The word Akan means “first”. Hence, the Akans believe that they are the first people in all they do. Accordingly, their migration and resettlement were during the iron age and because they were able to use sophisticated tools and implements, they saw themselves as people who were first in terms of Civilization hence calling themselves Akani (one who is first). This led to the saying “Enim guasi nfata Akani ba”, “Disgrace is not a portion or does not befit an Akan”.
There are two schools of thought on the migration of the Akans. According to the works of J. B Danquah, he traced the Akan origin back to Egypt and Southern Sudan as well as to Mesopotamia. Although there is some element of truth, it is not much supported because Sudan lower Nile was known as a crucible of Africans and this was the point of convergence for the dispersal of many African societies. Hence, most of the African Ethnic groups trace their point of origin from there. Therefore, it is generally believed that the movement of the Akans was from the North all the way through Mali to their current place of settlement.
Nonetheless, the Bonos are the first group of Akans believed to have made a Northward trajectory to settle at Bono. Hence, they are popularly referred to as “Akanman Peisie”, meaning the eldest. Bono henceforward became the convergence center for dispersal for most of the other Akan states. The Aowins and Wasa’s trace their roots from Bono. However, Wasa Amenfie has an oral tradition that claims they came from the ground through their chief, Nana Akrofa Krukorkor.
The people of Denkyira (the 3rd most powerful Akan State) also trace their roots from Bono through the Nkyiraa, and it is believed they turned into Nkyira. This metamorphosed into the name Denkyira, thus “Dani Nkyira” (meaning turn into Nkyira). This is because they came to settle among the Nkyira people in Bono Ahafo and became Nkyira. The word “Kyira” therefore means to tighten hard, or a binder hence Denkyira is he who has turned into a binder.
Also, the Fantes came from Timbuktu and settled among the Bono people. The Fanti Priest at that time was Techifri and he built the Techiman township and named it after himself – Techiman, thus Techi’s town.
Furthermore, the Akyem’s (4th most powerful Akan State) also moved from Adansi (2nd most powerful Akan State). Ashanti is a military formation, founded in 1699 when they defeated Denkyira in the battle of Feyianse and the 5th most powerful state on the hierarchy of Akan States. “Ashanti, although the youngest, is, however, older than the Akwapem State which is an amalgamation of Akwapem and Aboriginal Guans of the Hill founded in 1731 under the Abotekyi Accord.
History also indicates that some of the Akan states have legends they trace their roots of existence from. Some say they came from the sky, i.e. the people from Mampong, the Wenchi’s also say they come from a cave while others believe they come from a hole, among others. These legends seek to claim autochthony, meaning they don’t come from any other place than where they already exist hence making them aborigines of the area. Continue Here