Asante empire secret.The youth of today and the younger generation coming up have been made to believe that when we talk about Asantes, they are one of the tribes of the Akan Ethnic Group, they are the only people occupying the Ashanti Region and Ahafo Region, Asantes are the only people who speak Asante and any other group who speak other languages apart from Asante Twi is not an Asante.
This is what some text books produced by the Ghana Education Service and some other publishing companies have sought to portray in the minds of Ghanaians and especially the younger ones passing through the basic school level. Which is not true.
However, we are going to explain further about the number of languages that makes up the Asante People. NOTE!
1. Asante is not and has never been a tribe like Sefwi, Fante, Ga, Akyem, Kwahu, Bono, Dagomba, Denkyira etc. Asante is a Union or a confederacy of states that speaks different languages.
2. The name Asante is not the name of the Twi dialect spoken by some sections or some Twi speaking states who are under the union but instead Asante is the name of the Union formed under Osei Tutu I.
Now who are Asantes?
Asantes are a group of individual states that came together to form a union under one distinguished and powerful authority in other to combine their strengths together, fight and free themselves from their then masters, the Denkyira kingdom. The core states that were instrumental in the formation of the union were Kwaman (Kumasi), Dwaben (Juaben), Mampong, Nsuta, Kokofu, Bekwai, Asumegya, Kumawu, Offinso, Edweso (Ejisu), Tafo, and Agona.
All this states were individual states that were very big and independent states with each having a paramount ruler until they decided to come together to form the union called Asante today. Except Edweso, Agona and Tafo who were not paramount states at the time instead a smaller towns.
When the individual states came together and formed the confederacy, they went and fought Denkyira and lo and behold, THEY WON, YES WE WON!!!
Adansi were the first people to organize themselves into a powerful Akan state. The first builders of houses “ADAN-SI-FUO”. Denkyira was under Adansi until Denkyira defeated Adansi in a battle, subdued them and made Adansi a vassal state like how he did to the individual Asante States.
So during the Asante independence war at Feyiase, the new union sought the help of Adanse but Adanse refused to join them due to how powerful Denkyira was at the time. However, after the defeat of Denkyira, Adanse agreed to form part of the new confederacy.
After the Denkyira war, the Asante Nation continued fighting to extend their borders.
However, Komfo Anokye advised the Asantes that never should they see and treat any state they will conquer as a vassal state or slaves like how their slave masters, the Denkyiras treated. Instead they should treat the new state as one of their own. The ruler of that state should be given a befitting position at Asantehene’s palace and should be allowed to sit in whenever Asanteman council meet and should be allowed to make a contribution too.
This is a mutual respect, this is what we call a confederacy. For instance no state that was once part of Asante Confederacy like Kwahus, Akyems, Sefwi, Fante, Bono, Wassa, Aowin, Assin etc can say that Asantes maltreated or mistreated them in anyway. We didn’t. Instead we only quell the strength of rebellion states who always wanted to break away from the confederacy like Dormaa, Takyiman, Akyem Abuakwa, Denkyira, Gyamans etc.
Due to the new confederacy’s superior war tactics and power, outsiders started calling them “Esa-nti-fuo” meaning “Because of- war- people” which is now Asantefuo and the Whiteman has corrupted it to “Ashantis”.
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During the Asantes war, they conquered states like Banda, Banda people do not speak Twi, they speak the Nafana/Nafaanra language and have towns like Banda Ahenkro, Sampa, Nyire, Sanwa, Sabiye, Wewa, Kabrono, Saase etc. and Banda people are pure Asantes because they owe allegiance to the Golden Stool and Asantehene. The Paramount Chief of Banda has a special position in Asanteman council and so as to all the states in Bono/Tano enclave that are part of Asanteman council.
One must then note that you don’t have to speak Asante Twi before you will be called Asantenii. Asante is not by language or dialect is by allegiance. For example, should Ga-Mantse decide to swear allegiance to the Golden Stool, nothing stops them from speaking Ga as a dialect. Instead they will be called Gas by language but Asantes by allegiance. Therefore, Ga’s automatically becomes Asantes because they swear allegiance to the Golden Stool.
Sometimes, it is funny that you are from Brekum, Drobo, Gyapekrom, Worawora, Sampa, Kintampo, Tuabodom, Tano Boase, Nchiraa, Offuman etc. and when some section of Ghanaians are insulting Asantes or Ashantis you joined in to troll Asantes because you think Asantes are only people who live in Ashanti or Ahafo Regions when indirectly you are also insulting yourself because you are one of us. As far as your chief serves at Manhyia.
One must note that in history, Asante was first to form a confederacy in the whole wide world and the only surviving confederacy in the history Ghana. The only surviving confederacy because the Fante states also formed the Fante confederacy in 1868. One of their reasons for forming the union was to protect themselves in warfare from the incessant invading of the coast by the Asantes. But their confederacy collapsed because of “Giving power to one person to lord it over them” like how the individual Asante states did. They came together to form a union and all the rulers gave the paramount power to the Kumasimanhene to become the Asantehene and lord over them. They were not prepared to kow-tow to others so their confederacy collapsed.
And note again that, Denkyira was never a confederacy as have been speculated, when Denkyira was at their peak of power they treated the other Akan states they have conquered as slaves and vassals. They never saw them as brothers but rather vassal states that were under them. For instance, states around Mampong and Nsuta were sending red clay to Denkyira every Akwasidae. States around Dwaben and Edweso were sending plantain fibre and the remaining states were sending firewood, every six weeks.
In Denkyira, the young men from Asante who sent all this commodity to their masters were made to weed round the outskirt of the capital, Abankeseso, to keep the area clean the young women were also made to sweep the capital. In addition, the men of Denkyira could have sex with the women of Asante who have gone there to serve, whether the women are married or not. This acts therefore cannot qualify Denkyira as a confederacy even though it was a kingdom. Confederacy is about mutuality and respect to each other.
Also, other states that wanted to form a confederacy were Takyiman, Dormaa and other Bono states after they were helped by Kwame Nkrumah to break away from the Asante confederacy by demarcating the Brong-Ahafo Region out of the Ashanti region. When Kwame Nkrumah saw the incessant power of the Asantes, he created the Brong-Ahafo Region out of Ashanti Region thinking that will quell the growing might of Asantes but it has rather added more gas to the flaming power of Asante hegemony.
After they broke away from Asante Confederacy they formed the Bono Kyempem but it has collapsed or maybe hanging. The main reason for it not functioning is the same reason why the Fante Confederacy collapsed….. “Giving power to one person to lord it over them”. Takyiman sees himself as too big to allow any state to head the Bono Kyempem confederacy. Dormaa also sees himself as too mighty therefore not ready to allow any state to lord him in the name of a confederacy. ‘Enti adane oya suro oya confederacy’.
Asante empire secret
In conclusion, Asante is not a tribe but instead it is a union of other tribes that have come together to form a confederacy. Because some Bonos, Banda, Bator etc are pure Asantefuo but they do not speak Asante Twi. Even among the Asante Twi speaking states, there are differences in the language among the various provinces like Sekyere, Amansie, Atwima,Adanse, Kwaman, Ahafo, Bosomtwe, Offinso, Asante-Akyem etc. (Note! We will treat all these provinces one by one in the upcoming days).
However, one can say that we only branded our kind of Twi with the name of the confederacy called “Asante” in other to distinguish our dialect from the dialects of the other Akan States, like the Fante Twi, Bono Twi, Akuapem Twi etc. Even among the typical Akan Twi speaking states that speaks the same dialect, that is Asante, Kwahu, Akyem, Assin etc. there are differences in our tenses and phonology.#Asante empire secret