Monday, April 8, 2013

AKWAMU PEOPLE: GHANA`S AKAN CONQUERING WARRIOR PEOPLE THAT LED SLAVE REVOLT ON UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS

The Akwamu people also known as Akwuambo are Akan-speaking people of larger Kwa ethnolinguistic people of Ghana and West Africa. They are found in the Eastern regions of Ghana. Their chief city is Akwamufie. The Akwamu people who were warriors and have conquered a lot Ghanaian and Togolese tribes became famous globally when they started revolt on November 23, 1733 in Americas. African slaves from Akwamu revolted against the owners and managers of the island's plantations in the 1733 slave insurrection on St. John in the Danish West Indies, (now St. John, United States Virgin Islands).

                                        Akwamu people at a public function

The slave rebellion was one of the earliest and longest slave revolts in the Americas. The Akwamu slaves captured the fort in Coral Bay and took control of most of the island, intending to resume crop production under their own control and use other ethnic Africans as slave labor. The revolt ended in mid-1734 when several hundred French and Swiss troops sent from Martinique defeated the Akwamu. Even before the Akwamu fomented slave revolt in the Caribbean island of St. John in 1733,  in 1693, Asimani an Akwamu warlord who was unhappy about how the Whites were controling trade instead of blacks led a raid and seized Osu Christianborg Castle (which used to be the seat of the Ghanaian government), from the Danish colonists. 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 whiles Asamani became the unofficial governor of the Gold Coast. 

 Akwamuhene Odeneho Nana Kwafo Akoto III ( R in traditional Kente cloth) and a sub-chief Nana Gyansare

In Ghana the Akwamus defeat of Ewes in Ho brought the name "As)glimeawo" to the people of Ho according to Jakob Spieth in his 2011 book entitled "the ewe people: a case study of the Ewe people in German Togo."  In that when the Akwamu defeated the Ho ewes, before they surrounded their Ho town to the Akwamu, every man sharpened pieces of wood,inserted them to the walls of their houses and spread thorns all over their camp-sites . Its important,however, to note that the Ho came back from defeat to give resounding beatings to the Akwamus in war and it is believed that,that defeat caused the beginning of Akwamu military superiority and its kingdoms decline.
There about 60,000 Akwamu people in Ghana in living in Eastern regional towns of Akwamufie, Atimpoku, Senchi, Asamankese etc.

Location and geography

The Akwamu Hills Community forest is an ungazzetted forest located between Atimpoku and Akwamufie on the eastern side of Volta River in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region. The hill on which the forest is located rises to height of about 400 metres above sea level and forms the southern limit of the Akwapim-Togo Range at the interface with the Akwapim Plateau within the Volta Gorge. The hill provides a rare panoramic view of the lower regions of the Volta River system. The community forest is owned jointly by a number of royal families in the Akwamu Traditional Area.
                                 Akosombo

The forest has sub-montane vegetation at the crest of the hills, which comprises a mixture of Dry Semi-deciduous and Southern Marginal forest types characterised by rather short trees and relatively dense canopy dominated by Hymenostegia afzelii. Antiaris toxicaria and Ceiba pentandra are common emergent trees forming a discontinuous upper canopy. Dominant characteristic species of these forest types include Teclea verdoorniana, Drypetes parvifolia, Diospyros abyssinica, Dialium guineense, Triplochiton scleroxylon, Sterculia tragacantha, Celtis zenkeri, Cola millenii and Pterygota macrocarpa, Lecaniodiscus cupanioides.
                                        Akosombo dam on Akwamu land

Protected loosely by local traditional and cultural arrangements, the community forest is under intense pressure from the numerous fringe communities for variety of non-timber forest products including bushmeat. This notwithstanding, the fauna diversity of the forest is quite impressive. About 20 species of medium to large mammals including about five primates are known to occur in the community forest and adjoining areas. Some of the large mammal species that occur in the forest include western pied colobus monkey, olive colobus monkey, Mona monkey, red river hog, maxwell's duiker, bay duiker, royal antelope, long-tailed and tree pangolins and the African golden cat. A total of about 150 bird species have been confirmed in the forest and the adjoining areas, with the globally threatened and enigmatic white-necked picathartes being the most significant amongst them. Other bird species commonly seen in the forest include the black-winged oriole, guinea turaco, violet turaco, white-throated greenbul, gross-beak finch, Narina's trogon etc. The flora and fauna diversity of the forest coupled with the aesthetic beauty of the Akwamu Hill ranges and the Volta River system are great enhancements to the ecotourism potential of the area.

The Royal Senchi in collaboration with the Akwamu Traditional Council, acting through the Akwamu George Conservation Trust (AGCT) is working with reputable local and international consultants and organizations to conserve the ecological integrity and aesthetic beauty of the Akwamu Hills Community Forest by developing its ecotourism potential. The Royal Senchi hopes to achieve a long term conservation of the community forest by developing it into a first class ecotourism destination. It is envisaged that ecotourism activities in the forest and the surrounding areas would ensure sustainable benefit flow to the chiefs and people of the Akwamu Traditional Area.

                                Akwamu people
Language
Akwamu speak Twi a dialect of the larger Akan language within the Kwa group of languages and is in the Atlantic–Congo group within the Niger-Congo phylum.


History/Origins

Oral Traditions of the ruling Abrade (Aduana) Clan relate that they originated from ancient Ghana. As a result of the introduction of Islam in the Western Sudan, and the zeal of the Muslims to impose their religion, their Ancestors left for Kong (i.e. present day La Cote d'Ivoire). From Kong they moved to Bono Kingdom to settle specifically in Wam and then to Dormaa. The movement from Kong was necessitated by the desire of the people to find suitable Savannah conditions since they were not used to Forest Life. Around the 6th century, they moved from Dormaa South Eastwards to Twifo-HemangNorth West Cape Coast. This move was commercially motivated.
                     Ancient Akwamu people

They were able to establish close contact with the Europeans on the coast and profited greatly form the coastal trade. The tendency of the Abrade to live off trade rather than by it, brought them into conflict with neighbouring Akan States, particularly Denkyira's expansionist tendencies were also beginning to threaten the peace and security of the Abrade. A more pressing problem which faced the Abrade was a succession dispute.
                       Symbol of Akwamu state

After the death of the fifth Twifo King, a section of the Abrade, Under the leadership of Otumfo Asare (1580-1595), migrated from Twifo-Hemang to Abakrampa to Asamakese, they became know as "Akwamu", in place of their former name "Twiforo". From here they left for Asamankese (i.e. Asamankese). Their stay at Abakrampa was short because the Fantis had authority over the land . The Abrade found the land of Asamankese, in the Basin of the Densu and Birim Rivers uninhabited. Akwamu traditions state that they offered part of the land to Akyem when they arrived from Adanse. The name "Kyebi" which means, "Offer me a part" was derived from the favour done to them.
After death of Otumfo Asare, the Abrades led by Otumfo Akotia (1595-1610) moved to Nyanoase near Nsawam. This move was motivated by strategic reasons. This new position gave the Akwamu the advantage of warding off enemy attacks. The presence of the strong of Akyem state also made it necessary for the capital to be sited at a place where it could easily be defended. After settling at Nyanoaso, the Abrades began to organise themselves into a powerful State. In the 17th century, under Ansa Sasraku I (1640-1674); Ansa Saraku II (1674-1689); Basua Addo (1689-1699); Ansa Sasraku III (1699-1702); and Akwonno(1702-1725), Nyanoaso was transformed into a huge and powerful Empire. Nyanoaso was sited on the Nyanao Hill. While King resided at Nyanoaso, the Queen Mother was made to reside at the bottom of the Hill, at Nyanoase. She was protected by the Gyase and the surrounding Villagers. Nyanoaso was near the famous Accra market of Abonse or ABC.
Akwamu derived economic benefits from participation in the Maritime Trade in gold and slaves.
The nearness of the settlement near the river River Densu, made it possible for Akwamu to collect Tolls from Akyem and beyond who travelled along the Main Trade Route from the interior to Accra. The King of Accraallowed the Akwamu King to supervise the Abonse Market. In the course of time, the Akwamu king became so powerful that he could decide to close the Trade Routes whenever he wished.
In the middle of the 17th Century, Akwamu extended her power over the Guans and Kyerepongs. Ansa Sasraku laid the foundations of the Akwamu Imperial power. Berekuso, Aburi, Awukugua, Dawu, Larteh, Anum and Obutu became Vassal States. From the Akuapem Hills, Akwamu was assured of a ready supply of food and manpower.
                     Akwamu chieftaincy swords

Larteh was also an important Trade Outlet. This phase of Akwamu expansion provided the resources in wealth and manpower to enable her embark on other ventures. Some Southern Akan Groups near the Guan Communities and the foothills of the Kwahu Scarp were also brought under Akwamu suzerainty. Between 1677 and 1681, Akwamu embarked on the conquest of Accra. Two sets of considerations went into the Akwamu decision. The first was the Akwamu was the Economic. By the 1670's, Accra gained the reputation of terminus for Trade Routes from Asante, Akyem and Western Plains of the Middle Volta.According to Wilks, Accra handled about a quarter of the "Overseas Trade" in gold of the whole country. Five European Nations, namely, PortugalHollandEngland,Sweden and Denmark converged in Accra to participate in the trade in gold and slaves. The second set of considerations was military/ Political. After establishing her authority over the Akuapem area and up to the foothills of the Kwahu Scarp, Akwamu could expand in three main directions, North West, South West, or South. To the North West was Akyem.While Akyem's neighbours feared and respected Akwamu, Akyem did not. Akyem grew into an equally strong state and could easily thwart any Akwamu expansionist moves. To the South was the confederation of Fanti States. The Fanti were considered the second in the military power to Akwamu among all the Coastal States. In fact some of the literature refers to Akwamu as both aForest/ Inland state and as a Coastal state. The only option left to Akwamu was expansion southwards. Under the able leadership of Akwamuhene Ansa Sasraku II, Akwamu launched an attack against Accrain1677. The immediate cause of the attack was an opportunity for the Akwamu to realise their long-term military goals.
            Akwamuhene Nana Kwafo Akoto III sittung majestically in state
A prince was sent to the Accra coast to learn the ways of the European trade and the Portuguese language, which was the lingua franca" of the coast until the late 18th century. The Gas, according to their custom, circumcised the prince and this was contrary to Akwamu custom. It meant that the prince would not succeed to the Akwamu stool. The Akwamus demanded the prince's forestin, and the Accra's were unable to meet this demand. Akwamu launch the offensive first against "Great Accra "the capital at Ayawaso. King Okai kwei resisted, and he was captured together with his eldest son and beheaded. The capital was sacked and burnt. The second offensive was directed at the Beaches, where the trading Companies were established. Ofori a younger son of Okai kwiei had escape with his mother to" Small Accra "and he assumed leadership over the Accrapeople. He asked for Danish, Dutch and English help. When the Akwamus attacked Osu they realised that the" Guns of Christian Borg were active and ready to protect the gas, they therefore returned home.
Between 1680 and 1681, the Akwamus attacked "Small Accra" again.Accra and Osu were burnt and refugees fled to little pope and Whydah. King Ofori fled to Afutu, where the Danes in Fort Fredricksborg offered him protection and support. Eventually he retired to little Popo.
Not long afterward, Akwamus launch a third attack. Accra became aTributary Province of the Akwamus for about 50years. Akwamus came to enjoy economic benefits and enjoy economic benefit s and to also influence Accra `s social and political structure. From Accra, Akwamu received fixed source of revenue such as the rent s from the forts and the tolls from sources of revenue such AKwamu gained direct access to the trade in gold and local merchants monopolised the trade. They acted as Middleman between the Europeans and the inland people.
                             Female figure on a gourd,Akwamu art

Between 1646 and 1681, Akwamu also conquered the Ga-Adangme state of Ada, Kpone, Osudoku, Ningo, Prampram, Shai and Lodoku. Lodoku stretched from Agava in the Volta side to Tema. The Agona state was also overrun by the Akwamu. The expansion of Akwamu continued after the deaths of Ansa Sasraku the first and second Kings Addo, Basua and Akwonno undertook a series of military campaigns and won more territories.
Addo who was supposed to have succeeded Sasraku was so young that his uncle Bausa acted as Regent. When Addo came of age. Basua refused to vacate the stool and therefore both Addo and Basua ruled Akwamu , each had his own Army. Basua `s engineered the capture of ChristiansburgCastle from the Danes in 1693. After Basua death in 1699, Addo assumed full control of the empire. He made fostering of renew trade at Kpone where there were good supplies of ivory and slaves. During Addo`s reign, Akwamu a number of time took away 100 prisoners. In 1700 they captured another town. Addo opened negotiations with the Akyems and sent them a gift of 30 slaves" spirit "and other goods. The Akyem in reply demanded the whole Estate of Busua. Addo paid almost 40Ibs weight of gold, and the Akyems kept their peace.
Addo spent the whole of 1701 in Accra, paying "Courtesy Calls" on all the Forts. A year later, in their attack against Ladoku, the Akwamus were forced to march to little Popo, where the Ladoku forces had run. The Akwamus were initially resisted but they soon gained the upper hand and overrun little Popo. In that same year they entered Whydah without opposition. Whydah became dependant on Akwamu for about 15years. The king of Whydah paid tribute to Akwamuhene from time.
The king Akwonno succeeded Addo when he died. Akwonno had a long reign of 23 year. His first act was to negotiate a treaty on 3 April 1703 with the Dutch in which the Dutch bound themselves to assist Akwamu in any " Just War" with 100 fully armed men, 3000 Ibs of Gunpowder, 300Ibs of bullets etc. in returns, Akwonno agreed to keep the Trade routes from the interior open and to prevent his subjects from trading with European "interlopers" Akwamu began Territories Expansion to North and the North East. The marched to the Krepi district and overrun them Agava, Anlo, Keta, Kpandu and Peki were all subjugated. These town are currently regarded Ewe town but during this they were known as "Krepi "Akwonno`s next move was towards Kwahu. His forces given a surprise attack by the Kwahu forces and they were forced to return to their capital. Akwonno made a second attempt against the Kwahu 1708, but he was repulse. Akwonno stopped any major venture s but sent small expendition from time to time to harass them. In 1710 the Kwahu retaliated and destroy the large Kwabeng town, North of Akwamu. Akwonno reacted. He made large purchase of Gunpowder from Accra Forts, and in February 1710 moved towards Kwahu. Within four months, Kwahu was overcome and made a vessel state. The conquest of Kwahu marked the end of Akwamu expansion. The Akwamu Empire reached its fullest extent.
Akwamu`s relationship with the Asante was based on mutual friendship throughout the duration of the Empire. It continued in the Volta Gorge until the 19th century when the Akwamu came under British "protection ". It started during the reign of Ansa Sasraku I when Osei Tutu Stayed at Nyanaoso for some time, where he was well treated. At the death of his uncle Obiri Yeboa, Osei Tutu was grand Royal Escort to Kumase. Okomfo Anokye was release to upon his request.
                                      Akwamu chief and elders

AKWAMU SOCIAL AND POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS
Akan and Ewe traditions portray the Akwamu as a people who were rich in culture and well versed in military and political Organization. All published work on Akwamu describe then as an early Akan State noted for its wealth the, military organization and power. The Foundations of Akwamu social and political institutions were laid at Nyanoaso.
The Akwamu made important contribution to the kingship system. Kingship was still is vested the Royal Abrade Clan. Any member of the Dispersed Abrade Clan is eligible to the stool. This decision arose from the succession dispute in Twifo- hemang. This practise spread among the Akan.
In 1882 King Akoto I of Obomeng- Kwahu ruled after the death of Kwafo Akoto I. This confirms the fact that any member of the dispersed Abrade Clan is eligible to the stool. Royal Twins were and still are eligible to the stool.
Various State Drums became part of the institution of kingship. Among these the Atumpan and Fontonfrom.These drums were and still are common to many Akan States, but the act of "adorning" them with Human Skulls and Jaw-Bones originated from the Akwamus.
The Akwamu also claim to have originated the Apirede and PrempehDrums.The Apirede Drum was adorned with Skulls and Jaw-Bones.
The Prempeh Drum was instituted at Twifo-Hemang to rally round soldiers in time of war, and to summon the people to important political meetings in time of peace.
It was the Akwamu who introduced the Asesedwa, the Four-legged Stoolinto the kingship system, and this spread to Akan and non-Akan tribes. They also evolved the concept of Oman (State), and it spread to both Akan and Non-Akan Areas. Adu Boahen and Wilks refer to Twifo and Akwamu as the earliest of the centralised Akan forest States.
Akwamu made several contributions to Traditional Dancing in the fields ofAdowa and Mmeamu. Adowa spread from Akwamu to Asante.
Akwamu also introduced Adowa to the Gas. All Akans celebrate the Adaefestival, but the Akwamu claimed to have instituted the Akwasidae,Awukudae and Odwira Festivals.
Ansa SasrakuI invented Akwamu Military Organization, which was copied, by Akans and Non- Akans. It consisted of a Central Wing (Adonten); RightWing (Nifa); Left Wing (Benkum); Rearguard (Kyidom); the Household and Bodyguard (Gyase ne Twafo).The Commander in Chief was the Krontihene.
Between 1682 and 1730, the Army consisted of between ten to twenty thousand men. The Akwamu possessed Artillery but the main strength of the army lay in its infantry, which consisted of Musketeers, Bowmen and spearmen. Osei Tutu introduced the war model into Asante, when he recruited Akwamu military Advisers to assist the newly formed Asante Union. After the re-organization of the Army, the post of Deputy Army Commander was evolved and given the name Akwamuhene. To this day, in every Asante State, this officer is still known as Akwamuhene.It was theAnum Bodyguard from Akwamu led by Anum Asamoah who taught the Asantes the military organization and the state-craft.Asamoah became the first Akwamuhene next in command to the Krontihene.
The Anum were also Executioners in Akwamu and they became Executioners in Asante. Akwamu Military, political and social institutions spread from Asante to Akan and Non Akan tribes who came under the Asante Empire when it was established.
Gyaman and Wenchi for example were Akan States who were influenced in this way. Gyamanhene Adinkra did not only model his army on that ofAsante, Asante Military influence was felt among the Dagomba with its Kambonsi Organization in Salaga, Yendi and Gonja.
THE COLLAPSE OF THE EMPIRE
Akwamu collapsed in 1730 as a result of a combination of internal and external factors. Internally, first, the empire grew beyond its optimum size and it was difficult for the resources of the empire to meet the organizational demands required. Second, the rules of succession were not very clear and this led to several patricidal struggles, the most of which ocurred in1730 when Prince Amu joined the Forces of Akuapem and Akyem to defeat Akwamu.
Decades before 1730, there was mounting unrest in the Akwamu Dominions caused largely by the social problems created by a switch from Gold Trade to Slave Trade as the basis of the economy. In 1713, the British signed a contract for the supply of slaves to the Spanish possessions in the "New World" Following this, the rivalry between the British, Dutch and Danish Trading Companies on the Coast become extremely fierce, producing a sharp rise in the export of slaves. In order to cash in order fierce, European competition and satisfy the larger demand, Akwamu looked for new source of supply. In customary law, strict rules governed the processes of Enslavement. The Pawn as security could not be sold, but the Enslaved criminal or one who placed himself voluntarily in slavery could, there were also restrictions on the sale of captives / war prisoners slaves brought from the open markets. Throughout the latter half of the 17th century, Akwamu Traders met the demand for slaves in Accra on the leeward side of the coast by selling member of the saleable grades of the Akwamu Slave population. Slaves who had been employed on the cultivation of the Akwamu fields were made part of the saleable Grades. This had the effect of denuding the farms of their labour and undermining an important element in the economy- Agriculture and pushing the economy towards greater dependence on the Slave Trade.
In first three decades of the 18th century, good government changed to bad government. Power was abused and there began to sprout up all over the country Organization s concerned purely and simply with the illegal enslavement of freemen and women, and their secret sale to the trading companies on o the coast. The Europeans as Siccadingers knew these organizations. This is derived from the Ga word Sikadin (Black Gold). Band of Siccadingers prowled about the countryside at night, pouncing on the inspecting and carrying them into slavery. The Akwamu rulers did not check this abuse and they also became guilty of it. King Akwanno employed his own Bands who raided and kidnapped neighbouring territories. His successor, Ansa Kwao(1725-1730) went even further and sent Bands to enslave his own subjects and to kidnap people from the Akuapem Hills.
Side by side with these Slave-Raiding organization occurred an increase in the deliberate fabrication of "Palavers" aimed specifically at reducing freemen and women to slave Status " Palaver could be " manufactured" against the whole communities. Thousand of Slaves passed through the Accra Forts than ever before. Roemer, the Danish Trader in charge ofChristianborg Castle at OSU, considered that each of the three Accra Forts was able to send off a ship every month with 500-600 slaves on board. This period was one of the prosperity for Akwamu but prosperity was only was won at a price. Unrest and discontent spread not only among the Subject People but also among the Akwamu Commonalty.

There was a deep feeling of soreness and injustice After Akwanno`s death, opposition mounted. In 1726 the people of Berekuso killed a Sword Bearer of the King. In early 1727 open revolts flared up in the Coastal Regions between Accra and Volta. In the East and West the External Enemies that is Dahomey and Akyem were threatening the frontiers of the Empire.
In 1728, the relationship between the European companies in Accra and Akwamu deteriorated. The Dutch Trader Bosman observed that despite the rent s the king of the Akwamu collected from the British and the Danes the Akwamu often harassed the Europeans Companies on the coast of the three companies, that is British, Dutch, the Danish were the hostile. The Dutch and the British were very hostile. The Dutch were of the view that the activities of the Akwamu disrupted the trade with the Inland State. Further more King Ansa Kwoa was portrayed as o man with a hot temperature, who preferred the councillors. With such men in authority under such hostile condition snit was not unlikely that trouble could flare up under the least provocation.
In 1729, the Gas launched a war of independence and joined forces with the Akuapems. They were however defeated by the Akwamus. When the Allied forces realised that they were no match for the Akwamus, they looked elsewhere for assistance. The Akuapems sent a delegation to King of Akyem Abuakwa called Ofori Panin . This delegation to the Akyeame(linguists) of AbiriwLarteh and Adukrom. The Okyenhene agreed to provide them with a force and deputed his own relative Safori, to go to their aid Safori raised a large Army to fight side by side with the Gas, Akuapem and Fantis. This was because of the relationship between Akwamu and Asante.
In July 1730, fighting broke out and the Akwamus were defeated. In November, the capital was ransacked Ansa Kwoa beheaded. The Akwamus were evicted from Nyanoaso and forced to seek a haven across the Volta River. A Division Chief called Bekai led the Abrade Group across the Volta. The removal of the Royal House of Akwamu to its present location at Akwamufie marked the end of Akwamu power.
On the arrival they met the NkonyaKammraAdjena and Kotropei people. The Nkonya had an open conflict with them but they were defeated and force northwards. The rest of the people submitted to Akwamu domintion. After the defeat, the Guans and Kyerepong communities organized themselves into the present Akuapem State. The boundaries were widened to include parts of the Akwamu country. Safori, the Akyem War commander was granted a paramountcy, and together with his followers they founded the Towns of Akropong and Amanokrom, with the consent of the Okyenhene Ofori Guan and kyerepong Tribes into the Unified state of Akuapem. Safori requested them to take the Oath of the Traditional Priest called Kyenku at Obosomase to endose their voluntary allegiance to his rule. The Akyems impose on Akuapem a new political conception, the idea of territorial and secular leadership, in place of immemorial institution of a Ruler who was the High priest of the Clan god or goddess. The Akyem Ruler of Akropong was recognised as the Omanhene of the Akuapem state and Akropong became the focus of the Union. Akwamu Miltary organization was introduced into the union.
While the Akwamu Royal Family and the main Army moved to Akwamufie , others remained. According to Roemer., only about 500 families escaped across the Volta . The remnant Akwamus became concentrated in Asamankese, Akwatia, Kwaaman Tafo. They remained largely Akwamu in character and maintained their political, social and linguistic modes of life. Their Oral traditions give various reasons for not migrating Across the Volta. The first they refused to join in the war against the Akyems in 1730 and they remained neutral. Their neutrality was due to a succession dispute. After King Akwanno, the next line of succession was Amu, but he was by - passed for Ansa Kwao, nephew of Amu . Amu was acting as Envoy of the Akwamus in Accra.
The second reason was the that they resent the oppressive Rule of Akwamu Kings. The Provincial Akwamu resented the over centralized nature of the Akwamu political system. The king had the final say in the affairs of the state, contrary to the Customary Practise that the king should consult all the important Divisional Chief mater of National importance. Everything was centred at Nyanoaso without consulting them. It was not uncommon to find out that king had been sent to wage war on a Neighbouring Tribe without knowing the causes of the raid. Third reason is that they were against the internal witch hurt for slaves. In addiction to the other source of supply, the chief of Asamankese had to supply Remnants at Kade , Apapam and Tafo state is that though they went to war against the Akyems , they decided to make peace with them after experiencing the harsh brutalities of the war. They were not convinced to move across the Volta River.
The defeat of the Akwamus by the Akuapems, Gas and Akyems saw the total take over of all the Akwamu lands up to the Densu River. These lands were incorporated into the Akuapem and Akyem Abuakwa Traditonal Area.,. Up to the present day, there are Social Ties between Akwamus and the town, which were, absorbed into Akyem Abuakwa. At every Odwira festival of the Akwamu, Delegations from the Old Akwamu state are expected to attend. Whenever a new Chief is elected in the old Akwamu town, the Akwanuhene is informed. The Akwamuhene is also the Arbitrator in dispute among the old Akwamus.
In the first Volta Gorge, Akwamu monopolised the Volta Trade and concerned itself with political developments on the coast. Akwamu was fortunately sited on the trade route east of the Volta River. The trade routes that linked Salaga in the interior to Kete-Krachi and coast converged at Akwamufie. The slave and salt route all passed through Akwamufie. By the second half of the 18th centaury, Akwamu controlled the trade east of the Volta River. They continued to portray their fighting and trading and characteristics in their New Homeland.

List of Rulers of the state of Akwamu (formerly Twifo-Heman)

Territory comprised part of present-day southern Ghana
TenureIncumbentNotes
Akwamuhenes (Rulers)
Twifo-Heman
c.1480 to c.1500Agyen KokoboAkwamuheneFounder of Twifo-Heman
c.1500 to c.1520Ofusu KwabiAkwamuhene
c.1520 to c.1540OduroAkwamuhene
c.1540 to c.1560AdoAkwamuhene
Akwamu
c.1560 to c.1575Otumfo AsareAkwamuheneFounder of the Akwamu State, with capital at Asaremankesse
c.1575 to c.1585AkotiaAkwamuheneRelocated capital at Ayandawaase
c.1585 to c.1600Ansa SaserakuAkwamuhene
(Ansa Saseraku I)
c.1600 to c.1620Ansa SaserakuAkwamuhene
(Ansa Saseraku II)
c.1620 to c.1640Ansa Saseraku, Akwamuhene
(Ansa Saseraku III)
c.1640 to c.1660Abuako DakoAkwamuhene
c.1660 to c.1680Afera KumaAkwamuhene
c.1680 to 1702ManukureAkwamuhene
1702 to 1726Akwano PanyiniAkwamuhene
1726 to 1734Dako BoomanAkwamuhene
1734Conquest by the Akyem peoples



Akwamu and 1733 slave insurrection on St. John
The 1733 slave insurrection on St. John in the Danish West Indies, (now St. John, United States Virgin Islands) started on November 23, 1733 when African slaves from Akwamu revolted against the owners and managers of the island's plantations. The slave rebellion was one of the earliest and longest slave revolts in the Americas. The Akwamu slaves captured the fort in Coral Bay and took control of most of the island, intending to resume crop production under their own control and use other ethnic Africans as slave labor. The revolt ended in mid-1734 when several hundred French and Swiss troops sent from Martinique defeated the Akwamu.
In their homeland many of the Akwamu were nobles, wealthy merchants or other powerful members of their society; marooning was a natural response to their intolerable living conditions, as they did not accept the status of slaves. (SEE: 1733 St. John's Slave Revolt, Discovery Channel: Moments in Time link title Narrator: James Woods; Actor: Jamall Sprauve; Actress: Jackie Smalls). The Akwamu intended to take control of St. John in the insurrection and rule it, continuing the production of sugar and other crops. They would use other slaves of differing tribal origin as slave laborers in turn. The leader of the revolt was an Akwamu chief, King June, a field slave and foreman on the Sødtmann estate. Other leaders were Kanta, King Bolombo, Prince Aquashie, and Breffu. According to a report by a French planter, Pierre Pannet, the rebel leaders met regularly at night to develop the plan.
 Outrageous! The artist made these slaves stand in the same position for three weeks. Read this article: "The Akwamu: the beginning of the end of Danish colonial power' here:http://cphpost.dk/culture/through-looking-glass/akwamu-beginning-end-danish-colonial-power


Events on November 23, 1733
The 1733 slave insurrection started with open acts of rebellion on November 23, 1733 at the Coral Bay plantation owned by Magistrate Johannes Sødtmann. An hour later, slaves were admitted into the fort at Coral Bay to deliver wood. They had hidden knives in the lots, which they used to kill most of the soldiers at the fort. One soldier, John Gabriel, escaped to St. Thomas and alerted the Danish officials. A group of rebels under the leadership of King June stayed at the fort to maintain control, another group took control of the estates in the Coral Bay area after hearing the signal shots from the fort's cannon. The slaves killed many of the whites on these plantations. The rebel slaves then moved to the north shore of the island. They avoided widespread destruction of property since they intended to take possession of the estates and resume crop production.
Accounts of the rebel attacks
After gaining control of the Suhm, Sødtmann, and Company estates, the rebels began to spread out over the rest of the island. The Akwamus attacked the Cinnamon Bay Plantation located on the central north shore. Landowners John and Lieven Jansen and a group of loyal slaves resisted the attack and held off the advancing rebels with gunfire. The Jansens were able to retreat to their waiting boat and escape to Durloe's Plantation. The loyal Jansen slaves were also able to escape. The rebels looted the Jansen plantation and moved on to confront the whites held up at Durloe's plantations. The attack on Durloe's plantation was repelled, and many of the planters and their families escaped to St. Thomas
End of the rebellion and the aftermath
Two French ships arrived at St. John on April 23, 1734 with several hundred French and Swiss troops to try to take control from the rebels. With their firepower and troops, by mid-May they had restored planters' rule of the island. The French ships returned to Martinique on June 1, leaving the local militia to track down the remaining rebels. The slave insurrection ended on August 25, 1734 when Sergeant Øttingen captured the remaining maroon rebels. The loss of life and property from the insurrection caused many St. John landowners to move to St. Croix, a nearby island sold to the Danish by the French in 1733.
Franz Claasen, a loyal slave of the van Stell family, was deeded the Mary Point Estate for alerting the family to the rebellion and assisting in their escape to St. Thomas. Franz Claasen's land deed was recorded August 20, 1738 by Jacob van Stell, making Claasen the first 'Free Colored' landowner on St. John.
The slave trade ended in the Danish West Indies on January 1, 1803, but slavery continued on the islands. When the British emancipated their slaves in the British West Indies in 1838, slaves on St. John began escaping to nearby Tortola and other British islands. On May 24, 1840, eleven slaves from St. John stole a boat and escaped to Tortola during the night. The eight men (Charles Bryan, James Jacob, Adam [alias Cato], Big David, Henry Law, Paulus, John Curay), and three women (Kitty, Polly, and Katurah) were from the Annaberg plantation (one) and Leinster Bay (10) estates. Brother Schmitz, the local Moravian missionary, was sent to Tortola by the St. John police to persuade the slaves to return. After meeting with the Tortola officials and the runaway slaves, Schmitz returned to St. John to relay the slaves' resolve to stay away because of abusive treatment by the overseers on the plantations. After the overseers were replaced, Charles Bryan, his wife Katurah, and James Jacobs returned to work at Leinster Bay. Kitty, Paulus, David, and Adam moved to St. Thomas. Henry Law, Petrus, and Polly West Indies on Tortola. John Curry relocated to Trinidad. None of the runaway slaves were punished.
On July 3, 1848, 114 years after the slave insurrection, enslaved Afro-Caribbeans of St. Croix had a non-violent, mass demonstration; the Governor-General declared emancipation throughout the Danish West Indies.

Economy: Akwamu people are pastoral agricultural people that engaged in crop planting. They plant cassava, yams, plantain and vegetables like onion, pepper, tomatoes etc. Some of Akwamu people also engage in rearing of sheep and goat as well as cattle.

                        Akwamu people observing a farm

Religious Belief
Akwamu belief in almighty "twediempon onyankopon"/Nyame (the supreme creator). It is a god above all god that created all the gods. Akwamu like Akans call on him whenever they are in need. They revere Onyankopon/Nyame. In prayers to the other lesser "abosom" (lesser family/communal gods), Nyame is shown with alcohol but is never given any. The libation maker would say "twediempon Nyame wokyere wo nsa so y3 ma wo nsa" (almighty god above we show you drink but we cannot offer you some). This signifies Akan (Akwamu) belief in a Sky God.
Apart from nyame the  Akwamu also have lesser 'suman" (family/ancestral gods) and "aman bosom" (community gods) that they make prayers to for protection and prosperity.
Many of the Akwamu people are now christians.

Ceremonies and Rites
Akwamu like all other Akans have rites for initiating their youths into adolescent stage. In the past women who reaches the age of adolescent are made to undergo "bragor" (menstral rites) by being confined in rooms for some days to receive advice from their elders. These teachings include how to do domestic chores,marriage techniques and social norms.After undergoing through these process, a final day is then reserved for the women to be purified by bathing in a stream and after that they are clad in white cloth to signify their purity. Animals such as fowls and either goat or sheep are slaughtered to prepare soup for them. Marshed yam mixed with eggs are then served to the initiates to glorify their "kra" (soul).
Apart from this initiation rite,Akwamu just like all Akans also have festivals they celebrate. These include Odwira,Akwasidae but the greatest one which the Akwamu are noted for is their own Adae festival.



Adae Festival

The Akwamu people initiated many of the traditional festivals celebrated by the Akan peoples of Ghana. As a result of the prominent role they played in the political and economic developments in the early European contact with the peoples of West Africa, many ethnic groups in the coastal and forest regions, adopted some of the essential elements of Akwamu cultural festivals and adapted them to suit their own political and spiritual needs. In his book Festivals of Ghana, Professor A.A. Opoku presents a detailed account of many festivals celebrated by the Akan people and other ethnic groups. Two of such festivals relevant to Akwamu history and culture are extracted from Professor Opoku’s book for the purpose of deepening knowledge about the pivotal role played by the Akwamu people in the history of Ghana. He

emphasizes the importance of celebration of festivals as thus:

“At a time when the need for money is forcing Ghanaians 
to leave their towns and villages to look for work elsewhere, 
the festivals offer the best opportunity to go back to our heritage, 
renew old ties and draw inspiration for the future”

Opoku A.A.’ Festivals of Ghana,Ghana Publishing Corporation, Accra,1970

The following are excerpts from Prof. Opoku’s book.

The Akan calendar year is divided into nine cycles of forty days called Adae. The adae, however, does not merely mark a period in time, but it is also observed as a special day of worship. It is the day on which the chief and his elders go to the place where the sacred stools are kept.The spirits of the departed chiefs, it is believed, rest in the stools kept for them after their death. These stools are blackened with soot and the yolk of eggs to make them last long. They are sometimes wrapped in camel-hair blankets and laid on their sides in the dark room called nkonguafieso or stool-house. Only chiefs who do well in office are honoured in this way because the Akan say "it is the good spirit that deserves the feast of sheep".
The sacred stool has two uses. It is the shrine into which the spirit, or soul, of good chiefs may again be called upon to enter on special occasions such as the Adae. It is also a means by which we can tell the number of chiefs that have ruled over the tribe. Perhaps you know someone called Adae. The word means a resting-place. It is the name of the special day on which we are allowed to go into the room where the spirits of our forefathers rest. We shall soon see what the chief and his elders go to do at the nkonguafieso. In the meantime let us find out how the Adae is reckoned.

There are two types of Adae observed in every one of the nine cycles mentioned earlier on. These are the Sunday Adae, known as Akwasidae and the Wednesday Adae called Awukudae.
The period between one Sunday adae and the next is 40 days. The Awukudae or Wednesday adaes are also separated by the same period. The Wednesday cidcies come between the Sunday ones. There are 23 days between a Sunday adae and the Wednesday adae that comes after it, but the gap between a Wednesday adae and the Sunday one following it is 17 days.
We have already mentioned that adae means a resting or sleeping place. The main rites in the adae festival are observed in the stool-house or room.


The Akan live with the spirits of their dead. They believe that the souls of their dead relatives are still near to them and they call upon them in times of trouble. They ask for their guidance and make them offers of drinks and eggs, chicken and sheep.
On adae days, water, food, meat and rum are taken to the shrines. The dead are then invited to continue to help those over whom they ruled when they were alive. Not all people are allowed into the stool-house. Only those who perform the rites and a few who are related to the chief go there. Of those who go in, only the chief and the royal princes wear their sandals. We shall return to the rites that are performed in the stool house, but let us go back to the preparations for the Adae.


The day immediately before the adae is called Dapaa. There is the Saturday that comes before the Sunday adae, called Memeneda Dapaa. The Tuesdaypreceding the Wednesday adae is also called Benada Dapaa. Children born on the dapaa days are called Dapaa just as those born on adae days are called Adae. The Dapaa is the day of preparation for the Adae.
Foodstuffs, firewood, water, drinks, chicken, sheep, eggs and all the articles required for the celebration of the Adae are brought home on the Dapaa. On Adae days, no work or travel may be done except duties connected with the celebration.


The Dapaa is also the time for tidying up the house and its surroundings. Villages and towns and wells and footpaths leading to them are also cleaned.
There is much activity at the chief's house. Attendants and stool-carriers scrub the white stools and calabashes needed for the Adae celebration. The hornblowers and state drummers also busy themselves tuning the instruments which they will use to usher in the Adae in the evening of the Dapac. At sundown, when all the preparations are complete, the drummers assemble at the chief's house and drum till late in the night,
Only a few people are allowed to enter the stool house with their sandals on.
On the adae day, the "Divine Drummer", that is the chief's principal drummer, rises early in the morning and drums the following piece, (the words vary from place to place):
Cheng, cheng, cheng, heng, heng, heng,
Ofuruntum tree, tweneboa tree,
Tall drummer Amponua the Gunpowder.
Great Dwora and Nnummire Akurampn String,
Obua Kwaku, the drummer's wedge and prop,
Divine Drummer says: I have bestirred myself.
Mighty and Valiant Ofori,
When the Creator created things What did he create?
He created the Ohene,
He created the court-crier,
He created the drummer,
He created Okyere Kwawuo,

the Mighty one
That feeds on human heads.
He found two, three little birds; Which part of me would you have for meat?
Dwamena will have my middle part. Oboama Dwamena Antwi the fearful one,
Mighty King of Okyere Kwawuo, the
Mighty one,
I salute-you sir,
I bid you "Good adae dawn." Great Nyankomago will return the Divine Drummer;
Great Nyankomago came in company of the Divine Drummer: 
Okotommirifa Gyanadu the fair coloured one,
Ampasakyi that swallows the phant,
Elephant that breaks the axe,
Elephant, the Divine Drummer says
He has bestirred himself at dawn,
This early, early, early morn
The hooked stick that bends and pulls
The thicket and thorny climbers;
Won't you come and join with me in play?
King that captures kings,
Go fetch me drink,
Fetch me rum that I may drink.

An hour or so after this awakening call, the drummer again calls the chief in the following message:

Great and Valiant Ofori,
I am off to Abirem Akyem,
I am going to the stool house Where room encloses room.
King of hosts
Who is ever sought for an ally in battle


Benevolent great killer
Vanguard amongst equals
Unconquerable one,
Dread of the old and the young
Grandson of Ofori of the Asona Clan
He that balances the keg of gunpowder upon his head
And somersaults over the flames, He that bends the sword with ease Out, and come with me!
Out, and come with me!


This soon brings the chief and those of his people who are to enter the stool house. The ritual in this "Holy of Holies" begins with the pouring of a calabashful of water at the entrance to the room by the chief stool attendant. By this, he invites the spirits to come out and wash their hands to prepare for the feast to which they will presently be invited.
Ritual food of mashed yam or plantain is then brought into the room. The chief stool attendant or steward takes ladlefuls of this and hands it to the chief. The chief in turn moves from one sacred stool to the other and places portions of the food upon them. He begins with the first stool of the dynasty and ends with the one immediately preceding him in office. While performing this rite, the chief slips off his sandals and tucks his cloth round his waist as a sign of respect for his lords. For the same reason, he dresses in an old cloth, usually adinkra or kuntunkuni.


While placing the food upon the stools, the chief says:
Spirits of my grandsires,
Today is Adae;
Come and receive this food
And visit Us with prosperity;
Permit the bearers of children to bear children;

Grant health to your servant;

Grant health to the Queen Mother; Grant health to the Nation.

Let no evil come upon the town; To him who wishes evil
Let evil fall upon himself.

At the end of each line of the prayer,
the hornblower blows his horn in praise of the ancestors. He recalls their great deeds to remind the ruling chief of what is expected of him.
When the spirits of the departed chiefs have had their meal, the remainder of the ritual food is taken outside the stool room and sprinkled in the courtyard for the spirits of the dead courtiers and attendants.
At this stage, one attendant carries in a sheep upon his shoulders. On certain special occasions, say on the Adae K€se or Big Adae, the sheep is carried before the stools by the chief himself as a sign of high respect. This is the most impressive part of the ceremony.
The sheep is slaughtered, that is to say the throat is cut and the blood collected into a wooden bowl. This is smeared on the Seats of the stools. Meanwhile the chief and his elders retire to the courtyard of the stool house. The attendants follow them later with what remains of the sheep's blood and use it to mark the chest and forehead of the chief and all present.
The sheep is then flayed and choice parts are cut up, skewered and roasted on a fire made in the courtyard. Pieces of the fat from the entrails are pasted on the centre props of the sacred stools and the head and parts of the intestines are placed before the stools. The skewered meat is placed Upon the stools. This, however, does not complete the courses of this ritual feast. The Queen Mother prepares fufu with the rest of the meat and places it before the stools. No salt is put into the food. I suppose you know why. The belief is that spirits do not eat salt. They prefer their food to be saltless.
When the final course of the meal is set before the stools, an attendant rings a bell to signify that the spirits are eating. Rum is now poured upon all the stools by the chief stool attendant and the rest is passed round to all present. The offerings remain upon the stools till late in the evening when all but the pieces of fat are removed.

              Akwamu sub-chief Nana Gyansare and his elders

The ritual in the stool house over, the chief retires finally to the main courtyard. By now all the lesser chiefs and those of his subjects who have come to wish him "adae morn" have assembled. The drums beat and the horns flourish till dusk when the celebration comes to an end.
In most Akan states the ninth or final Adae, usually referred to as Adae Kese, is observed as the state festival or Odwira. This festival, which covers an entire week marks the end of the old year and the beginning of the new.


Source:http://www.akuapem.com/akwamu.html
          wikipedia.org/wiki/1733_slave_insurrection_on_St._John
          http://akwamuman.org/


                               King of the Akwamu people


 Akwamu King Nana Kwafo Akoto III being given the staff of office during his enstoolment as the King of Akwamu state


                      Akwamu King being carried in a palanquin








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