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The Akwamu

The Akwamu

The Akwamu

access_time November 19, 2011 chat_bubble_outline 15 comments
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The Akwamu(also called Aquambo) was a state set up by the Akan people in Ghana which existed in the 17th century and 18th century. Originally immigrating from Bono state, the founders settled in Twifo-Heman. The Akwamu created an expansionist empire in the 16th and 17th century. That is to say, the Akwamu at the peak of their empire created an influential state and, culture which has affected at least three countries in West Africa.


The Akwamus like most Akans also migrated from Bono Manso to settle at the Twifo-Heman forest at the later part of the 16th century. This group of Akans belonged to the Aduana family and are blood brothers of Asumennya, Dormaa and Kumawu. According to oral tradition it was as a result of succession dispute that compelled Otomfuo (brass-smith) Asare to desert the family to form a new state or city called Asaremankesee- Asares big state. The modern city of Asaamankese was originally founded and occupied by the Akwamus.

Akwamus expansion started between 1629 1710 and this took them to places like the whole Akuapem area including Kyerepon and Larteh, Denkyera, Ga-Adangbe, the Ladoku states of Agona, Winneba, Afram plains, Southern Togoland and finally Ouidah in present Benin. The powerful king Nana Ansa Sasraku l annexed the Guans and took over the traditional areas of the Kyerepons and ruled over them until Asonaba Nana Ofori Kuma and his followers after a succession dispute in their effort to form their own State engaged them in a fierce war after which the Akwamus were driven away from the mountains.

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These Asona family members and their followers then were given a piece of land from the original settlers the Guans, Kyerepons, to form the Akuapem state. However, most of the present Akuapems still have their roots at Akwamufie especially those bearing the names Addo and Akoto or from the Aduana family.

Nana Ansa Sasraku also played an important role in the life of the King Osei Tutu of Asante. He protected him from the Denkyiras and when he was called to take over the Kwaaman stool Nana Ansa Sasraku provided him with 300 Asafomen from Akwamu to guide him to Kwaaman. When Nana Osei Tutu arrived, he gave all the men to Kwaaman Asafohene and they became citizens of Asafo and that won the Kumase Asafohene the title Akwamuhene of Kumase. According to oral tradition, the whole structure of the Asante army that was started by Nana Osei Kofi Tutu l and helped the Asantes through many wars, was a replicate of the well organised Akwamu army.

Nana Osei Tutu was also assisted by the Anumfuo (later Adumfuo) who accompanied him from Akwamu, in execution cases. A large number of the Asantes of today originated from Akwamu especially, people from Asafo and Adum as well as sections of people from Bantama and Barekese.

After the death of Nana Ansa Sasraku, he was succeeded by two kings collectively, Nana Addo Panin and Nana Basua. It was during this time that the Akwamus took over the possession of the Danish Castle at Christianborg or Osu.

Because of the cordial relationship that existed between Akwamu and Asante, during the 19th century expansion of Asante, the Akwamu unlike most states after war, was never annexed by Asantes but rather the Akwamu Stool became the husband of the Asante Stool during the reign of Nana Odeneho Kwafo Akoto l. That is the reason why during the Golden Anniversary of Nana Kwafo Akoto ll Nana Opoku Ware ll crossed the Pra river to spend two days at Akwamufie.

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At the peak of their power the Akwamu state had embraced much of the Eastern part of the Gold Coast and traditionally Between 1677 and 1681 the Akwamu state conquered the states of Ladoku, Agona and Whydah as well as the Ewe people of the Ho region. The Akwamu also conquered the Ga people and occupied the old Ga Kingdom.

In 1693, the Asimani of Akwamu lead a raid and seized Osu Castle (currently 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.  In the 1720s a civil war in the Akwamu state caused the state’s disintegration. Most of the King’s allies were sold away as slaves and transported to the Caribbean island of St. John. In 1733 they fomented a slave revolt there.

In 1734 the Akwamu were defeated by the Akyem and, the previously illustrious empire was put to an end. The Akwamu were pushed to Akwamufie which is the location of their current capital.

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

Territory comprised part of present-day southern Ghana
Tenure     Incumbent     Notes
Akwamuhenes (Rulers)
c.1480 to c.1500     Agyen Kokobo, Akwamuhene     Founder of Twifo-Heman
c.1500 to c.1520     Ofusu Kwabi, Akwamuhene
c.1520 to c.1540     Oduro, Akwamuhene
c.1540 to c.1560     Ado, Akwamuhene
c.1560 to c.1575     Otumfo Asare, Akwamuhene     Founder of the Akwamu State, with capital at Asaremankesse
c.1575 to c.1585     Akotia, Akwamuhene     Relocated capital at Ayandawaase
c.1585 to c.1600     Ansa Saseraku, Akwamuhene
(Ansa Saseraku I)
c.1600 to c.1620     Ansa Saseraku, Akwamuhene
(Ansa Saseraku II)
c.1620 to c.1640     Ansa Saseraku, Akwamuhene
(Ansa Saseraku III)
c.1640 to c.1660     Abuako Dako, Akwamuhene
c.1660 to c.1680     Afera Kuma, Akwamuhene
c.1680 to 1702     Manukure, Akwamuhene
1702 to 1726     Akwano Panyini, Akwamuhene
1726 to 1734     Dako Booman, Akwamuhene
1734     Conquest by the Akyem peoples

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