Akyem (Akim)

Akyem (Akim) Kingdom was a pre-Asante Empire, Akan kingdom and deadly rival of the Akwamu Kingdom. The Akyem people belong to the Asona and Agona clan. They originated from the Adansi region, migrating and founding the three polities of Abuakwa, Kotoku, and Bosome(Bosume), with Kyebi, Oda, and Swedro being their capital, respectively. Abuakwa was the largest and dominant of the three. The kingdoms were located in eastern Ghana.

Political Organization

Akyem seemed to have gotten its statescraft from Denkyira. The political boundaries of the three kingdoms were never fixed or based on land boundaries. It was constantly changing, with stools changing allegiances, to either the omanhene of Kyebi(Okyenhene), Oda, and Swedro. 

Before 1717, the Akyem Kingdom was united but after political disputes the kingdom split. They still collaborated with each other. In 1717, after a collaborated effort against the Asante Kingdom, Asantehene Osei Tutu was killed in battle by a united Akyem.

Akyem, Akwamu, and Asante

Akyem and Akwamu were rivals, which sprang from contested lands of gold rich Birrim Valley, during the 1650s through the 1730s. Akyem was allied to Denkyira, while Akwamu to Asante. In 1730, Akyem was able to conquer parts of Akwamu territory and had the then akwamuhene on the run. Akyem was incorporated into the Asante Empire in 1742. For most of the 19th century, Akyem was engage in resistance and conflict, in ridding itself of Asante hegemony. Akyem experienced internal conflict with stools that supported Asante.


Under the Akyem Abuakwa most land was communal worked by individual farmers. Akyem mainly engaged in oil palm production and gold minning. Akyem was known for its specialty in gold trading. During the 19th century, many small towns tried to profit from palm oil production. Many women owned cocoa farms. They also sold land and leased land. A system of abusa developed. The land owner received 1/3 of the produce on the land, later this became abunu or half of all produce. Land rights were transferred matrilineally. Women did most of the farming. Men were mostly soldiers.

Works Cited

Amanor, Kojo(1999). Global restructuring and land Amanor, Kojo. Global restructuring and land rights in Ghana: forest food chains, timber, and rural livelihoods. Nordic Africa Institute. pp. 84-90. ISBN 9171064370, 9789171064370 

Shillington, Kevin(2005). Encyclopedia of African history: A-G, Volume 1. CRC Press, ISBN 1579582451, 9781579582456

tags: ghana