Northern Factors in Asante History

Emmanuel Akyeampong

Asante emerged as a confederation of matrilineal chiefdoms at the beginning of the 18th century. The 18th century witnessed the territorial expansion of Asante and the centralization of power in the capital of Kumasi. Asante’s northward expansion in the second quarter of the 18th century led to the annexation of the eastern part of Gonja and the neighboring state of Dagomba. This northern contact brought Islamic influences into Asante.

Through interviews and photographs, this digital gallery examines the northern factor in Asante history and the importance of Islam and trade on this history. Focus is on 18th and 19th century Asante relations with Salaga, the most important Muslim town in this period; the emergence of Kintampo as a rival trading and Muslim town from the late 19th century; and the geographical spread of Islam towards Kumasi. Mampong was the Asante state in charge of Asante's northern conquests, as it lay closest to the northern savanna. Not surprisingly, Islam’s earliest presence in Asante was at Mampong, and Mampong royals brought their Muslim networks to Kumasi.

Salaga, Kintampo, Mampong and Kumasi are the nodal points in this gallery. Interviews have been conducted in all four towns and are accompanied by images.

Examine an Image
Khalifa Ustaz Kaamil Amin ibn Sa'id is the leading Islamic scholar in Ashanti Region today. He carries the title of "Hujjat-ul-Islam" and is successor to Shaykh Baba Al Waiz.
Explore an Essay
The Muslim trading town of Salaga in eastern Gonja was the entrepot for north-south trade and the main market for Asante kola nuts.
Investigate an Interview
Alhaji Abdullah Muhammad, Proprietor and Headmaster, Fawziya Islamic School, a Quranic School in Nima, Accra, started 20 years ago (c. 1986) to teach children the principles of Islamic religion.