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History of Anomabu

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Anomabu / Anomabo in the Central Region of Ghana dates back to the 15th century when it was first established as a fishing community.

Originally known as Annamaboe or Obonoma, the town eventually became one of the most important trading ports in Ghana then known as the Gold Coast.

It was discovered by a hunter from the Nsona clan while on an expedition.

The hunter noticed a large rock by the sea was covered with white birds and proclaimed the area ‘’Obonoma’’ in Fante which means ‘’rock of birds' in English.

By the 18th century, the town had become one of the largest exporters of slaves on the West Coast of Africa.

The Anomabo fort (Fort Willam) became the center of British slave trading along the Gold Coast until the practice was outlawed in 1807.

The fort was built in 1753 by the British after they thwarted a French attempt to establish a fort at the same place. Two earlier forts had been established at the same site, one in 1640 by the Dutch, and another in 1674 (Fort Charles) by the English which was later destroyed.

The fort was christened Fort William by 19th-century commander Brodie Cruickshank in honor of King William IV, upon the completion of another one-story apartment.

Fort William
Fort William

Fort William was once a rest house and a post office, then a state prison (till 2001),

This flag which is part of the British Museum collection may be in commemoration of such an event commissioned by the No. 3 Company.

Several of Ghana’s most notable Posuban shrines lie in Anomabu. as there are seven shrines in the town, one built by each of the seven Asafo Companies - Ebirem Wassa, Ebron, Contain, Tuafo, Etsiwa, Kyirem, and Akomfodze honoring the 70-plus Gods.

No. 2 Asafo Company ca. 1969 by Kwamina Amoaku.
No. 2 Asafo Company ca. 1969 by Kwamina Amoaku.

Dontsin,  No. 3 Asafo Company ca. 1948 by Kwamina  Amoaku, ren. 1966, Kwamina Amoaku.
Dontsin, No. 3 Asafo Company ca. 1948 by Kwamina Amoaku, ren. 1966, Kwamina Amoaku.

Kyirem No. 6 Asafo Company  ca. 1952.  by A.A.  Mills.T
Kyirem No. 6 Asafo Company ca. 1952. by A.A. Mills.T

Tuafu, No. 1 Asafo Company Posuban c. 1925

Anomabo celebrates the Okyir festival once a year at the start of October for a week with the chiefs and people of Obonoma.

The festival is to celebrate a successful harvest, honor ancestors and the spirits of nature, and reaffirm the social ties that bind the community together. - 2022 Festival Highlights

Nana Aggrey I at the Nkansah Park, Okyir Festival
Nana Aggrey I at the Nkansah Park, Okyir Festival

Notable historic natives from Anomabo include:

William Ansah Sessarakoo - a prominent 18th-century Fante royal and diplomat, best known for his wrongful enslavement in the West Indies and diplomatic mission to England. He was both prominent among the Fante people and influential among Europeans concerned with the transatlantic slave trade.

Prince Whipple - an African American slave and later freedman. He was a soldier and a bodyguard during the American Revolution under his enslaver General William Whipple of the New Hampshire Militia who granted him his freedom after the war. Prince is depicted in Emanuel Leutze's painting Washington Crossing the Delaware and Thomas Sully's painting Passage of the Delaware.

John Mensah Sarbah - was a lawyer and political leader.

George Ekem Ferguson - also known as Ekow Atta, was a Fantecivil servant, surveyor, and cartographer who worked in the British colony.

James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey - was an intellectual, missionary, and teacher who was the first Vice Principal of Achimota College.

Nana Amonu IV - The chief of Anomabo between 1860 - 1879 and a member of the Fante Confederacy which existed between 1868 - 1873 it was an organization to rooted in planning a policy of self - determination from European influence.

In recent years, efforts have been made to promote Anomabo as a heritage tourism destination, attracting both domestic and international visitors who are interested in exploring the history of the Asafo companies and their posuban shrines, the fishing community and their customs, and visiting Fort William and exploring its history during the transatlantic slave trade.

Anomabo Ariel View
Anomabo Ariel View

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