Monday, 18 April 2011

History: The Kintampo Culture & Begho Era -I want to know more about our ancestors….

Ghana is the first African country south of the Sahara to achieve independence. This was in 1957. The colonial power was Britain. The Portuguese were the first to arrive and they they named the place where they settled as the Gold Coast. This became the name of the country till independence when it was changed to Ghana. British were not the first Europeans to arrive in Ghana but they were the last to leave. The capital of Ghana was moved from Cape Coast to Accra by the British in 1876.

Before it could adopt the motto of "One people, one nation, one destiny," Ghana experienced almost as many metamorphoses as man himself, witnessing, if not his birth, at least adolescence.

The oldest traces of sedentary habitation in Ghana date back 30,000 or 40,000 years along the coast, notably near Tema. Although little is known about the human beings who lived there, the very fact of their existence upsets the theories that only a few years ago maintained that West Africa had at the earliest begun to be inhabited only from the beginning of the Christian era.

Not only does it appear that Ghana was already inhabited more than two hundred centuries ago, but, in the Brong-Ahafo Region, close to the Black Volta, vestiges have now now emerged of a civilization dating from 1700 to 1500 B.C., referred to as the Kintampo culture.

The later probably lay between the Ivory Coast border, on the west, Lake Volta on the east, and between Kintampo on the south up to Ntereso on the north.

The representatives of this culture were tillers of the soil, livestock breeders, and fishermen, and by the end of the second millennium they had developed a naturalistic art. Who were they? Nobody knows, but the Akan people in the modern village of Hani and its environs speak of the interesting legend: they claim that their ancestors surged forth out the earth through a hole located some six kilometres outside the village, i.e., in the immediate vicinity of the sites belonging to the Kintampo culture.

There is a certain temptation to interpret this legend as a proof that the Akans' ancestors belonged to this ancient civilization. But hasty conclusions must be avoided. In addition, one kilometre from one of these twenty-five-century-old sites, a veritable city - Begho - is gradually emerging from the excavations. This is a much later settlement: carbon 14- dating has pinpointed the buildings as having been constructed between 1350 and 1750 A.D.

At what period did the Hani villagers' ancestors "come out of the ground?" Did this occur in the first or the second period? Is it possible that they have left the region for 2,500 years? Or is this a legend designed to justify a posteriori the occupancy of a conquered territory?

Be as it may, it seems unlikely that life came to a standstill between the period in which Kintampo flourished and the era when Begho was a marketplace frequented by northern caravans. In fact, it was during that period that the mighty empire of Ghana had the time to be born and to vanish.

The Empire of Ghana
Although the southern borders of this empire, which existed from the fourth to the eleventh century, were modified several times over, they never touched Ghana's present borders. At the most trade relations existed between the two regions. It is also possible that from time to time, following a rebellion or unrest over a succession, groups of dissidents may have migrated southward to escape retaliation and either intermarried with the autochthons or settled in nearby sites.


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