Definitions

Fante

For the writer, see John Fante. Fante can also refer to the Fante language..

The Mfantsefo or Fante are an ethnic group mainly gathered in the south-western coastal region of Ghana, with some also in the Côte d'Ivoire. Their main city is the Cape Coast, Ghana. They are one of the Akan peoples, along with the "'Asantefo'" or Ashantis, the Akuapem, the Akyem, the Guam, and others. Despite the rapid growth of the Ashanti Empire in historic times, the Fanti have always retained their state to this day. Currently, they number about 1,850,000. Inheritance and succession to public office among the Fanti are determined mostly by matrilineal descent, as is common amongst most Akan peoples.

When the Portuguese arrived in 1482, the Fante prevented them from venturing inland and leased properties for Portuguese trading missions. But when the Portguese objected to Fante rules and regulations the Fante expelled them. Thenceforth the Dutch arrived followed by the English, soon to be British. The Fante served as middlemen in the commerce between the interior and British and Dutch traders on the coast. With the assistance of the British the Fante waged war against the Ashanti-Dutch alliance, The Dutch had managed to penetrate inland for the purpose of trading slaves with the Ashanti King.

In the early 18th century, the Fante Confederacy was formed, with the aim of establishing themselves as a nation to be taken seriously by their European counterparts. So in 1844 a bond was written between the Fante, on behalf of the Gold Coast, and the British, allowing the Gold Coast to gain independence without war one hundred years later. Several Ashanti-Fante wars followed. On one occasion, the Fante were aided by the British, who, however, destroyed the strong Fante confederation established between 1868 and 1872, believing it a threat to their hegemony on the coast.

They were allied with the British during the Third Anglo-Asante war (1873-1874). In 1874, a joint Fante-British army defeated the Ashanti, and in the same year the Fante became part of the Gold Coast colony of Britain.

The Catholic prelate Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson is perhaps the most prominent Fante in the world. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is of Fante descent, as is Canadian television journalist Jojo Chintoh (who is a Fante Royal family member see:http://www.citytv.com/toronto/personalities_JojoChintoh.aspx). Also James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey (October 18, 1875 - July 30, 1927) an African-American intellectual, missionary, and teacher was also a Fante

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