Ghana Ethnic Groups

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Do you know where Ghana is located? Do you know that it's made up of many different ethnic groups? If you'd like to know a little bit about them, then check this lesson out.

A Bit About Ghana

Ghana is an African country with its capital at Accra. Located at the southern end of the western bulge of the continent, it's a nation that's only about the size of the state of Oregon. The country has a diverse amount of natural resources like gold, timber, and diamonds suitable for industrial use. Like its diversity in natural resources, it's also quite diverse in its ethnic groups. And that's what this lesson is going to be about, a little bit about the various ethnic groups within Ghana.

Akan & Dagomba

The largest ethnic group found in Ghana are the Akan people. They live primarily in the southern and central parts of Ghana and speak a language similarly called Akan. Almost all of the Akan live in or around forest areas. Some of their most important agricultural and commercial crops and products include yams, plantains, taro, as well as cocoa and palm oil. However, their economy doesn't rely solely on food; minerals such as gold and bauxite are traded as well. Cotton and silk textile, and wood carvings for tourists are important parts of their economy as well.

Their society revolves around matrilineal descent and both men and women work and may own property. Their traditional religion is based upon worshipping an important High God called Onyame, as well as the worship of different spirits and ancestors. However, in recent times the Akan are largely Christian.

Another large ethnic group in Ghana are the Dagomba. These people are primarily found in the northern part of Ghana. They speak Dagbani. Their chiefdom was founded in the 14th century. The Dagomba are mainly farmers, and to sustain themselves and their economy they grow yams, peanuts, corn, millet, and sorghum. They also raise various domesticated animals such as cattle, goats, and chickens. While most of the farm work is performed by men, women will commonly assist the men during harvest. These people worship their ancestors and the earth, at least traditionally so. However, Islam and Christianity have taken some root within their communities.

Ewe & Adangme

Living mainly in southeastern Ghana, and originally from western Nigeria, are the Ewe people. They speak different dialects of a language of the same name, Ewe. Like the Dagomba, most of these people are farmers, and like the Dagomba and Akan, they primarily cultivate yams as their most important food, as well as corn. If they live near the coast, they may fish for food. In addition to agricultural work, some Ewe make clothing and pottery. Their traditional religion centers on their most important god, Mawu, although lesser gods are present. Like other Ghanaian ethnic groups, worship of ancestral spirits is important as well. Again, many Ewe have taken up other religions, namely Christianity in modern times.

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