June 1: First Centralized States Formed in the Savanna (Mamprugu, Dagbon, and Nanumba)

 West African Savanna

West African Savanna

Throughout the 15th century, sovereign states formed in the North of present-day Ghana. The most prominent of these were Mamprugu, Dagbon, and Nanumba which still exist today as kingdoms within the republic.

The most powerful of these kingdoms was Dagbon, founded in 1409. The journey began with warrior named Tohazie who led his troops from Tunga, a town East of Lake Chad, to Mali. While traveling to Ghana, Tohazie married the daughter of the king of Mali, with whom he fathered his eldest son, Kpogonumbo. As an adult Kpogonumbo became a leader of the group and clashed with the Songhay Empire, which was rising in influence in the region. Attacks from the Songhay forced the group southward and they settled in Gourma (present-day Burkina Faso). Kpogonumbo had a son named Naa Gbewaa who eventually led the group to Pusiga, in the northeast corner of present-day Ghana. Naa Gbewaa is regarded as the first king in the oral history of the Mamprugu, Dagbon, and Nanumba kingdoms. The descendants of Naa Gbewaa moved the kingdom to Yendi where they remained sovereign for centuries until colonization by the German Empire and subsequently the British following World War I.

 Northern Region Highlighted

Northern Region Highlighted

The Mamprusi people of the Mamprugu kingdom also regard themselves as descendants of Naa Gbewaa's (Naa Gbanwah in the Mampruli language) kingdom in Pusiga. As a consequence, the kingdom today traverses the borders of Ghana, Togo, and Burkina Faso. While the Dagbon kingdom is centralized in Yendi today, the Mamprusi still consider Pusiga their ancestral home. Islam came to the region in the early 15th century and was adopted by the royal family in the early 18th century. It remains the dominant religion of the citizenry today.

 Larabanga Mosque, built in the Sudanese architectural style in 1421. Larabanga Mosque is the oldest mosque in Ghana.

Larabanga Mosque, built in the Sudanese architectural style in 1421. Larabanga Mosque is the oldest mosque in Ghana.

The Nanumba people also descend from a son of Naa Gbewaa. They are situated furthest south and are centered in the modern day town of Bimbilla.

These three groups have a rich history dating back to the pre-colonial era and share many customs and linguistic characteristics with one another.