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The Larteh Story

The story of Larteh Akuapem cannot be told in isolation without a little about the Guans, Ga or Accra, Akyem and Akwamu history.

The indigenous inhabitants on the Akuapem Mountains are the Guans which consists of Larteh (comprising Larteh, Mamfe, Abotakyi, Mampong, Obosomase, and Tutu) and the OKERE or Kyerepong (Comprising Abiriw, Dawu, Awukugua, Adukrom, Apirede, Abonse-Asesieso).

Larteh lies on parallel ridge to the east on the Akonnobepow, while the rest of the towns lie in line along the crest of the main ridge on Bewasebepow.

In general, the oral tradition of Larteh is very rich. They provide valuable corroboration of the massive documentations for the period in the archives of the early missionaries and merchants.

The origin and meaning of the name LARTEH is synonyms with ‘La’(fire) ‘te’ (stone). Larteh, therefore means ‘fire-stone’ or ‘Fire-grate’. And according to this interpretation, the La Boni people represented the fire, while the Larteh, the grate.

Legend has it that the founding fathers of Larteh carried with them flint stone to ignite fire, and for this reason the La who travelled from Boni on the Niger Delta fraternized with the Larteh during their journey along the beach.

The people of Larteh, Kpeshie and La originated from the Les who originally occupied the coast before the arrival of the Gá; The La are closely related to the Larteh, the people of Gbese, the Agotimes and the original inhabitants of Osu. However, the oral traditions of the La suggest that their people were part of the original Gá, and that the town was in fact founded by descendants of a brother of Ayi Kushi; hence in constitutional matters the La Mantse deputises for the Gá Mantse in all issues affecting the Gá polity.

After briefly settling at Ayawaso the La seems to have re-located to Ladoku and from thence to Podoku. The Las, under Adjei Onano and Numo Ngmashie his great chief, appear to have been granted land by the king of Nungua who owned all the land between Nungua and Osu; the grant was against the expressed wishes of Borketey Larweh, the priest of Nungua. After a dispute over water rights and alleged murder of a La princess, the Labadis proposed to have a hand each cut off from Sowa, the high priest and Borketey Larweh. After Borketey Larweh's hand had been cut off the La reneged on their part of the bargain; as a result, Borketey Larweh is said to have vanished into the sea.

Various traditions indicate that Teshie was founded by Nii Mgmashie, a nephew of the mankralo of Labadi. The town soon attracted other Gá-Dangme peoples, including Aseres, Nunguas, Krobos, Obutus, Pramprams. It therefore grew to become one of the principal Gá-Dangme towns.

Due to their location Tema and Kpone tended to feature less prominently in Gá-Dangme history and politics than their present importance suggests. A considerable early presence of Les in the vicinity of Tema was overlain by immigrant Gá and Dangme peoples. Although Kpone is a Dangme town it appears to be more influenced than other Dangme towns by Gá language and culture. With the re-location of people of Tema New Town on Kpone traditional lands it appears that the future of Tema and Kpone is intertwined.

The main Ga goup known as the Tumgwa We led by Ayi Kushie arrived by sea. When the Guans (Lartehs) on the coast saw them on their canoes on sea they looked like ants. Hence the Lartehs refer to them as Nkran (ants). Nkran was later corrupted by the Danes to Akra then to present day Accra. Nkran in the Ga language is Gaga, thus they also started calling themselves Ga. Due to their sheer numbers, the Lartehs thus relocated to the Hills. The Ga are also part of the main Guan group that started the initial migration from the Nubia Empire.

The Guan speaking people live mostly in Ghana though there are some pockets in Togo, Benin and Cote D’Ivoire. Modern historians more or less agree that since time immemorial the Guans have been the original inhabitants of Ghana, because unlike the Akan who arrived from Bouna in the north west, the Ewe from Notsie in Togo in about 1720, the Ga-Adangbe from certain parts in Nigeria and the Mossie-Dagomba group of state who emigrated from the north-east ,the Guans, on the other hand, migrated from nowhere thus Ghana is the ancestral homeland of the Guans. Another school of thought is that the Guans migrated from Israel through Nubia in East Africa to the west of Africa with their capital at Timbuktu.

Even the pockets of the Guans in Togo (The Anyanga), those In Benin (The Gbede, Wese, Okomfo) and the Baule In Cote D'Ivoire claim migrant origin from Ghana. There are numerous studies, which support Guans claim to their autochonous (i.e. aboriginal) status. There is a factual information provided by Professor Adu Boahene who says; neither the Akan nor the Ga-Adangbe found the coastal district of Ghana unoccupied.

It is clear from oral tradition as well as the linguistic evidence that these immigrants met the Guans who were living in these areas in different degrees of concentrations and political organization”. These Guans are represented today by the Anum, Kyerepong, Larteh, Basa, Breku, Etsii, Afutu, and Asebu.

When these immigrants arrived, they pushed the Guans eastwards and southwards and either totally or partially assimilated the Guan culturally and ethnically (vide: a thousand years of west African history 1970.page.167).

By 1482, when the Portuguese led by Don Diogo d’Azambuja negotiated with the local chief of Edena for the construction of a fort, there were not any Fante, Ga, Ewe on the coast. The Edena people originated from one of the ancient Guan kingdoms namely Aguafo, the rest were Asebu,  Fetu near Capecoast, Agona in the Central Region and Guan kingdom in the Afram plains under the Ataaras, they were all state builders.

Gonja is the oldest Guan settlement, but whether or not it is the nursery ground and the guans ideas or institutions, is one of the  problems which archaeologists are now called upon to solve. But one thing is certain, and that is the patrilineal groups so typical of the Guans definitely evolved here.

Historians assert that the growing power of the Songhai empire pushed the Mossi-Dagomgba ancestors south of Niger bend, so that by AD 1333 they become a threat to the very survival of the Guans in the Gonjaland , these waves of Guans moved southwards in search of nucleated settlements.

Earlier the desire to move southwards into the forest country had been felt by the Guan, because the climate and vegetation were not conducive to intensive human occupation. Eventually members of the kindred group broke away and wandered afield to their present habitats.

The first group penetrated in the Afram plains where they built a powerful state under the Ataaras. The last of the Ataaras, by name king Ataara Ofinam VIII, was ousted by the Akan who migrated from Adansi in a seven-year war (1690-1697) so the inhabitants fled to Atwode Akpafu, Lolobi, Logba, Kpado,Abanu and Okere as well as Nchumuru.

The Okere ancestors led by Okere Kpomkpo first settled at Tafo ,Kukurantumi and Osiem, from there they moved to Aboboase near the present day Adawso before settleling on the mountains. At Tafo the Okere established the Ohum festival which has since become the aboriginal cult of Akyem Abuakwa. In the same way the Fetu Afahye of the original Efutu at Oguaa had remained the aboriginal cult and not the Ahogba of the Bobor Mfante.

The second group moved towards the Lower Volta basin, among them were the Senya, Larteh, the Kpeshie aborigins of the Ga country side, the Obutu (Awutu) whose leader by the name Awietey had gold and brought this with him.

The third group moved to Sefwi, Nzema, Aowin, Wasa,Ahanta, Shama, Asebu, Aguafo and the Etsii settlements. They have all been subjected to Akan imperialism and have lost all cultural traits, which made them identified as Guan.

The Fetu founded the Oguaa. Some of them moved eastwards along the coast and founded Mumford and Winneba, while the Nkonya continued the journey to Nyanawase, thence to Larteh before crossing the Volta. Almost all Guan communities now living on either side of the Volta, north of Kpando are traditions of counter migration. Migration southwards and backwards to the north, these was counter migration from ancient town of Larteh across the Volta to Nkonya, Prang, Yeji then Nawuri.

The Guans now live in five regions in Ghana, namely Central, Eastern, Volta, Brong Ahafo and Northern. Their institutions and language operate side with those of their close neighbour and it appears this sense of cultural distinctiveness is intensified and justified by the practice of patrilineal succession in all the Guans speaking areas, except Anum and Boso who became matrilineal by adoption.

The tradition of Larteh Kubease claims that they came from inland and settled west of the mouth of the Volta among the Kpesi, aborigines of Guan extraction. When the Ga Boni met them, the two groups settled temporally on the banks of the Laloi Lagoon at Podoku near Tema.

In 1688, Akwamu had put an army into the field against them and the whole community fled before Akwamu might. The settlement itself became deserted, hence the name Ladoku, meaning “the ruins of La”.

In the process of fleeing from terrorization the remnants of the Larteh group at Ladoku merged with the Awutu at Ablekuma near Weija. Tradition of Larteh Ahenease, on the other hand, relate that from an in land country, they settled on the cast near the Legon hill in the company of the Senya-Beraku. Later, a split occurred and the Larteh Ahenease group moved from place to place on the Adangme plain till they took the direction of Larteh-Ayikuma road and finally settled on the hills.

Larteh Kubease were led by Fianko Adeyite . On the hills they first settled at a place called Afianko. The Afianko sojourn seems to have been the briefest, since no living structures were created there. They moved to present Larteh Kubease.

Larteh Ahenease during their initial migration were led by the following Chiefs at various stages; Jedum (Gyedu), Sappor (Sarpong), Debrum (Debra) then Gyedu Nkansa. On the Hills they first settled at Amanfro (Amanfu), a ruin on the motor road leading from Mamfe to modern Larteh. Under Amanfu the capital town of the ruling Chief (Adedi) Gyedu Nkansa are many villages including the following ;- Mawnerh, Domfoe-Mante, Adanse, Sesseh, Odiha, Lakpokyi, Odomkpo, Bompoh-Ebietso, Kpene, Merpe or Manfe. As time went on, Chief Gyedu Nkansa with his chains of villages and increasing subjects contemplated on building a much bigger and more suitable capital. His real name was Akpeese Gyedu Nfe. Nfe is a Guan word which means Ankasa in Twi. The name was later corrupted to Nkansa after living with the Akans. His stool is made of MARBLE which it is told he brought from Ile Ife in Nigeria. Thus the current Ankobeahene of Larteh sits on a marble stool.

A brother of Gyedu Nkansa called Kumi Bredu while on a hunting expedition on the Akonnobepow met Odosu of Larteh Kubease. Their acquaintance turned into friendship. Odosu on knowing the existence of the people of Larteh Ahenease encouraged Kumi Bredu to inform them to come over. The remnant of Larteh Ahenease moved to their present location together and formed Larteh which comprises the present Ahenease and Kubease. Larteh as the capital was thus founded and accordingly the stool was migrated from Amanfu. Many of the subjects who migrated occupied various quarters at their new settlement and specific quarters marked concentration of immigrants from specific villages. For example, the immigrants who quartered at Agyebide and Agiemade hailed from MAWNERH; those at Agyedede, Atsokyede, Ekumide hailed from AMANFU; those at Asinkpade and Adomfode hailed from DOMFOE-MANTE; those at Agyamkpode from NKADE; those at Akremede from ADANSE; those at Akobide partly from AMANFU and partly from SESSEH; those at Adabiri which consisted of a chain of five different tribes from ODIHA, AKOI, OTUSI, TOTOASE and APATAMUSU; those at Odei from LAKPOKYI; those at Asore from ODONKPO; those at Atsekpede from MAWNERH; those at Aninkore from SESSEH; those at Anyadede from BOMPOH-EBIETSO; those at Abegyede from KPENE;  Agyiakode (Tete Appiah’s family) from RIVER BOMPO and Pediketeku’s family from MERPE or MANFE.

Where they emigrated from thus became their farmlands and hamlets. Some of these villages/farmlands has become present day Obosomase, Tutu, Mampong, Amonokrom, Mamfe. The Larteh people still use most portions of these lands as farms, although parts have become major towns.

The chief at Larteh Kubease married a daughter of Gyedu Nkansa called Manko. Thus Manko became the youngest wife of the chief of Kubease. Manko and her children cared properly for their father in his old age, so that on his dying-bed he bequeathed to them the Kubease stool. Manko brought the stool to his father. Larteh became a great state comprising present day Larteh Ahenease, Larteh Kubease, Mamfe, Abotakyi, Mampong, Obosomase, and Tutu on the mountains and as far as Koforidua Suhyen on the east, boundaries of La and Tema on the south and Prampram and Ningo on the West.

Later various settlers arrived and Gyedu Nkansa gave them places to live. The King of Denkyera was a very good friend of Gyedu Nkansa. As a sign of healthy relationship the King sent an entourage led by Chief Nwanwanyam to Gyedu Nkansa and he settled them at Abotakyi. Pom Dee and his people migrated from Asantema Kotoko and he settled them at Obosomase. He also settled another group who arrived from Tutume in Adanse at Tutu.

Konkom was then the highest fetish of theirs, for which a bullock was offered every year. The offering prepared was carried to the mouth of the cave, in which Konkom was said to lodge. The priests and the worshippers had to retire after the offering had been placed there, when Konkom had to come out from the cave and to select such parts of the meat as he chose, and the rest he left. Some naughty fellows took upon themselves to see who the fetish was that used to select the best part of the offering. Hiding themselves at a certain place, they saw that a certain figure in the form of a man, but with a single eye, a single arm and a single leg, came out to the offering. They rushed upon and dragged him out from the hole. This offended Konkom, that he entirely left the Lartehs for Krachi. A lot of Larterians left with Konkom to Krachi. To punish them for that desecration, Konkom before quitting Larteh promised them a wonderful harvest, and therefore advised them to burn all the corn and rice they had stored in barns. Which they accordingly did, and the consequence was a famine so fearful that they lived on roots and such things for a while, and then quitted the place. The people at Nchumuru, then at Krachi, asked the emigrants: "From what place are you coming?" They replied, "From Tshi-Date", which was corrupted for Odente and applied ever since to the fetish Konkom.

In the middle of the 17th Century, Akwamu extended her power over the Lartehs and Kyerepongs. .Ansa Sasraku I laid the foundations of the Akwamu power. Berekuso, Aburi, Abiriw, Awukugua, Dawu, Larteh, Anum and Obutu became Vassal States. From the Akuapem Hills, Akwamu was assured of a ready supply of food and manpower.

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 Economic. By the 1670's, Accra gained the reputation of terminus for Trade Routes from Asante, Akyem and Western Plains of the Middle Volta. Accra handled about a quarter of the "Overseas Trade" in gold of the whole country. Five European Nations, namely, Portugal, Holland, England, 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 a Forest/ 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 Accra in1677. The immediate cause of the attack was an opportunity for the Akwamu to realise their long-term military goals.

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 foreskin, and the Accra's were unable to meet this demand. Akwamu launch the offensive first against "Great Accra "the capital at Ayawaso. King Okai Koi resisted, and he was defeated. His sons took the Ga stool and regalia and fled with their mother. The capital was sacked and burnt. The second offensive was directed at the Beaches, where the trading Companies were established. The Eldest son of Okai Koi, Ashiagbor died. Ofori a younger son of Okai Koi then escape with his mother to" Small Accra "and he assumed leadership over the Accra people. 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 1660 and 1681, the Akwamus attacked "Small Accra" again. Accra and Osu were burnt and refugees fled to Little Popo and Whydah. King Ofori fled to Afutu, where the Danes in Fort Fredricksborg offered him protection and support. Eventually he retired to Little Popo to a town called Glidji in modern Togo.

Not long afterward, Akwamus launch a third attack. Accra became a Tributary 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.

Between 1646 and 1681, Akwamu also conquered the Ga-Adangme state of Ada, Kpone, Osudoku, Ningo, Prampram, Shai and Ladoku. Ladoku 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 Basua 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 Christiansburg Castle 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 vassal state. The conquest of Kwahu marked the end of Akwamu expansion. The Akwamu Empire reached its fullest extent.

The Akwamus onleashed havoc on the Kerepongs and Lartehs. The Akuapem history says that it was the Aburis, the advance-guard of Ansa Sasraku, who first revolted from the yoke. Abuwa, the queen of the place, accused her subjects to Ansa, who, knowing how brave they were, did not give them battle at once, but ordered their loaded arms to be tilled with water whilst they were working at their plantations on one Wednesday, and then attacked them. Several principal men were then captured and killed; hence the oath, "Aburi Wukuda (Wednesday)"; from that day they forbid working on Wednesdays. For such treachery the Aburis appealed to the king through his nephew, prince Opong Tenteng. Not obtaining redress, they went to war. The prince, who took their part, was slain. They took the body and tied to the place which the Basel Mission station now occupies, and founded the present Aburi. The Atweasings were at that time at Kubesing near Akyem-Peak, when the Akwamus were driven from thence. They in company with the Berekusos removed first to Anamrako. The former removed to Atweasing and founded that town, which now has become united with Aburi, and the latter to Berekuso.

The five towns of Kyerepong, viz., Abiriw, Odawu, Awukugua, Adukrom and Apirede, had their ruler at Awukugua, where a large market had been established by one chief Awuku, and on account of that market the town got the name of "Awukugua". Through marriage the ruling power was removed to Adukurom, a village founded by one Boamo, but which got the present name by one man Adumanuro, who was a native ofAnum, then at Nyanawase, the capital of the kings of Akwamu, and one of Ansa Sasraku's executioners, resident in Boaino's village, and by his generosity his name was given to the place i.e. Adukrom = Adu's town.

The cause of Akuapem becoming an independent state is by popular tradition reported thus : Ansa Sasraku had two naughty nephews, Oteng Abransamadu and Oteng Agyare. These young princes used the middle of the breasts of young women of Akuapem as targets in exercising their newly bought arms. The chiefs reported this wicked conduct of the princes to Ansa Sasraku, and the result was, that they were sent down to the Dutch Governor at Accra lo be trained on the coast. On their arrival, they refused to eat anything, so the Governor was obliged to coax them for three days before they consented to taste food. Their wives were ordered. there and then to prepare some dishes for them, and were told by them privately, that they' should bring two razors along- with the dishes to shave off their beards. The wives accordingly brought the dishes with the razors, and after having washed themselves, they cut their throats with them. The Governor was grieved to hear of the suicide committed by the princes, and despatched messengers to report it to the King.

His Majesty's reply to the Governor was, "I have heard nothing" ! The Governor thought the first messengers were incapable of carrying out the commission, so he despatched other messengers to tell the king that he was ready to pay any amount to satisfy him. The king's last reply was, I will accept as satisfaction ahum ne aham, nnonno ne nhaha", that is, everything in the world : stones, trees, dust, gold, silver, copper, brass, cloth, fowls, sheep, quadrupeds, birds, &c. This message greatly annoyed the Governor. He called a meeting of the king and chiefs of Accra and consulted them what was to be done. They told the Governor that they were tired of the Akwamu tyranny, they would unite and tight for their independence.

At the time Gyedu Nkansa was forming Akuapem the Akyems were still at Adanse. In 1660 War broke out between the Akyems and the Adanses. Nana KUNTUNKUNUNKU who was then the Chief of the Akyem people moved with some of the ASONA Clan to ABRAKASO in EDWESO and stayed there for about 30 years.

In 1699 they moved to BANSO in AKYEM and in 1700 moved further to KYEBI, which is now seat of the AKYEM ABUAKWA people.

In 1702 ANSA SASRAKU of the AKWAMUS engaged the AKYEM people in a war and lost. Thereafter ANSA SASRAKU turned his attention to the AKUAPEM people and started terrorizing them. History is replete with some unmentionable atrocities he was said to have committed.  The AKUAPEM people solicited help from OFEI AKWASI AGYEMAN from SENKYE then Chief of Gyakiti to fight the AKWAMUS but they lost to ANSA SASRAKU. Ofei Akwasi Agyemang thus sought refuge from Gyedu Nkansa. While there the Akwamus made him their tax collector. Thus Ofei Akwasi Agyeman was collecting tax from the Akaupems on behalf of Akwamu.

Just about that time the the Akuapems were informed by the Accras the idea of fighting the Akwamu tyranny. Chief Gyedu Nkansa also informed Chief Ofei Akwasi Agyemang, He brought a small force in aid of them, and battle was given to Ansa Sasraku by the combined forces of Accra, Akuapem and the Gyakitis; but they were unable to stand the brave Akwamus.

So Gyedu Nkansa seeks the assistance of Asante. Mampong was then the capital of the Asantes, sent a delegation of warriors to Akuapem. Gyedu Nkansa settled them at present Mampong Akuapem.

Later he also sought the assistance of Ofori Panyin of Akyem. The contingent who met with the Akyem Chief included: Osew (from Adukrom), Awukutia (from Awukugua), Domfoe Mante (from Larteh) and Kwabena Yobo (from Obosomase). The prince Safori, brother of the king (and governor of Akyem Akropong), was ordered to march a large army to assist. Ba, the king of Krobo, was also asked to join, when seven maiden hostages were sent to him by Ofori Panyin. The war was joined and fought by the three kings of Akyem; Firempong Manso, Bakwante and Owusu Akyem.

The Akwamus were driven out. For the war being fought in the year 1730 to 1733, and Firempong, the principal king among the three, died eight years after that. His nephew Karikari Apaw then succeeded him in 1741, at which time war broke out between Asante and the Akyems of Da and Abuakwa, known as the battle of Benna in 1742. When both Bakwante, Karikari Apaw and Owusu Akyem were slain and the Akyems were conquered, the Kotokus, who were the principal warriors in the campaign, were entirely translocated from Da across the Pra to Dampong.

The conquered land of Akwamu was left entirely to the Abuakwas, then governed by Ofori Panyin, hence he was known as the king who fought and deputed his blood relative Safori to the government of Akuapem. Otherwise not the Abuakwas, but the Kotokus would have had the prerogative in the rule of the conquered places. The Abuakwas took advantage of the situation and imposed themselves not only the Akuapems, but also the Accras.  also were for some time under the jurisdiction of Ofori Panyin, as already narrated. But the jurisdiction of Ofori Panyin over the Accras was very short, as the Dutch Government and whole Accra acknowledged Lete Boi, alias Boi-Tono, as the king of Accra in 1734; hence Dutch Accra is called Boimang. To prove that the jurisdiction over the Accras lasted but a short time, and then became a mere alliance is that the kings of Abuakwa were compensated by obtaining the pay-notes of both king and chief of Dutch and British Accra, which satisfied them, while the Akuapems, not obtaining anything of that sort, obliged and the Deputy Prince Safori promised ruled over them in case the Akwamus return. He was given Amanprobi to stay. Some of the people from the ASONA Clan who came with SAFORI from AKYEM were settled at AMONOKROM, which became the seat of the GYAASE Division. 

After the war a section of the Akwamus defected and stayed with the Akuapem people. They settled initially at Aburi Amanfo and later led by a Hunter, Opare Peteprebi, they moved further to their present day location at the top of the mountain. One of their Chiefs who were involved in this defection was Opong Tenten. As a defense mechanism and for security reasons SAFORI delegated one of his Chiefs to oversee this group, which became the ADONTEN Division of AKUAPEM.

SAFORI stayed at AMAMPROBI for seven years but later complained that his "Government" was far removed from the center of action and besides the land was swampy. In 1740, the Abiriwhene Nana BAAGYIRI gave a piece of land at NSOREM (AKROPONG) to SAFORI. Legend has it that the land was full of Palm Trees, however within a short time it was all consumed and hence the appellation "AKROPONG KWAKWADUAM OSONO A ODII MME"

From this time AKROPONG has become the Traditional seat and governance and evolved traditionally and gradually into what we see now and the Akuapem Traditional Council.

After Ofori Kuma (or Safori) left Akyem and came to settle in Akuapem, he took them before their deity (obosom), Kyenko of Obosomase, and then, at Abotakyi they entered into agreement (the Abotakyi Accord) and `planted a stone on condition that whenever that stone grew up and gave fruit Ofori Kuma would cease to be their ruler'. And he introduced the Akan system of kingship, with Adonten, Benkum, and Nifa Divisions. Ofei Agyeman and all the Asante (Akan) who came with Ofori Kuma were made Adonten, the Kyerepong (Okere) were made Nifa and the Larteh (Guan) made Benkum. On account of that unity the Akuapems became powerful and was successful in their (subsequent) wars.

As can be seen from the above narrative, the Divisions in the new Akuapem state were imposed upon the existing communities and reflected their ethnic and linguistic diversity. The five Guan towns formed the Benkum (Left Wing). The five Kyerepong (or Okere Guan) towns formed the Nifa (Right Wing). The remnants of the Akwamu towns which had seceded from Akwamu and joined the Akyem became the Adonten (Forward or Centre Wing). The Kamena were also Adonten, as were later the people of Amanokrom who split from the royal family of Akuropon. In the 1930s the three (Akan) Adontenhene, chiefs of Akuropon, Amanokrom and Aburi, became Kurontihene, Gyaasehene and Adontenhene. This rationalised the system and made it conform more closely to those of other Akan states. The table below shows the relationship between language, ethnicity and political divisions over time, though the schematisation does violence to the extremely subtle, orchestrated accommodation of difference in Akuapem that at an individual level is continually being renegotiated.

TABLE: Language, ethnicity and political divisions


Town           

 Language      

Ethnicity           

Eightheenth            Century

Abiriw

Guan

Guan (Okere)        

 Nifa

Dawu

Guan

Guan (Okere)        

 Nifa

Awukugua

Guan

Guan (Okere)        

 Nifa

Adukrom

Guan

Guan (Okere)        

 Nifa

Apirede

Guan

Guan (Okere)        

 Nifa

Aseseeso

Guan

Guan (Okere)        

 Nifa

Abonse

Guan

Guan (Okere)

Nifa

Larteh

Guan

Guan

Benkum

Obosomase

Guan (a)

Guan

Benkum

Tutu

Guan (a)

Guan

Benkum

Mampong

Guan (a)

Guan

Benkum

Abotakyi

Guan (a)

Guan

Benkum

Mamfe

Guan (a)

Guan

Benkum

Aburi

Akan

Akan

Adonten No. 1

Ahwerease

Akan

Akan

Adonten No. 1

Brekusu

Akan

Akan

Adonten No. 1

Amanokrom

Akan

Akan

Adonten No. 3

Akropong

Akan

Akan

Adonten No. 2

(a) Guan-speakers until the twentieth century.

Larteh migration story and settlement pattern have been preserved in the following legend which is recited by the old and young:

              (VERSE)                                                         (RESPONSE)

              Ntumuru O, Ntumuru                                      Nte Ntumuru

            Ntumuru Senya                                               Nte Senya

            Senya Domfoe                                                Nte Domfoe

            Domfoe Ebia                                                   Nte Ebia

            Ebia Sekete                                                     Nte Sekete

            Sekete Enkpu                                                   Nte Enkpu

            Enkpu Ala                                                        Nte Ala

            Ala Konyon                                                      Nte Konyon

            Konyon Larte                                                   Nte Larte

            Larte Eko                                                         Nte Eko

                                             Akoko miow!

 Interpretation: From Ntwumuru in the north, we came to Senya on the coast, we separated and moved on to Domfoe near the present day Abonse for shelter. After a brief stay we settled again on the Adangme plains at Ebia, Sekete and Nkpu (now extinct). Then we fraternized with a section of the La before we moved on to Konyon (i.e Akonoso), which is modern Ayikuma. From there, we climbed the mountain and founded Larteh. We moved no more!

 

Chiefs of Larteh Ahenease as at 2012

 

Name

Clan

Remarks

1

Jedum (Gyedu)

Agyedede

Led the final migration along the coast

2

Sappor (Sappong)

Agyedede

 

3

Debrum (Debra)

Agyedede

Led Larteh to Nkese Bor (Shai Hills) then to Amanfu

4

Gyedu Nkansa

Agyedede

Fought Akwamu War of 1659, Ally to King Okai Koi, Land boundary with Ningo, Teshie, La, Sadwumase and Suhyen

5

Gyedu Kuma

Agyedede

Regent - Gyedu Nkansa was old, Fought Akwamu Terror

6

Ekumi

Ekumide

Regent - Gyedu Nkansa was old, Fought Akwamu Terror

7

Asiedu Kese

Atsotsede

Regent - Gyedu Nkansa was old, later Chief. Fought Akwamu terror 1706 to 1730, Signed Abotakyi Accord 1733

8

Tete Obrentiri

Dade

 

9

Dade Krebesi

Dade

 

10

Odegya Komeanteng

Dade

 

11

Akoto Oyirifi(Oyirifi Amposakyi)

Dade

 

12

Twumhene Antwi

Dade

 

13

Dwirentwi Ampadu

Dade

Akpafu Lolobi war, Kyerepong war

14

Akrofi Dade

Dade

McCarthy Ally. Children Tete Yirebi and Boahema hostages to Asantehene Osei Kwame . Asiedu Okway was left

15

Kobe Adwoa

Dade

Wife of Asiedu Okoo (Ntow Clan). Asiedu Okoo led Akatamasu War. Elders agreed he should rule for the wife after the war

16

Adadewa 

Dade

Wife of Ofei Oworae. Elders agreed he should rule for the wife

17

Ntow Amurikyi

Ntow

Konkom left Larteh to Krachi

18

Asiedu Ababio Oworae

Oworae

 

19

Okanta Ofori 

Dade

Fought 3rd Anwona War

20

Onyame Ntawu(Amoakohene)

Dade

Gov. Glover was Ally. Fought Brakpa War

21

Dade Yirebi

Dade

 

22

Akrofi Oworae (F. K. Akrofi)

Oworae

Captured Prempeh 1896

23

Asiedu Ababio (W.E. Mante)

Ntow

 

24

Christian Asiedu /Theodore Asiedu

Dade / Oworae

Dispute

25

Dwirentwi (Kwame Tonto)

Dade

 

26

Ebenezer Kwame Akrofi

Oworae

 

27

Okanta Badu Ofori II (Agyeman Badu)

Dade

 

28

Okanta Ofori III (Moses Kofi Yirifi)

Dade

 

29

Okanta Obrentiri II

Dade

 

30

Okanta Ofori IV

Dade

 

31

Akrofi Oworae III

Oworae

 

32

Asiedu Okoo Ababio III

Ntow

 

How Ntow Clan came to Larteh

It is said that during a certain year Gyedu Nkansa and his hunters encamped in the interior at a place near the site of the present town of SUHYEN for hunting purposes. One day they saw some hunters of the Akan tribe with their leaders, known as Ntow Abasaa of SADWUMASE. The two leaders Gyadu Nkansa and Ntow Abasaa introduced themselves to each other and later became very good friends. They agreed between themselves that in order to avoid accidental shootings of each other’s hunters none of them should cross the river lying between their respective hunting grounds and that even whenever one’s hunters shot an animal which crossed the river and later died in the other’s hunting land, the original shooter should not cross the river to collect the dead game. Thus they constituted the river a hunting boundary and the river was in consequence named NSU-HYIE (i.e. river boundary), now corrupted to and known as SHYEN river.

It is said that one day as Ntow Abasaa, was in his court with his elders a message was sent to him from his wives’ compound that one of his wives was suffering from a severe stomach ache. Not being able to leave his elders in order to attend to the wife, Ntow Abasaa called one of his male servants and directed him to obtain the bark of a certain medicinal tree and have same cooked for drinking by the woman to cure her ailment. The servant, it later became known, did not know the tree but in order, possibly, to gain fame with the chief, made the chief to understand that he knew the tree, the bark of which without showing it to the chief he cooked and gave to the sick woman to drink. After drinking the medicine the woman’s condition became so serious and she vomited much blood that she died.

The sudden death of the woman aroused much public suspicion and anger and after native physicians had examined and declared the cooked medicine as poisonous, the servant responsible, was in consequence, beheaded without trial;  and Ntow Abasaa, hearing of this fled into the forest. After the funeral of the woman numbers of her family and the towns people not to discuss what night have been the reason why the Ntow and his servant should have conspired to poison the woman. They decided to consult a fetish at ABADIENTAN and, accordingly, sent messengers there. The messengers returned with the finding that Ntow Abasaa and his servant did not conspire to poison the woman; further that the fetish had advised that owing to his innocence if Ntow narrated the incident to some fetish, stones, tress or rivers, his cause would be avenged on the people; and that the safest thing to do was to recall him, pacify him and reinstate him as their chief. The towns people thereupon sent hunters into the forest to search for Ntow Abasaa whom, after days arduous search, they found sitting in the buttress of berry (Adesaa) tree. Some of the hunters remained with him while others returned to the town to announce that he had been found. The elders and the towns’ people sent linguists and some hunters into the forest to bring Ntow back home. On arrival at the spot, the linguists were said to have addressed Ntow Abasaa as follows:-

“Nana Omanfoo se, yemawu diben, na efum no yedi sii wo kwa, enti yenafa wo mera na bedi wo hene” (that is to say “Nana the town people has commanded us to apologise to you for you have been falsely held responsible for the death, therefore, we should bring you home”).

To  this Ntow was said to have replied:-“Animguase a me manfo de agu me no me san mba bio, na se wono ahunu se efun no ye de sii ne kwa dea, metra (“This disgrace that my people have brought upon me I will no more return. If they have realised that I have been falsely accused of the death, I will settle in this my village they have falsely accused him of death”).

 

TO BE CONTINUED ....

The Guans