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Ahanta

Ahanta

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The Ahanta are an Akan people
Akan people
The Akan people are an ethnic group found predominately in Ghana and The Ivory Coast. Akans are the majority in both of these countries and overall have a population of over 20 million people.The Akan speak Kwa languages-Origin and ethnogenesis:...

 who live to the north of the Nzema
Nzema
The Nzema are an Akan people numbering about 328,700 people of whom 262,000 live in southwestern Ghana and 66,700 live in the southeast of Côte d'Ivoire.In Ghana the Nzema area is divided into two electoral districts of Nzema East District and Nzema West which is also referred to as Jomoro District...

. 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
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

, 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.

Origin


The Ahanta 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
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

 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
Jonkanoo
Jonkanoo is a masquerade festival/parade from The Bahamas, believed to be of West African origin. It is traditionally performed through the streets during the Christmas period, and involves participants dressed in a variety of fanciful costumes, such as the Cow Head, the Hobby Horse, the Wild...

.

Other incidents include one in 1837 when the king of Ahanta, Baidoo Bonsoe II (Badu Bonsu II
Badu Bonsu II
Badu Bonsu II was the leader of the Ahanta tribe and a Ghanaian king who was executed in 1838 by the Dutch, who, at the time, were in control of the Dutch Gold Coast....

), rebelled against the Dutch government, and killed several officers, including acting governor Tonneboeij 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
Leiden University Medical Center
The Leiden University Medical Center or LUMC, is the university hospital affiliated with Leiden University, of which it forms the medical faculty...

 in The Netherlands. The head was later returned in 2009

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
Nzema
The Nzema are an Akan people numbering about 328,700 people of whom 262,000 live in southwestern Ghana and 66,700 live in the southeast of Côte d'Ivoire.In Ghana the Nzema area is divided into two electoral districts of Nzema East District and Nzema West which is also referred to as Jomoro District...

. The festival previously was one month long but, has recently been condensed to eight days.

Religion


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

Ahanta people today


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