Akuapem People: Their History I

The Akuapem people are an amalgamation of indigenous patriarchal, Volta-Camoe-speaking Guans and matriarchal, Kwa-speaking Akan people occupying the mountainous Akuapem Hills in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The Akuapem people are the most peaceful, respectful and humblest of all Ghanaian tribes.

They are only people even when they want to insult you, they start with an apology. For example for doing something silly or annoying an Akuapem will say “mi pa kyew se woye abia” (I am very sorry but you are a fool). Ghanaians refer to them as “Ofie” (Home).

The Akuapem people were originally Guan speaking people which includes Larteh Guan block namely Larteh, Mamfe, Abotakyi, Mampong, Obosomase, and Tutu and the Kyerepong (Okere) Guan block namely Abiriw, Dawu, Awukugua, Adukrom, Apirede, and Abonse-Asesieso.

The Akan Twi-speaking towns include  Akropong, the capital, and Amanokurom  who are emigrants from Akyem and Mampong people who are also emigrants from Asante Mampong in Ashanti Region.

Akuapem elders offering libation to Asaase Yaa (Mother Earth)

The name Akuapem was given to these multi-ethnic group by the famous warrior King, Nana Ansa Sasraku I of Akwamu. The name came from Akan Twi phrase “Nkuu apem” which means “thousand groups.” He gave them these name after the people overwhelmed his Akwamu invading army. The name “Nkuu apem got corrupted to Akuapem as we know them today.

     Akuapem adowa dnacers

Akuapem are famous for being the home base of Basel Mission that metamorphosed to Presbyterian Church of Ghana, when in 1835 the missionaries led by Andreas Riis arrived in Akropong with his Mulatto friend Lutterodt of Osu and laid the foundation of the Basel Missionary Evangelization upon which “the gospel took root and spread to all parts of the country.”

Rita Marley, wife of Bob Marley (3rd from Left) with friends at Aburi mountains

Legendary reggae icon, Bob marley`s wife, Rita Marley is honorary citizen of Akuapem town,Aburi. She has been living here for ages. She owns her recording studios and other businesses on the Akuapem Mountains.

    Rita Marley`s atudio at Aburi

Location, Vegetation and Climate
The original inhabitants of the Akuapern Hills were predominantly Guan. The towns of Akuapem are in the Eastern Region of Ghana and situated between longitude 0°15 W – 0°00 and latitude 5°45 – 6°00 N.

These towns are located on the Akuapem Ridge, which runs northeastwards across the Volta Region and extends further into Togo.

It is bounded South by Ga (Akra), East by Adangme and Krobo, North and West by Akem. The following 17 principal towns form the Akuapem state, viz., Berekuso, Atweasing, Aburi, Ahwerase, Asantema (Obosomase), Tutu, Mampong, Abotakyi, Amanokurom, Mamfe, Akropong, Abiriw, Odawu, Awukugua, Adukrom, Apirede and Larteh.

If the latter town is reckoned as two, viz., Ahenease and Kubease, and Abonse is separated from Awukugua, we get 19 towns in the whole. The inhabitants belong to three, or strictly speaking, two different tribes.

The vegetation of the district forest with shrub and semi-forest. Most town and villagers are located on a mountain and visibility is very poor in the morning, because of the tall trees.

It has also got deep valleys which makes farming activities very difficult.  Rainfall averages 127ºmm, and the weather reflects the invigorating and salubrious, mild cold mountainous climate.

There are two raining seasons with the major rainfall occurring between May and August the minor rainfal in October.  Average annual  rainfall is about 1,270mm.

Mean temperatures range between 24ºC and 30ºC and night is temperature between 13ºC and 24ºC.

Aburi Botanical Gardens, Akuapem-Aburi
The Akuapem people are heterogeneous as the illustration below indicates. They comprise both Akan and Guan communities. The Guan Okere (Abiriw, Dawu, Awukugua, Adukrom and Apirede) who occupy the northern parts of Akuapem speak Kyerepong, whereas Late-Ahenease and Larteh-Kubease speak Larteh.

Both Larteh and Kyerepong Guan languages, unlike Akan Kaw language, “belong to the larger Volta-Comoe group of languages of the larger Niger-Congo phylum (Dolphyne and Kropp Dakubu 1988: 77-79).

Akan Twi represent 51.6% of the population, 42.3% are of Kyerepong and guan extraction while only 6.1%% constitutes Ewes, Northerners, Krobos and ethnic groups.

With Akuapem Twi spoken by almost all the residents in the Akuapem mountains; it could be said that the Twi language can be the most effective medium of mass communication and functional education as well as development information dissemination.

To illustrate this diversity further, the people of Abiriw comprise different ethnic origins among which are former Akan including Akwamu, Denkyira and Asante (Gilbert 1997: 511-512).

The Akan in Akuapem who speak Twi are the descendants of the Akyem people who live at Akropong and their relations at Amanokrom. The people of Aburi are also remnants of Akwamu (Akan) and speak Twi but have intermarried with other ethnic groups.

Akuapem matriarch

The other southern Guan towns of Tutu, Obosomase, Mamfe, Mampong, Aseseeso, Abonse and Abotakyi are predominantly Guan with some Akwamu, who have assimilated different ethnic groups including Ewe and Krobo, who all now speak Twi.

There has also been a great deal of inter-marriage with Ga, Shai and former Ewe captives and several others (Gilbert 1997: 504) in the Akuapem towns. This mixed group of people lived in small independent towns ruled by priests until the Akyem arrived and were given the mandate to rule in 1733.

Two Akuapem Sword bearers at Akropong Odwira festival

According to Prof. Kwamena-Poh, the recorded history of what is now Akuapem State goes as far back as the 17th century . By 1646 the Guans who were living on the hill had come under the power of the Akwamus.

According to the learned Professor, “The Akwamu suzerainty witnessed a period of disturbed conditions among the Guan communities: incessant plunder, bad harvests … actions of cruelty” .

King of Mampong (Akuapem) on the Gold Coast 1917

The atrocities of the Akwamus heightened to such an extent that it became unbearable. That and other factors became so crucial for the inhabitants to fight for their liberation.

An appeal was therefore sent to the King of Akyem Abuakwa, Nana Ofori Panin to come and help in this regard. He also detailed his nephew, Ofori Dua or Ofori Kae or Ofori Kuma who later won the accolade, Safori, to come and lead them to fight against the oppression and suppression of the Akwamus.

Okuapimhene and Omanhene of Akropong, Oseadeayo Addo Dankwa III. At the feet of the king sits a young child, his “okra”, meaning his soul. Protected by fetishs, the Okra plays the role of a human shield, who has to defend the King from evil spirits, sickness and death.
The King is the Nation. He should never be wounded or sick, or the entire nation will weaken. The Okra diverts all evil forces upon himself. He, therefore, must die with his master.
During battles, the Okra would ring the small bells suspended on his neck, to show the king’s presence and to stimulate the warriors’ bravery.
If the king was frightned and did not want to attract the enemy’s attention he would stiffle the ringing bells; his soldiers interpreted this as desertion and would abandon the battle.

By the grace of the Almighty God, the Akwamus were defeated. With joy and gladness, Safori and his people were made to live here with the Guans and as the political leaders of the new nation that had come to be known as the ‘Akuapems’, out of the Twi words, ‘Kuw’ and ‘Apem’ meaning, thousand groups.

And so “in 1731, the representatives of the various communities on the hills converted their rebel organization into a political association. A new State was inaugurated at a meeting held at Abotakyi, of various heads of communities.

With this ‘Concord at Abotakyi’ the Akwapims gave their allegiance to the Akim war leader” .
The Akim immigrants, according to Kwamena-Poh, came to settle on the Akuapem hills.

They settled in two areas, Amanokrom, the seat of the Gyaase division and Akropong, the capital of the new State. The capital was initially built at Amamprobi on a piece of land given by Okyeame Aworoben of Mamfe; but this place was waterlogged and hence, unsuitable for settlement.

Due to this, Nana Baagyiri of Abiriw offered a new site at the place known today as Nsorem. Here Akropong arose under the shades of the Mpeni trees, and has since remained the seat of the overlords.

Omanhene of akuapem

Akuapim Guans
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).

Swearing in of Nana Obrempong Gyedu Nkansa III of Larteh Akuapem

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.

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.

Enyine Obrempong Gyedu Nkansa III of Larteh Akuapem

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.

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.

Ghanaian politician and Kyerepong (Okere) native,Dan Kweku Botwe
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.

Festish priestess at Akonedi shrine,Larteh
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.
“A christian girl from Obosumase near Akropong.” 1888
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.

Akuapem native, Former Supreme Court Judge, Member of Ghana`s Big Six and President of Ghana`s Second Republic
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.
            “Alex Clerk and family, catechist in Aburi.” 1861
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 in 1677. The immediate cause of the attack was an opportunity for the Akwamu to realise their long-term military goals.
                    “Pastor Asare with family Tutu.” 1880
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.
Akyem and Akuapem women from Gold Coast.”Date: 1880
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.
Wealthy man from Aburi. Circa 1907
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.
                            Paramount chief Nana Akyanfuo Akowuah Dateh II
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 Akuapems 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.

Chief of Tutu-Akuapem with his two wives. Circa 1917
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.

Akuapem native, H.E Judge (Prof) Akua Kuenyehia, first Vice-President of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands
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”).
Source: kwekudee-tripdownthememorylane