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Ga-Dangme

Ga and Dangme are two closely related languages which are spoken predominantly in the Greater Accra Region. Dangme is the most widespread language of the region, Ga being confined to the coastal towns around Accra and Tema. The oral tradition, recorded by N.A.Azu, is that the people migrated from "Same, an island situated south-west of River Ogun", which may in reality have been a kingdom in Nigeria. They may have merged with the Ewe migrants at Notsie before moving further west independently and crossing the Volta River. Moving south towards the Accra plain, various groups were formed, such as the Ada, Gbugbla (Prampram), Kpone, Krobo, Nugo (Ningo), Osudoku, and (Shai). M.E.Kropp Dakubu states that the "in-migration of the Ga-Dangme-speaking people ... was probably complete by C.E. 1400" but argues that "the Ga language, as distinct from Dangme, first appeared on the coast ... probably not much before the seventeenth century".

Ada

Various accounts exist to explain how the Ada people acquired their name. The historian Reindorf reports a tradition that "after repeated removals of this tribe from place to place in consequence of incessant invasions .. they said one to another ‘Wadahe’, that is, we have been scattered miserably about", but favours the idea that the name was given by one king Firempong after the name of his capital Da or Oda. E.A.Kabutey attributes an explanation to C.M.K.Mamattah, also given by GhanaDistricts, which states that it was at Notsie, where the proto-Ga-Dangme had joined the Ewe, that "King Agorkoli appellated the Adas as 'Adawolawo' meaning, a wild, furious, brave and warlike people who are easily provoked". Kabutey also describes a tradition which assigns the name to a later period, after the people had crossed the Volta and were attempting to settle further south. According to this account, the Okorli, which was the name by which they were called at the time, were repeatedly attacked by the Akwamu, but eventaully defeated them at Akplaba. A truce was then negotiated, in which the Okorli unwisely "cut off one arm of their leader Chayi" which they "submitted to the Akwamus to show their commitment to ending the numerous wars". Understandably, Chayi is reported to have been unappreciative of this gesture, saying, "curse be unto you, wicked and ungrateful people! With this very arm have I won several victories for you! You shall be cursed forever". It was this last phrase, which comes from the Dangme "nye ma da" which was then shortened to 'Ada'.
ToponymsAda Foah, Big Ada

Agotime

Joseph Spieth, in his monumental work, "Die Ewe-Stämme", characterises Agotime thus: "Agɔtime is situated on both banks of Tordzie River and lies east of Adaklu and south of the Agu Mountain. Its name portrays the fact that the landscape is richly covered with fan palms, for the literal meaning of Agortime is, 'among the fan palm'. There are seven towns in this region .. Kpetɔe .. is the chief's town .. Its inhabitants had wandered in from Dangme, in the neighbourhood of the Krobo Mountain, in the middle of the 18th century. .. They have maintained their mother tongue, Dangme, till today {1906}, especially in Afegame, but it appears this has given way more and more to the Ewe language, especially in the other towns outside the capital." N.K.Gati amplifies the migration story of this people who he notes were originally called the Lehs: "The Agotimes .. traced their origin to the Nuer clan of the ancient Sudan. .. They later moved southwards .. and settled at Poni and Lahe (both simply referred to as Lekpon now known as Kpon) in the present Tema, Osudoku, Ningo and Ada in Ghana. The Lehs were believed to have been the first people to settle on the coast between 1300 and 1400 AD where they mined salt from the Songhor lagoon. They believed their Stool produced the salt by supernatural means, and therefore referred to it as Ntsrifoa (Salt Giver) which is the present Paramount Stool of the Agotimes. Due to strong commercial interests of other tribal groups in the Songhor lagoon, the Lehs met a strong revolt from the people of Akwamu and other tribes who drove them away towards the Volta estuary. They fought the Akwamus for over twenty years, but could not re-establish their power. The Lehs later fought the people of Beh and Fon and drove them away beyond the Popo River. .. After the Lehs came into contact with the Ewe-speaking tribes in the nineteenth century, a process of ethnic assimilation took place between the vassal states who are Ewe-speaking groups and the original Lehs. As a result, the Lehs, except those who still reside in their first settlement (Afegame), lost their language to the dominant Ewe language. The Ewe-speaking tribes used to refer to Leh people as the ‘war-like tribes living among the fan-palm tree’ (Agotimeawo), which became the name of the Lehs till the present day." It is evident from Ethnologue that the process of assimilation has produced a language, Adangbe, which is identifiably different from both Dangme and Ewe. Place names have not generally been prefixed by the ethnonym, but in some cases this is beginning to occur, especially for those toponyms which are more widespread.
Toponyms: Agotime Afegame, Agotime Wodome

Krobo

The Krobo people are the largest of the Dangme states. The land where they chose to settle was the inselberg just south of Kpong, strategically defensible against enemies and slave-raiders, known to them as Kloyo or Krobo mountain. In the course of time and as the population grew, the people spread into the surrounding fertile land. The ties with the traditional 'homeland' were ultimately terminated by a confrontation with the colonial power in 1892, following the introduction of a much-resented poll-tax. The expansion of the Krobo farmers into the Akuapem hills, initially by conquest, and later by purchase, was eventually arrested by resistance from the Akyem people further west, after which migration further afield into the forest lands of southern Ghana increased. The result is that there are settlements even in the Western and Brong Ahafo regions which are named after their Krobo founders.
Toponyms: Krobo, Krawbaw