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History of Rulers and Kings of Asante

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According to most Historians, the Akan group of people migrated from somewhere in the old Mali Empire, and their language was derived from a language very close to modern Arabic. After settling at a place near Kin-nta-mpo, where tribes like the Gonjas and some Mosshis where already present, most of these Akan groups migrated to places like Takyiman and Akurofuom. Some of the group that migrated to Akurofuom became the first Akan group to build houses, hence Adansifuo, it means housebuilders. From here various families started migrating with their families to seek a much better life. We know the members of the Oyoko family left at an early stage but there is no evidence of their first destination. All we know is Nana Antwiwaa Nyame, one of the descendant of the Oyoko family,claimed to have descended from the sky to settle in a place she later named Asiakwa (Yebe sii ha kwa - We descended and arrived here without our intension to stay) in the present Akyem Abuakwa area. Her desecendants are still the chiefs of Asiakwa. This explains why during the Asante and Akyem wars one Asiakwa chief refused to send his troops to fight against the Asantes because the King of Asante is his ancestral brother.Nana Antwiwaa Nyame might have for some unknown reasons, left Asiakwa leaving some of her offsprings there to take care of the place. She later claimed to have emerged with her family from a hole at the present Asantemanso, near Asumnnya in the Amansie District. The final settlement of the Oyoko family was some kilometres from Asantemanso in Kokofu. Nana Agyinammoa Mpatu who is known as the first Oyoko ruler is the direct descendant of Antwiwaa Nyame.

After the death of Nana Twum and Nana Antwi their younger brother Nana Kobia Amanfi became the ruler of the Oyoko family. He found that their population was growing and farming and hunting,which was the main means of existance, was becoming difficult so he became worried and decided to explore other areas. As a result of his illness and eventual death he was unable to accomplish his task. His brother Nana Oti Akenten, son of Antwiwaa Nyame, who became the next ruler, once sent his senior hunter, Bofoo Nyame on an exploration trip, he came and discovered that a place which has already been settled by the Agona family called Kwaebrem,which later became Kwaabre, was very fertile and so he brought this good news to the chief,Nana Oti Akenten. Nana Oti Akenten and his family, as well as some of his subjects then moved to purchase part of the land from Agonaba Obaapanyin Adwoa Nkra Wiri and this settlement was later named Kumasi. This explains why the traditional jurisdiction of the present Tafohene(Agona Abusuahene of Asante) covers most of the lands within Kumasi. Tafohene and his people were the first settlers.


After the death of Nana Oti Akenten his maternal nephew, Nana Obiri Yeboa (Odi Ahenkan) became the chief of Kumasi. After his death his grandnephew Nana Osei Tutu l(Opemsuo), who was then in exile at Akwamfie,Akwamu Empire, became the next Kumasihene and after his friend Okomfo Agyei Frimpong, also known as the great Priest Anokye, helped him to form Asanteman, he became the first Asantehene.



Below is the list of all Rulers and Kings of Asanteman:








Agyinamoa Mpatu - Ruler
Twum ne Antwi - Rulers
Kobia Amanfi - Ruler
Oti Akenten - Ruler
Obiri Yeboa - Ruler
1. Osei Tutu Opemsoo
c.1680-1717

2. Opoku Ware Katakyie I
c.1720-1750

3. Kusi Oboadum
1750-1764 (forced to abdicate)

4. Osei Kwadwo Okoawia
1764-1777

5. Osei Kwame
1777-1803 (forced to abdicate)

6. Opoku Fofie
1803 (died after a few weeks on the throne)

7. Osei Tutu Kwame (Osei Bonsu, a.k.a. Bonsu Panin)
1804-1823

8. Osei Yaw Akoto
1824-1833

9. Kwaku Dua Panin (Agyeman Dua Sika Soso)
1834-1867

10. Kofi Kaakari
1867-1874 (forced to abdicate)

11. Mensa Bonsu (Bonsu Kuma)
1874-1883 (forced to abdicate)

12. Kwaku Dua 11 (Kwaku Dua Kuma)
1884 (died after 40 day reign)

(1883-1888: civil war in Asante over the succession between the supporters of the Queen's (Nana Yaa Akyaa) son Agyeman Prempeh and his cousin Yaw Atwereboana. The main constitutional issue was wether an Asante Queen could forcibly impose her son on the throne without the acceptance of the king makers. Yaw Atwereboana and his group sought the support of the British colonial administration, and in fact some of them moved into the British Colony of the Gold Coast to make their case, thus enraging all Asante. From then on, support for Agyeman Prempeh was strengthened, and the war over the succession ended in 1888).

13. Prempeh I (Kwaku Dua III)
1888-1931.

The British arrested him in 1896 after he refused to accept a monthly payment in exchange for British colonization. Nana Prempeh also refused to plunge his nation into another Anglo-Asante War, preferring to sacrifice his own, and his family*s independence to the greater Asante well being. He was held in Elmina for a while before being sent to Sierra Leone in late 1896. In 1901, he was sent to far-away Seychelles Island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa because Asantes were visiting him in droves in spite of the thousand mile journey. He returned to Kumasi on Wednesday, November 12, 1924. The British recognized him only as the Kumasihene (Chief of Kumasi), but of course, to all Asante he was, and remained the Asantehene.


14. Sir Osei Tutu Agyeman Prempeh II
1931-1970
15. Opoku Ware Katakyie II
1970-1999

16. Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II
1999 -- current

 


 

The Origin of Kente Cloth

During the later part of the 15th century a lot of Akan groups left Adanse for various destinations and Asonaba Nana Aboagye Agyei l and his brother Asonaba Nana Atta Apeanim Kwaframoa after a dispute over leadership decided to go separate ways. Nana Aboagye Agyei and his people travelled through Patabu and finally settled at Edweso. Nana Atta Apeanim Kwaframoa and his people went to Kyebi through Bansa. At Edweso a section of the Asano family finally migrated to Bonnwere about 14 kilometres from Kumase.

 

In the 1490s during the reign of Asonaba Nana Bobie Ansa in Bonwire, two men from the Oyoko Abusua called Otaa Kraban and Kuragu Ameyaw watched how a huge spider (ananse) weaved its web on their cropland. They were so impressed that they watched the spider for a couple of days until finally they got themselves acquainted with how the spider completed the web.

 

According to oral tradition it was there that the two great men decided to make a cloth in the same way and so they subsequently started to weave the first cloth in the underbrush without telling anybody in the town until they had finished weaving the entire cloth. According to oral tradition this type of cloth which was weaved together like a basket (kenten) was to be called kententoma –basket cloth, and this later became only Kente. The first Kente was named Oyokoman, named after the family of the two men.

 

 Nana Bobie Ansa was so fascinated by the colours that he made the two men made the next Kente for him. They even made a nice piece which was presented to the head of their family Oyokonana Nana Oti Akenten, Kwaamanhene. The rectangle in the kente cloth depicts the territorial sovereignty of a male ruler and the zigzag stands for prudence and application of the political wisdom of the Asantes.

 

The most popular design is the “Edwenasa” which was originally called “Adwenasa” which means verbatim that the skills of the artist have been exhausted. Among the common kente styles that are often used are: Otumfuo, Epiakyi, Breguo ye ya, Sika fre mmogya, Ohene aforo hyen, Adwen si adwen so, Sikafuturo, Mamponghemmaa, Asanteman and Adwene asa.