Chapter 1: Akan people
The Akan are a meta-ethnicity and Potou-Tano Kwa ethno-linguistic group residing on the Gulf of Guinea in the southern regions of the former Gold Coast region in what are today the republics of Ghana and the Ivory Coast in West Africa.
Akans are the largest meta-ethnicity and ethno-linguistic group in both countries and have a population of roughly 20 million people. The Akan language (also known as Twi-Fante) is a group of dialects within the Central Tano branch of the Potou-Tano Kwa language family. Also included under the term “Akan” are the Bia languages (in which case it is common to speak of “Akan languages”, as a group of languages).
Subgroups of the Akan proper include: Asante, Akuapem and Akyem (the Asante, Akuapem and Akyem dialects are together known as Twi), Agona, Kwahu, Wassa, Fante (Fanti or Mfantse: Anomabo, Abura, Gomua) and Brong. Subgroups of the Bia-speaking groups include: the Anyin, Baoule, Chakosi (Anufo), Sefwi (Sehwi), Nzema, Ahanta and Jwira-Pepesa. The Akan subgroups have cultural attributes in common, notably the tracing of descent, inheritance of property, and succession to high political office.
Chap 2: Kingdom of Ashanti
The Ashanti (also spelled Asante) Empire (1701-1957) was a West African sovereign state of the Ashanti people of Ashantiland (Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Central region, Eastern region, Greater Accra region, and Western region, of present-day southern Ghana). The Ashanti ethnic group are a Akan origin, historically inhabiting an area known as Ashantiland. They used their military power, which came from effective strategy and an early adoption of firearms, to create an empire that stretched from central Ghana to present-day Ivory Coast. Due to the empire’s military prowess, wealth, architecture, sophisticated hierarchy and culture, the Ashanti empire was studied and had one of the largest historiographies by European, primarily British, sources of any indigenous Sub-Saharan African political entity.
From the 17th century AD, Asanteman king Osei Tutu (c.?1695 – 1717), along with Okomfo Anokye, established the Kingdom of Asanteman, with the Golden Stool of Asante as a singular unifying symbol. Osei Tutu engaged in a massive Asante territorial expansion. He built up the army based on introducing new organization and turning a disciplined royal and paramilitary army into an effective fighting machine. In 1701, the Asanteman army conquered Denkyira, giving the Ashanti access to the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean coastal trade with Europeans, notably the Dutch. King Opoku Ware I (1720-1745) engaged in further Akan territorial expansion, and king Kusi Obodom (1750-1764) succeeded king Opoku Ware I. Asante king Osei Kwadwo (1764-1777) imposed administrative reforms that allowed Asanteman to be governed effectively. King Osei Kwame Panyin (1777-1803), and King Osei Tutu Kwame (1804-1824) continued Asanteman territorial consolidation.
Asanteman is the location of Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana’s only natural lake. The state’s current economic revenue is derived mainly from trading in gold bars, cocoa, kola nuts and agriculture; clearing forest to plant cassava, maize and yams.
Today the Ashanti monarchy continues as a constitutionally protected, sub-nation state and traditional state within Ghana. The current king of Asanteman is Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Asantehene.
Chap 3: Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is the gold rich region that is now the nation of Ghana on the petroleum sweet crude oil and natural gas rich Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, Africa.
The Gold Coast, Slave Coast, and Ivory Coast were named after the resources there. Early uses of the term refer literally to the coast and not the interior. It was not until the 19th century that the term came to refer to areas that are far from the coast. It was to the east of the Ivory Coast and to the west of the Slave Coast.
Chap 4: United Gold Coast Convention
The United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) was a political party whose aim was to bring about Ghanaian independence from the British after the Second World War.
In the 1940s, African merchants, such as George Alfred Grant (“Paa Grant”), were ready to finance the organization of a political movement to assure their commercial interests in the face of unfair colonial practices. The party was founded by J. B. Danquah on 4 August 1947 as a combination of chiefs, academics and lawyers, including R. A. Awoonor-Williams, Edward Akufo-Addo, and Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey.
On 10 December 1947, Kwame Nkrumah returned to the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana) accepting Danquah’s invitation to become the UGCC General Secretary. Big Six member Ebenezer Ako-Adjei recommended inviting Nkrumah, whom he had met at Lincoln University. Nkrumah was offered a salary of �250, and Paa Grant paid the boat fare from Liverpool to Ghana. Danquah and Nkrumah subsequently disagreed over the direction of the independence movement and parted ways after two years. Nkrumah went on to form the Convention People’s Party and eventually became the first president of independent Ghana.
The UGCC disbanded after performing poorly in the 1951 elections.
Chap 5: The Big Six
The Big Six were six leaders of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), the leading political party in the British colony of the Gold Coast. They were detained by the colonial authorities in 1948 following disturbances leading to the killing of three World War II veterans. They are pictured on the front of the Ghana cedi notes.
Chapter 6: Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah, P.C. (18 or 21 September 1909- 27 April 1972) was the leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1951 to 1966. He became the first Prime Minister of the Gold Coast in 1951, and led it to independence as Ghana in 1957, becoming the new country’s first Prime Minister. After Ghana became a republic in 1960, Nkrumah became President. An influential 20th-century advocate of Pan-Africanism, he was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity and was the winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1963. He saw himself as an African Lenin.
Chapter 7: Ghana
Ghana officially called the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign multinational state and unitary presidential constitutional democracy, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238,535 km2, Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. The word Ghana means “Warrior King” in Mande.
Ghana has a population of approximately 27 million, from a variety of ethnic and religious groups. Its varied geography includes savannas, forests, springs, cave systems, mountains, estuaries, and nature reserves. Ghana’s 560 kilometres (350 miles) coast is dotted by culturally significant castles, forts, and harbours. Prior to colonisation by the British empire in the early-20th century, Ghana was the site of numerous kingdoms and empires, the most powerful being the Kingdom of Ashanti. In 1957, it became the first African nation to declare independence from European colonisation. This made the country a symbol of black achievement and an inspiration for African independence movements. It also had a major influence on Pan-Africanism and the Black Pride movements in the United States of America.