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Ahanta people

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Ahanta people

Ahanta
Total population
~500,000
Regions with significant populations
Western Region Ghana
Languages
Ahanta, Fante/Twi
Religion
African traditional religion, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Akan

The Ahantas are an Akan people who live to the north of the Nzema. Ahanta literally means the land of Twins. The Ahanta land has been historically known as one of the richest areas on the coast of what is now Ghana. The country of Ahanta, in what is now the Western Region of the Republic of Ghana, comprised a regional power in the form of a confederacy of chiefdoms which had come in early contact with the European nations settling on the Gold Coast for the purpose of trade.[1]

Origin

The Ahantas like their fellow Akan people migrated from the antique Akan kingdom of Bono state.

Contact with Europeans

In 1656 signed the Treaty of Butre and agreed to become a protectorate of the Dutch. This treaty lasted until 1872. This ended up being one of the longest treaties signed between an African state and a European state. The relationship between the Ahanta and the Dutch was at times volatile. This includes when an Ahanta chief seized one of the forts the Dutch were using for trading, including slave trading, and resisted the cannon fire of ships and fought off a regiment of 120 soldiers. This history if this is still celebrated today in Jamaica under the name Jonkanoo.

Other incidents include one in 1837 when the king of Ahanta, Baidoo Bonsoe II (Badu Bonsu II), rebelled against the Dutch government, and killed several officers, including acting governor Tonneboeijer because of his dislike of how the Dutch operated in his region. He was later killed and had his head taken used for experiments at Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands. The head was later returned in 2009 [2]

Culture

The Ahanta people celebrate the Kundum festival.

Kundum is a harvest festival and involves dancing, drumming, and feasting. It was in its original state a religious festival that was used to expel evil spirits from the town. Today, Kundum is celebrated as a way to preserve the culture of the Ahanta people and neighboring Nzema. The festival previously was one month long but, has recently been condensed to eight days.

Art

Religion

Ahantas practice traditional African religion, Christianity, and Islam to a lesser extent.

Ahanta people today

Ahanta people today have assimilated under the common Ghanaian identity where ethnicity does not play a big role as it previously did.

References


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