Fante (people)

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Fante woman selling kenkey (Abura / Asebu / Kwamankese District)

The Fante belong to the Akan ethnic group . The approximately 1.7 to 1.9 million members live mainly in the Central Region in southern Ghana . As part of the inner-Ghanaian migration, the Fante now also make up around 10% of the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Greater Accra capital region .


The Fante (or Fanti) came into contact with Europeans in the 15th century when Portuguese and Spaniards drove along the coast of West Africa.

Since the rise of the Ashanti Empire , the Fante lived in constant battles with the Ashanti , who are related to them , as the Fante, in association with the allied British, restricted the Ashanti access to the sea and thus to trade with the Europeans (see conflict over the Elmina settlement ). In order to defend against the Ashanti, the 1st Fantifederation was founded at the end of the 18th century within the up to then frequently hostile 24 fan states . At the beginning of the 19th century these conflicts escalated and ended in the short-term subjugation of the Fante. In association with the British , the Fante were able to free themselves again, but in the end exchanged the Ashanti supremacy for the British.

In order to avoid colonization by the British, they finally founded a short-lived 2nd Fantifederation in 1868 , which is often regarded as one of the first "self-government movements" in Africa.


Asafo flag depicting local warrior organizations among the Akan peoples (Fante)

Due to their warlike past, the traditional houses of the Fante are based on the European forts and castles of the west coast, which combine many other stylistic elements and are decorated with carvings and figures. Usually these are scenes from the battles of the past. Like the rest of the Akan peoples, the Fante are organized matrilineally , so family membership and inheritance law are defined by the maternal line, the abusua . Famous are the so-called asafo companies of the Fante, a kind of warrior league with far-reaching social significance even today. In contrast to the rest of the scheme, these are organized patrilinearly . The imaginative flags of the Asafo companies are known in European art circles.


Fante , also Fannti, Odschi or Fante-Twi, is spoken mainly in the " Central Region " of Ghana. It is a dialect that belongs to the group of Akan languages. Fante enjoys a high social prestige, especially as the language of trade in Ghana, many members of neighboring small languages ​​such as B. Ahanta speak Fante as a second language. In a gradual process, many speakers of these less important and prestigious minor languages ​​switch to Fante as their main language.

Famous Fante

See also


  • Karine Delaunay: Fanti and Ewe fishermen's migration and settlement in Côte d'Ivoire . In: Center for maritime research (ed.): MAST . tape 5/2 , 1992, ISSN  0922-1476 , pp. 96–103 (English, On the traditional fishing of the West African Fanti and Ewe (digitized version ) [PDF; 326 kB ]).
  • W. T. Balmer, F. C. F. Grant: A Grammar of the Fante-Akan Language. London 1929

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