The Guan people are an ethnic group found almost in all parts of Ghana, including the Nkonya tribe, the Gonja, Anum, Larteh, Nawuri, and Ntsumburu, whose ancestors founded the Gonja state. They primarily speak the Guan languages of the Niger-Congo language family.
Guans are believed to be the first settlers in the modern-day Ghana that migrated from the Mossi region of modern Burkina around 1000 A.D.
They are scattered across all the regions in Ghana.
There are numerous studies that support Guan’s claim to their autochthonous (i.e. aboriginal) status.
However, for lack of space, the present writer may confine himself to factual information provided by Professor Abu Boahen who says: “Neither the Akan nor the Ga-Adangbe found the coastal districts of Ghana unoccupied.
It is clear from oral traditions as well as linguistics evidence that these immigrants met the Guans who were living in these areas in different degrees of concentration and political organization”.
“When these immigrants arrived they pushed the Guans eastwards and south-wards and either totally or partially assimilated the Guans culturally or ethnically. (vide: A thousand years of West African history, 1970. P. 167).
By 1482, when these Portuguese led by Don Diogod, Azambuja negotiated with the local chief of Edena for the construction of a fort, there was not any Fante, Ga, nor Ewe on the coast. The Edena people originated from one of the Ancient Guan Kingdom, namely Aguafo. The rest were Asebu, Fetu near Cape Coast, Agona in the Central region and Guan Kingdom in the Afram Plains under the Ataaras. They were all state builders.
Gonja is the oldest Guan settlement, but whether it is the nursery ground and the cradle of Guans institutions is one of the problems which archaeologists are now called upon to solve. But one thing is certain and that is the partrilineal groups so typical of the Guans definitely evolved here.
Historians assert that the growing power of Songhai Empire pushed the Mossi-Dagomba ancestry ancestors south of the Niger Bend, so that by A.D. 1333 they became a threat to the very survival of the Guans in Gonjaland, thus waves of Guans moved southwards in search of settlements.
Earlier the desire to move southwards into the forest country had been felt by the Guan, because the climate and the vegetation were not conducive to intensive human occupation. Eventually, members of kindred groups broke away and wandered afield to their present inhabitants.
The first Group penetrated into the Afram Plains where they built a powerful state under the Ataaras. The last of the Ataaras, by the name King Ataara Ofinam VIII, was ousted by the Akan who migrated from Adansi in a seven-year war, (1690-1697), so that inhabitants fled to Atwode, Akpafu, Lolobi, Santrokofi, Likpe, Buem, Anum, Boso, Nyagbo, Tafi, Akposo, Logba, Akpafo, Abanu, and Okere, as well as the Buem and Nchumuru.
Guans speak distinct languages that are different from the major languages in Ghana except for Gonja.
However, some of these Guan languages are influenced by major languages in Ghana, depending on where a particular Guan tribe is located.
Guans in the Eastern region include Anum, Boso, Larteh, Okere, and Kyerepong. Guans in the Volta Region include Buem, Nkonya, Likpe, etc.
In the central region we have the Efutu, Awutu and Senya and Bawjiase areas. The Gonja people are in the North and part of Brong Ahafo,Bono and Ahafo.
Guans being the first settlers in Ghana, some were assimilated into the cultures of the major ethnic groups in the various regions we have today.
Thus, some indigenes of Kpeshie in Greater Accra and Nzema, Sefwi, Ahanta etc. in the Western and Western Noth region may also trace their roots to Guans.
The indigenes of most of the Fantes in the central region including Asebu, Edna, Aguafo etc. as well as Agona can also trace their origins from Guans.
At present it is accepted that the Guan people can be found in twelve regions in Ghana: Oti, Northern, North East, Savannah, Bono, Ahafo, Central, Western North, Western, Eastern, and Brong Ahafo Regions.
They are very tolerant and live as commoners in their various environments.
They speak the languages of the major ethnic group where they are found natively and speak their distinct languages at home.
Sources: Wikipedia, https://huchulak.com/