, however, a tradition which
says, that the lagoon Sakumo nukpa (Tema Sakumo) was the property of the Ningowas,
who in their wars with the Labades pawned it to Adshete Ashabara, king of Tema.
The Ningowas are said to have shared the tract of land between the river Sakumo
and Laloi with the Akras; the boundary was the lagoon Kolete at Christiansborg.
This shows that they may have shared the land between themselves after the conquest
of the Kpeshis, knowing, according to tradition, that these two tribes, Akra and
Ningowa, emigrated together to this coast.
The original inhabitants of
the Akuapern Hills were predominantly Guan. The towns of Akuapem are in the
Eastern Region of Ghana and situated between longitude 0°15 W - 0°00 and
latitude 5°45 - 6°00 N. These towns are located on the Akuapem Ridge, which
runs northeastwards across the Volta Region and extends further into Togo. Akuapem
i.e. Nkuu apem, which means, thousand groups, is the name given to this small country
by Ansa Sasraku, the king of Akwamu. It is bounded South by Ga (Akra), East by Adangme
and Krobo, North and West by Akem. The following 17 principal towns form the Akuapem
state, viz., Berekuso, Atweasing, Aburi, Ahwerase, Asantema (Obosomase), Tutu, Mampong,
Abotakyi, Amanokurom, Mamfe, Akropong, Abiriw, Odawu, Awukugua, Adukrom, Apirede
and Larteh. If the latter town is reckoned as two, viz., Ahenease and Kubease,
and Abonse is separated from Awukugua, we get 19 towns in the whole. The inhabitants
belong to three, or strictly speaking, two different tribes. Akropong, the capital,
and Amanokurom are peopled by emigrants from Akem, Mampong from Asante Mampong and
the rest of the country by aboriginal tribes. For after the expulsion of the Akwamus
from Nyanawase, there seem to have been some refugees of the place, who were of
the genuine Akan tribe, with a mixture of different people, such as Berekus and
Guans, who had been subjects to the Akwamus. These joined the aboriginal tribes
and are known as Ahwerase, Aburi, Atweasing and Berekuso. It is of interest to
know that; 1. not all the Aburis speak pure Twi, for their Twi was just as that
spoken by the Guans, 2. Nkunkreng, the place the Aburis are said to have emigrated
from, sounds not like Twi but rather like Guan or Kyerepong; we, however, consider
those people as Akwamu refugees. It has been told that the Guans and Kyerepongs
were numerous aboriginal tribes on the coast, and seemed to have been driven
thence to the mountains by the Akras, who immigrated after them from the East. That
they were then subjects to the king of Akra and were called not Akuapems but Guans
(or Shuoyi) by the Akras. When the kingdom of Akra was destroyed by the Akwamus
in about 1680, the remnant of Akra as well as the Guans and Adangmes came under
the Akwamu yoke.
time their large number was greatly diminished by incessant plunder, inroads, and
emigration back to the East. It was said that the five Kyerepong towns, viz., Abiriw,
Odawu, Awukugua, Adukrom and Apirede were .50, and the two Late towns 30 under their
king Ani Kotia, but all was reduced to the present number through the different
troubles from the Akwamus.