HISTORY OF THE AGONA CLAN
The Agona clan hailed or originated from Denkyira except the Bosome group who were led by Nana Bosompem Ntow. In the early days, they settled a Nkontanase at the Lake Side, near Lake Bosomtwe.
Three Agona brothers built their individual settlements in what we know as Denkyira today. They were responsible for the creation of the early Denkyira sate. The First of the three and the Eldest was Nana Denkyira Hene, Obua Koroba who reigned in his Capita called Banso. The Second of the brothers was Nana Adu Oware (sometimes mispronounced as Adu Awere) also built his townships elsewhere and called his capital Nnobiemu. The Third of the brothers was Nana Owusu Dwamadua who also had his townships elsewhere and called his capital Mmereyemu. The brothers lived and ruled in their own individual kingdom in what is called Denkyira today.
Succession of Their Throne
Nana Obua Koroba was succeeded by his brother Nana Owusu Bori. Nana Owusu Bori was succeeded Nana Boa Amponsem and Nana Boa Amponsem was succeeded by Nana Ntim Gyakari. Nana Adu Oware was succeeded by his brother Nana Boadi Nnianim. Nana Boadi Nnianim was succeeded by his brother Nana Asiedu Apenten. Nana Asiedu Apenten was succeeded by Nana Adu Oware who was succeeded by his brother Nana Boadi Nnianim. Nana Boadi Nnianim was succeeded by his brother Nana Asiedu Apenten. Nana Asiedu Apenten was succeeded by Nana Ofosu Hene Apenten. Nana Owusu Gwamadua was succeeded by Nana Kwakye. He was nicknamed Nana Kwakye Amantu (meaning watu ne man ase). He was responsible for the migration of his Agona group to Adanse Bodwesano
The Big Migration
The reason for the migration was that during the reign of Nana Ntim Gyakari, who succeeded Nana Boa Amponsem, the Asantes led by Nana Osei Tutu I warred with the Denkyiras at Feyiase and won. The Denkyira state therefore lost their power, authority and glory after the war and had no peace. The brothers therefore decided that it was time for them to move elsewhere. Nana Ntim Gyakari and Nana Ofosu Hene Apenten group migrated from Denkyira Banso and Nnobiemu respectively, to Ahuren, somewhere near Kokofu area. Those who did not continue the migration could be seen in Ahuren today. Thé migrating group led by Nana Ofosu Apenten carried their belonging in sacks (kotokuo), and were therefore nicknamed Kotoku people, a name that still remain today. The group under Nana Boa Amponsem continued their journey from Ahuren to Dwekwaa. Today the big Black Stool of Denkyira is still kept at Dwekwaa.
The Kotoku Group Continued Migration
The Kotoku Group continued their migration from Ahuren to Adoko near Edweso
At that time , Nana Ofosu Hene Apenten, whose mother Nyanta Dom ,Married to Nana Oppong Kokoo of Nsuta, had died. His nephew Nana Frimpong Manso I, the son of Nsuta Hene, succeeded him led the group.
The group was still at adoko at this time. The Asante Hene was still demanding levies from the kotoku people so they moved to Abenase in Asante.
There were still no peace between them and the Asantes so they moved again to Asante Akyem town of Hwediemu led by Nana Frimpong Manso I. He married there and had a son called Enfe Apertewa.
When Nana Frimpong Manso I left Hwediemu, he gave the Hwediemy land to his elder son Enfe Apertewa as a gift. Since then every Hwediemu Hené call Kotoku Paramount Chiefs “Father”.
Most of the land in the area belonged to Nana Frimpong Manso I. some of his migrating people stayed there, mixing with the Asantes, hence the name, Asante-Akyem (Ase Asante, Ase Akyem), They stayed at Dampong in Asante-Akyem for a very long time until wars compeled hem to move to Gyadamu on Abuakwa Hene’s land. During the Opoku Ware I war, the Bosome group crossed the Pra River led by Nana Bosompem Ntow (what was known as Praso. They met their Agona Kotoku brothers at Dampong.The Bosome group moved again still under Nana Bosompem Ntow to Abuakwa. There, Nana Okyere, the Wenchi Hene gave them land to settle on at Akyem sweduro, where they are now today.
The Kotoku group had some quarrels with Nana Ofori Panin so they moved again to Praso, south of the Pra River. They built a village called Oda (the old Oda). That area almost became a permanent settlement place for the Kotoku paramount chief. He built villages such as Agyenua and Afosu. They settled there for a while until Osei Tutu I followed them again with full force and had a fight with them. Osei Tutu I lost his life in this war. The Kotoku people were fed up with the Asantes following them with war wherever they go. History tells us that the Abuakwa’s were equally fed up with the bullying behavior of the Asantes and therefore joined forces with the Kotoku people against them. The Asantes knew the Kotoku people were no match to them so they carried Osei Tutu I aloft in a palanquin to the war front.
Nana Kodie Akrafi, the Agyenua Hene (of Agona clan), mounted on a tree, and fired the fatal shot that killed Osei Tutu I. He fell into the Pra River and was never found.
The death of Osei Tutu I at the battle field with the Kotoku people led to the Big Oath (Ntan Kesie) of the Asantes, “Meka Memeneda Ka Kromante”. Because of the seriousness of the incidence, (for the Kumasi Hene to be shot dead in battle) those who fought in the war and saw what happened were unable to tell the story when asked fearing that they may lose their lives. Instead they responded by saying, “Me koo bi so maante”, literary meaning, “I went but I did not hear or see what happened.
To this day, “MEKA MEMENEDA KA KROMAANTE” is a serious Oath of every Asante Hene. It is therefore a taboo for anyone to swear this oath in vain. Anyone caught swearing this oath in vain will face the wrath of the Asante Hene.
The Asantes losing their chief in the lands of the Kotoku people became angry. Opoku Ware I who succeeded Osei Tutu I mobilized a full force to fight them again. The war was too hot for the Kotoku people to handle. They started muttering the word “Abene Yeso” to themselves, meaning literary the heat is On us. Sensing that they were losing the war, threw some of their Royals into 8 big pond to drown. This was to avoid the Royals being captured and tortured or even being killed by the Asantes. The pond has been preserved to this day, The Paramount Chief of Kotoku has to perform special rituals at Praso near the pond pefore any “Afashe” celebrations. Nana Afosu Hene is the custodian of the site.
Subsequent wars compelled the Kotoku people to move on again to present Akyem. They met Nana Okyere, the Wenchi Hene who sold them land 750 in gold dust. Paying for the land gave them some kind of a permanent place to settle.
During this period of migration, Nana Frimpong Manso had died and several chiefs had come and gone.
It was Nana Kofl Agyemang who brought the group to Oda and bought the land from Nana Okyere. Some of the Chiefs like Nana Gyamire Kum and Nana Karkarri Apau had ruled but did not have proper settlements due to wars.
The Asante Hene supported Kwakye Adeife who wanted to inherit the stool but Nana Frimpong Manso’s nephew called Kwadwo Kuma prevented him from doing so. Kwodwo Kuma swore the big oath in 1824 saying that Kwakye Adeife Was not qualified to occupy the stool. His argument was that, Kwakye Adetfe’s Uncle also the Agona clan, called Nana Bosompem Ntow and known as “Bosomfeto”, Was the elder statesman of Akyem Sweduro group that resided at the Lake Side.
He was under different Royal Line and not a Royal from the Frimpong Manso famiy who migrated from Denkyira. He argued that Kwakye Adefei should contest for thy Stool of Nana Kwagye Ampa, Bosompem Ntow’s uncle who occupied the Sweduro, Stool.
A big quarrel ensued and as a result, Kwakye Adeife had a grudge against Kwadwo Kuma. He fled to Kumasi with his nephew Kofi Agyemang who later inherited the Stool. Kwakye Adeife became a detective to the Asante Hene. He gave information of what was happening in the erea to the Asante Hene. During that period, the Asantes used the route through the Akyem forest to Akyemfo to trade. This happened when the group was still at Gyadamu. The Asantehene, angry of what Kwadwo Kuma has done decided to kill him.
He sent men to look for him. They tracked him down and killed him at Nkum in Fante.
The elders frightened of the Asantehene’s involvement of their stool affairs, sent for Kwakye Adeife to be installed on the stool. But when he arrived, he told them that he was too old.
He therefore instructed that his nephew Kofi Agyemang should be installed instead. Nana Kofi Agyemang was succeeded by Nana Kwabena Atefa I (known as Atta Domena).
Three brothers created the Denkyira State. The first, and the eldest, Nana Boa Amponsem and his group, settled and still have their stool at Dwekwaa. The second of the brothers, Nana Frimpong Manso I, whose group became known as “Kotoku” people, has their stool to his day at Oda.
The third of the brothers, Nana Owusu Dwamadua died at Denkyra. Nana Kwakye Amantu succeeded him and moved his Agona people from Denkyira through Adansi South to Bodwesango we now know today.
The Wars Between Bodwesango and the Asantes
Nana Kwakye Amantu was succeeded by Nana Gyakari Panin. During his reign, he fought seven wars with the Asantes without defeat. It was a very difficult period for the Asantes who could not overcome the fighting power of the Bodwesang warriors.
The Asantes found out that the strength, inspiration and fighting power of the Bodwesango people was from a river called Busummuru near the village.
How they came about this knowledge was that, the Bodwesango chief Nana Gyaka Panin fell in love with a certain woman who by chance happened to be related to the Asantehene Nana Opoku Ware I.
History tells us that the Asante Hene personally engineered the relationship order for her to find out the secret of their strength. She did a very good job. She discovered that the power and inspiration the fighters possessed came from the Spiritual river Busummuru which they worshiped.
She also discovered that she river did not like cows, so the only way to destroy the extraordinary power and resilience the fighters got from the River Busumuru, was to kill a cow and spill its blood into it.
The woman passed this information to Nana Opoku Ware I. He went to the river with his elders and personally performed the killing of the cow and left.
When warriors discovered the cow in the river, they were frightened for they believed then that the strength and power they got from the River had been destroyed.
They started running helter-skelter in groups away from the village petieving they have lost their power and would be defeated should another war break out again. The group that ran through Brenan ASe to Akyem Anyinase brought with them the “Black Stool”.
The Frimpong Manso group from the Denkyira also had arrived at Oda, south of the Pra River.
They had crossed the Pra River from the Brenan Ase through Banka to a place at Nkwarteng called Aworomo Ase. They later crossed the Pra River from Aworomo Ase to Abenase where they met their Agona clan brothers.
They gave them land near a big river to settle on.
Meanwhile the Bodwesango group who had come through Brenan Ase to Akyem Anyenasi met Apori Hene Nana Kwagye Ampa’s hunter called Amponsah. Nana Kwagye Ampa who was of Asona clan had an uncle called Dokyi. Amponsa told the Bodwesango group that he was only a hunter for Nana Kwgye Ampa but offered them a land near a big Onyina tree. They built their settlement and housed their Stool there. The Settlement is known as Anyinase today.
In 1908 an incident prompted the black stool to be removed from Anyinase by Nana Kwaku Donkor I (his mother as Gyasiwaa) back to Bodwesango.
A man called Kwayiedu died and when they were digging his grave, they found something the Bodwesango people thought was gold.
They brought it to Nana Kwaku Donkor who kept it in his palace. The Abuakwa people in Anyinase including Nana Dokyi informed Nana Kwagye Ampa ,the Apori Hene who in turn informed Nana Akyere, the Wenchihene.
He in turn informed the Okye Hene Nana Ofori Atta.
The Okye Hene made an order to the Bodwesango people that said, “The surface of the lad was sold to you and not beneath it. What you find beneath it must Come to the Abuakwa state”.
A quarrel ensued to Nana Kwaku Donkor I, an ill tempered man, was furious and thought it was an insult and degrading for him to be called in front of Nana Ofori Atta. At that time, his Bodwesango people clout and power in asante.
They have fought and won seven wars against the Asantes.
Therefore he could not see himself brought before Nana Ofori Atta. He immediately summoned his elders and instructed them to gather his people to return back to his own land at Bodwesango.
It was latter discovered that what everybody thought was gold was brass.
They paid “Piredwan Nnwotwe” as known at those days to Nana Apori hene for the land .As they decided to leave, Nana Kwaku Donkor I demanded the paid for the land back.
The Wenchi Hene raised a lone and refunded the money.
As soon as the received the money, they gathered their belongings
to Black Stool and the Fontonfrom drums with human skulls attached to them and started the long trek back to Bodwesango. The news quickly spread to the people Anyinase. Some of the elders informed Nana Atefa I. He was unhappy to
see his brothers leave so he immediately sent men to persuade them to come back but it was too late.
The first group carrying the most important article, the Black Stool, had already crossed the Pra River towards Foase Kuma near Brenan Ase.
They were retracing the original route they had used when they first came to Anyinase.
But the chasing men encountered another group carrying the Fontonfrom drums with the human skulls attached to them.
This was the pride of the Bodwesango people. They took the drums and said to them, “if the Black Stool has been taken to Bodwesango, we are also taking these drums back to Anyinase”. In effect, it meant that the group who went back to Bodwesango had the Black Stool and those who stayed at Anyinase got the historical drums.
In those days, only the skulls of conquered opponents or fallen warriors or leaders are attached to drums. The name of one such person whose skull was attached to the drum was Kwaku Wa. He was a warrior at Adwapo who terrorized and killed the Asante people travelling through Ayirebi to the coast to trade.
The Asantehene gave the Bodwesango Hene who was then residing at Anyinase at that time, the task to trace and kill Kwaku Wa. They traced and killed him at Brenan Ase. The second man whose skull was on the Bodwesango Fontomfrom drum was called Aduonu. He was a highway man who patrolled the routes of traders and killed them. The Bodwesango warriors traced and killed him at Ayirebi. The Asante Hene Acknowledged the courage and power of the Bodwesango warriors.
The Bodwesango people who remained in Anyinase had no stool so Nana Atefa I sent his elders to Fumso in Asante to buy a new stool (Asese Dwa) to replace the original stool which has been taken to Bodwesango.
He prepared the stool with special smoke as required by custom. Nana Atefa I then decided to install a chief to the stool. He asked for Nana Kofi Sakyi, a nephew of Okofo Nana Boakari but was told he had left for Bodwesango. He knew that the Okyere line was also qualified to occupy the stool. He therefore sent for Nana Kwadwo Owusu from Awisa whose family is in line with the Asimen and the Ahenkora Royals.
He told the Bodwesango gathering that if Nana Kofi Sakyi, the nephew of Okofo Nana Boakari has gone back to Bodwesango, he ‘s installing Nana Asimen II (known as Akwasi Beyeden) from Awisa, who served Nana Atefa I. His grandfather was Nana Asimen. He was carried all the way from Oda to be installed as Anyinasehene. The Anyinase stool is a replica and symbolic to the big black stool at Bodwesango. The Bodwesango Royals who stayed behind occupies the Anyinase stool today. They are brothers of the Bodwesango people.
Bodwesango After Nana Owusu Dwamadua II
When Nana Owusu Dwamadua II from Dwaaso (known as Kwaantwi) died, Nana Aboagye ordered that all the Boakari clan at Anyinase should attend hs funeral at Bodwesango. The problem was that, when Nana Atefa I gave the Bodwesango people the land to settle in Akyem, he made them swear an Oath that they will not go back to Asante again. Hence they had this proverb, “Brodie a ani hwe Asante dei yerinni bi da”. Literary meaning, “they will never turn back to Asante again.
At that time Bodwesango was under the Asantes therefore attending the funeral meant the Boakari clan has broken the oath and were lured before Nana Atefa I. Okofo Nana Boakari was a warrior and was a popular choice by his people to occupy the Bodwesango stool. His father was Nana Yaw Amane, an Adansi who was the
Asante Afigyase Hene.
Okofo Nana Boakari fought in the Yaa Asantewa war of 1909 with the Asantes. in the provisional Government of Cape Coast, the Asantes fought all the way to Anwona trying to control the coastal towns. The Government supported the chiefs along the coast who the Asantes wanted to control. Nana yaw Amane was summoned by the Asante Hene to go to war with them. Okofo Nana Boakari went instead of his ageing father. He fought all the way across the Volta River.
Okofo Nana Boakari and his fighters sang a song during a war that went, “Yegyina nsuo ani yema rekoo”. During the fight Okofo Nana Boakari performed magical powers (yee Nnyankomade) that enabled his men wave through the Volta River. Had it not been the white provisional government, the Anwonas would have been captured by the Asantes.
After the war most of the Asantes stayed in Anwona towns such as Worawora, Gyeasekan, and Peki as can be seen today.
The elders wanted Oko Nana Boakari to be installed on the Bodwesangy) tool. At the same time ,the Asantehene wanted him to become his Safohene in Kumasi. His ageing father Nana na Yaw Amane, the Afigyase Hene, Was not happy and did not allow that. He argued that Okofo Nana Boakari was his eldest son who fought and protected him and would be without protection should the war break out again. Nana Boakari was given the title “Okofo Nana Boakari” for his bravery and courage at war .