Some place names in Ghana are double-barrelled or compounded with the name of the people or traditional state, the latter normally coming first. This may be done for various reasons, such as:
- to avoid ambiguity in speech with another town which otherwise has the same name, e.g. Agona Swedru & Akim Swedru.
- to indicate the presence of a migrant community within a different host region, e.g. Fantekofe in Brong Ahafo.
- to emphasise cultural identity.
The map shown here (click to enlarge), taken from the Scottish Geographical Magazine 1896, shows the larger traditional states.
In The Database, to avoid repetition, where a people name is used frequently the meaning & origin is not given under individual toponyms where they occur. Instead, listed below are subpages for people groups for which people names are commonly found in place names, etymologies being given where known, together with example toponyms.
TRADITIONAL AREAS REPRESENTED IN THE REGIONAL HOUSES OF CHIEFS
The importance of traditional rulers (e.g. kings, paramount chiefs, divisional chiefs) and customary law to Ghanaian society is reflected in the Constitution (1) which provides for a National House of Chiefs from which regional representatives are elected as members of the Council of State. The Electoral Commission of Ghana (2) sets out the procedure by which members of the National House of Chiefs are elected by the Regional Houses, and stipulates the composition of each Regional House. In the south, traditional areas have 'stools' and in the north, 'skins', referring to the manner in which the ruler is seated when in official capacity. In the case of the smaller areas, the name may simply be that of the town in which the ruler resides or holds office, e.g. Worawora (VR). For the larger areas, the name may not appear in any of the place names, e.g. Dagomba (NR). To achieve fairness of representation, some of the smaller traditional areas are grouped together, and only one ruler from the group is elected to the appropriate regional house.
In the list below, based on the Electoral Commision document, Chieftancy Instrument 1974, the traditional areas are shown for each regional house, the names of the areas having been substituted as far as possible for the titles of the rulers in the original, so that the relevance to toponyms can more easily be seen. Where the ruler title differs significantly from the area name, the former is stated in square brackets after the latter, e.g. Navrongo [Navropio]. Note that at the time of enactment, the Upper Region was not split, and the Greater Accra Region was part of the Eastern Region.
Ashanti: ASANTE, Mampong, Adansi, Agona, Asokori, Bekwai, Denyase, Ejisu, Essumeja, Juaben, Kokofu, Kumawu, Nsuta, Offinso, Adonten, Akwamu, Akyempim, Bantama
Brong-Ahafo: Abease, Atebubu, Banda, Berekum, Dormaa, Drobo, Mo, Nkoranza, Suma, Techiman, Wenchi, Duayaw/Nkwanta, Yeji, Prang, Dwan, Wiase, 1 of (Nkomi, Basa, Adjadi, Akroso)
Central: Ekumfi, Anyan Abaasa, Ajumako, Asikuma, Esiam, Anyan-Maim, Mankessim, Abeadzi, Kwaman, Abura, Nkusukum, Anomabo, Denkyira, Awutu, Asin Apimanim, Agona Nyakrom, Edina, Effutu, Gomoa Ajumako, Assin (Gomoa), Hemang, Oguaa, Asin Attandasu, Twifu, Komenda, Eguafo, Agona Nsaba, Anyan Denkyira, Abirem, Asebu.
Eastern: Akim Abuakwa, Akim Busume, Akim Kotoku, Akwamu, Akwapim, Kwahu, New Juaben, Manya Krobo, Yilo Krobo, Ga, Ningo, Osudoku, Prampram, Shai, Ada, Kpone, Boso, Anum.
Northern: MAMPRUSI, 3 of (Bunkpurugu, Wungu, Janga [Soonaba], Yunyuo, Wulugu (Kpasenkpe)
DAGOMBA, 7 of (Gushie, Savelugu, Tamale [Gulkpe-Na], ? [Korli-Na], ? [Yelzori-Lana], Kumbungu, Tolon, Demon, Sunson, Nanton, Karaga, Chereponi, Sambu [Mion-Lana])
GONJA, 3 of (Buipe, Bole, Wasipe, Tulewe, Kpembe, Kusawgu)
NANUMBA, 2 of (Dakpem, Nakpa, ? [Jup-Na])
(Mo) 1 of (Babato, Bamboi, Carpenter, Chibrenyor, Jama, Jogboi, Teselima)
Upper: WA, SANDEMA
(Lawra) Jirapa, Nandom, Lawra, Lambussie
(Frafra) Bolgatanga, Sekoti, Bongo, Tongo, Nangodi
Bawku, 7 of (Binaba, Sinebaga, Binduri, Tanga, Buguri, Tempane, Kagbiri? [Gagbirinaba], Teshi, Kugri, Tilli, Kulungugu, Widinaba, Kusanaba, Woricombo, Pusiga, Zebila, Sapelliga, Zongoiri)
(Kassena-Nankani) 5 of (Navrongo [Navropio], ? [Kotiiupio], Paga, Nankani, Chiana, Mirigu, Kologu, Sirigu, Kayoro, Naga)
(Issala) 3 of (Walembele [Wellembellikoro], Zini, Gwollu, Pulima, Tumu)
(Wala) 6 of (Nadawli, Dorimon, Busa, Wonchiau, Perisi, Kojoperi, Sing, Funsi, Issa, Busie, Kaleo, Daffiama, Guli)
(Builsa) 3 of (Bechaunsi [Bachaunisinab], Siniensi [Seniessinab], Doninga, Chuchiliga, Fumbisi, Wiaga, Gbedema, Wiasi, Kadema, Base, Kanjaga, Godemblissa [Gbemblissanab])
Volta: Buem, Akpini, Anfoega, Vane-Avatime, Ho, Anlo, Peki, Krachi, Likpe, Santrokofi, Tapa, Nkonya, Gbi, Ve
1 of (Adele, Ntrubu, Atwode, Nchumuru, Pai, Akroso)
1 of (Kadjebi, Asato, Ahamanso, Dodo, Pampawie, Papase, Ampeyo
1 of (Worawora, Apesokubi, Bowiri, Akpafu, Lolobi)
1 of (Alavanyo, Sovie, Gbefi, Tsome (North), Leklebi, Wli, Liati, Fodome)
1 of (Logba, Tafi, Agate, Nyagbo, Have, Woadze)
1 of (Aveme, Avate, Wusuta, Vakpo, Botoku, Kpeve, Tsrukpe, Tsohor)
1 of (Akome, Kpedze, Hoe, Honuta, Dodome, Klave, Ashanti-Kpoeta, Dzolo, Saviefe)
1 of (Hlefi, Kpale, Tsome (South), Akrofu, Anfoeta, Akoviefe, Goviefe, Etodome)
1 of (Taviefe, Matse, Lume, Shia, Atikpui, Ave, Ziave)
1 of (Adaklu, Abutia, Sokode, Klefe, Agotime, Ziofe, Dakpa, Dzalele)
1 of (Tokokoe, Hodzo, Akoefe, Tanyigbe, Kpenoe, Takla, Nyive)
1 of (Agave, Mafi)
1 of (Fiervier, Mepe, Bakpa, Tefle, Sokpoe, Vume)
1 of (Battor, Duffor, Volo, Torgome, Fodzoku)
1 of (Some, Aflao, Avenor)
1 of (Weta, Klikor, Afife)
1 of (Ave Afiadenyigba, Dzodze, Hevi, Penyi)
Western: Ahanta, Ajomoro, Aowin, Essikadu, Sekondi, Eastern Nzima, Western Nzima, Gwira, Lower Axim, Upper Axim, Lower Dixcove, Upper Dixcove, Mpohaw, Nsein, Sefwi Anhwiaso, Sefwi Bekwai, Sefwi Wiawso, Wassa Amenfi, Wassa Fiase, Shama, Suaman (Dadieso).