AKAN PEOPLE AND CULTURAL ASTUTENESS
This article was compiled by Jodi Phillips April 2014, for the Institute of Black Academics
concerning Black Under achievement.
PUBLISHED 09 APRIL 2013 05:26
The Akan people are a historically important ethnic group of West Africa. With over 20 million members the Akans
are one of the biggest Ethnic groups in West Africa today. The Akan are the largest ethnic group in both Ghana and
the Ivory Coast. The Akan speak Kwa languages which are part of the larger Niger-Congo family.
Origin and Ethnogenesis
The greater Akan people (macro-ethnic group) speak Kwa languages. The proto-Kwa language is believed to have
come from East/Central Africa, before settling in the Sahel.
The people who became known as the Akan migrated from the Sahel to coastal west Africa. The kingdom of Bonoman was firmly established in the 12th century by the Akan people. Bonoman was a trading state between the Akan and neighboring people especially those from Djenné. During different phases of the Bonoman empire groups of Akans migrated out of the area to create numerous states based predominantly on gold mining and trading of farm products.
From the 15th century to the 19th century, the Akan people dominated gold mining and the gold trade in the region.
From the 17th century on, the Akan were among the most powerful group(s) in west Africa. They fought many
battles against the European colonists to maintain autonomy. During the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, enslaved Akans
such as the Coromantins of Jamaica and descendants of the Akwamu in St. John, and many others were responsible
for many slave rebellions in the new world.
By the early 1900s, all Akan lands in Africa were colonized or protectorates of the French and English. On the 6th of
March 1957, Akan lands in the Gold Coast rejected British rule, by the efforts of Kwame Nkrumah, and were joined
with British Togoland to form the independent nation of Ghana. The Ivory Coast became independent on 7 August
Akan Subgroups include, The Akan Ethnic group includes the following subgroups: Ashanti, the Akwamu, the Akyem , the Akuapem, the Denkyira, the Abron, the Aowin, the Ahanta, the Anyi, the Baoule, the Chokosi, the Fante, the Kwahu, the Sefwi, the Ahafo, the Assin, the Evalue, the Wassa the Adjukru, the Akye, the Alladian, the Attie,the M'Bato, the Abidji, the Avikam,the Avatime the Ebrie, the Ehotile, the Nzema, the Abbe, the Aboure, the Coromantins, the Ndyuka people
and other peoples of both modern day Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire or of origin in these countries
[Source : Saylor.org]