The History of the Warrior King

Cape Coast, Ghana
5.131510000000, -1.279474400000
Journal Entry:

Find a map of Africa and look for Mali and Mauritania. Do you see them? It may surprise you to find out that those nations are in the same location as the original Ghana! Between around 300 AD and 1100 AD, the name Ghana referred to an empire rather than a country; its full name was the Soninke Kingdom of Ancient Ghana. Originally, the word “Ghana” was just used as a name to refer to the king of the empire, but it eventually came into use as the word for the empire itself. Ghana meant “warrior king”. The empire came under attack from other nations and eventually became part of the Mali Empire.

The modern-day nation of Ghana, on the other hand, is much farther south than the original Ghana Empire. There are a number of ethnic groups in the country—the two largest are the Akan people in what are now the Ashanti, Eastern, Western, and Central regions, and the Ewe people in what is now the Volta region. We know from archeological records that the various ethnic groups had mostly settled into their current locations by around the 16th century. The city I live in, Cape Coast, is in the Central region, and the local people are Fante, which is a subgroup of the Ashanti tribe.

Before the period of colonization, individual territories were under the authority of their local chiefs.