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The Ga Mantse, Boni Nii Tackie Teiko Tsuru II wants the name of the Greater Accra region changed, 144 years ago since the British named the coastal region “Accra”.
He wants the region to be called Ga Dangme region to reflect and represent the name of its indigenes.
He made the request when President Akufo-Addo paid a visit to the Ga Traditional Council on Friday October 22, 2021.
The Adangbe are found to the east, the Ga groups, to the west of the Accra coastlands.
Although both languages are derived from a common proto-Ga-Adangbe ancestral language, modern Ga and Adangbe are different though they sound alike when spoken.
Between 1500 and 1578, a fortress operated by the Portuguese stood at the site of modern Accra.
This fort provided the Europeans with an outlet for trade, particularly in slaves, with the Ga people (a different group) themselves recent migrants from the inland hills of the region.
While the Ga destroyed this fort in 1578, by the mid seventeenth century, another group of Ga, known as the “Nkran” arriving via countless canoes from the East (they were once part of the ancient Benin Kingdom from the mid-western part of Nigeria), had settled on the site.
There’s differing views on their exact origins and background.
Existing traditional accounts of the origin of the Ga according to Reindorf (who is a Ga himself), indicates that the ancestors of the tribes of Akras, Late, Obutu and Mowure are said to have emigrated from the sea, arriving at the coast tribe after tribe.”
These tribes he believe arrived together with the Adangbes either from Tetetutu or from Samè, located beyond the Volta in the east, and situated between two rivers.
Researcher, Field (1937, p.142) aldo noted that the Ga speaking emigrants began to arrive and settle among the lagoon-worshipping Kpéshi aborigines probably at the end of the sixteenth century.
She argued that these were emigrant refugee families of the Ga Boni, Ga Wo, Ga Mashie and the Obutu fleeing in separate parties from Tetetutu and other Benin parts, probably travelling along the beach, and eventually settled along the coastlines of the Gulf of Guinea, in the Greater Accra region.
Historian Henderson-Quartey on his part noted that the Ga Mashi, Ga Wo, and the Ga Boni in association with some Guan groups having formed part of the emigrants that re-grouped at Tetetutu, crossed over from the east of the Volta into the Accra Plains.
On the contrary, Amartey (1991, pp.13-14) narrating from oral traditions or folkloric sources gave a different version of the migration story of the Ga in Gamεi Ashikwέi (Origin of the Ga).
According to him, historically, the Ga of Ghana were believed to have once lived along the eastern part of the banks of the River Nile during the reign of Thothmes II, the then Pharaoh of Egypt, circa 1700 –1250 BCE.
This was at the time when the Israelites had settled on the land of Goshen, from the eastern part of the River Nile to its estuary.
He postulates that the Ga were part of the Nubians that left Egypt after being freed from slavery by the then Pharaoh Amenhotep II.
Unlike other scholars and historians, Amartey tracing the itinerary of the Nubians indicted that this group separated into the Ethiopian and Ga ethnic groups after they had left Egypt, with each group following different direction.
The Ga-speaking ethnic groups which consists of the Wo Kpele, Wo Krowor, Wo Doku and Wo Sagba were supposed to have travelled the south-western route by following the Ghazal and Jebe creeks, and the River Ubangi which eventually led them to Boma; a town in Congo (presently D. R. Congo).
There they sojourn for some time, before moving on to the Boni Island in the Niger Delta Basin.
He further posits that while in Nigeria, these groups once again separated, with one part moving west to the land of the ancient Benins, while the rest moved north-west to Ife in the Yoruba land.
He then traced their movements from Nigeria through Dahomey (now Republic of Benin) and to Togo where they settled at Aneho, before eventually moving on to their present locations in the then Gold Coast.
In 1642, the Dutch expelled the Portuguese from the Gold Coast and established a new trading post at “Nkran” (Accra).
The main Ga group known as the Tumgwa We led by Ayi Kushie arrived by sea.
When the Guans (Lartehs) on the coast saw them on their canoes at sea, they looked like ants because of their large numbers.
Hence, the Lartehs refer to them as Nkran (ants).
“Nkran” was later corrupted by the Danes to “Akra”, then to present-day Accra.
Nkran in the Ga language is “Gaga”, thus they also started calling themselves Ga.
Due to their sheer numbers, the indigenous Lartehs thus relocated to the Akuapem ridge.
The Ga are also part of the main Guan group that started the initial migration from the Nubia Empire.
The Ga-speaking peoples are currently organized into six independent towns (Accra, Osu, Labadi, Teshi, Nungua, and Tema).
Each town have a stool, which serves as the central object of Ga ritual and war magic.
Accra became the administrative capital of Ghana in 1877 (during the time of King Tawiah l, overlord of the Ga people who reigned during the “Golden years” of Accra (1862-1902) when the British colonial authority transferred the seat of government from Cape Coast.
This decision was made because Accra had a drier climate relative to Cape Coast.
Until this time, the settlement of Accra was confined between Ussher Fort to the east and the Korle Lagoon to the west.
Accra was declared a city on 29 June 1961 by Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
Central to the development of Accra was the building of three European forts as trading posts in the 17th century.
The first of these was Fort Crevecouer, built by the Dutch in 1650, which was later renamed Fort Ussher.
In 1661, the Danes built the second, Christianbourg Castle.
The British then followed in 1673 with Fort James.
The choice of Accra as a location for castles was attributed to the presence of a rocky shoreline and natural harbor.
By the 1850s, the British had taken over the interests of other European nations in Accra and defined the Gold Coast (now Ghana) as a geographical entity.
In 1877 the British colonial administration was moved to Christianbourg Castle.
In April 2021 The Omanhene of the Agogo Traditional Area, Nana Akuoko Sarpong advocates for a relocation of the administrative capital from Accra to Kintampo.
Whiles Accra remains the commercial capital.
It remains to be seen what will become of these requests in the near future.