Major Ethnic Groups Of Ghana



Ashanti or Asanti are native to the Ashanti region of the modern day Ghana and accounts for 47.5% of the population. They speak an Asanti dialect of Twi which is a language spoken by over ten million Asanti people as the first language. Ashanti means “because of war.” Because of the gold and the presence of Lake Volta, the Ashanti people built an empire in 1670. The Ashanti Kingdom controlled much of the present Ghana using Kumasi as the central base. The leader of the kingdom, Osei Tutu, defeated Denkyira in 1701 and named his area of influence “Asanti.” The Ashanti limited the influence of the British in the Ashanti region through organized military men who were not easily cowed by the guns. The Ashanti people celebrate several festivals including the yam festival, Adae Kese, and Awukudae. The line of descent is traced through the female with the relationship to the mother determining inheritance and land rights. Ashanti religion is the dominant religion followed by Christianity and Islam.


Mole-Dagbon inhabits the Northern Regions of the Kingdom of Dagbon. They speak the Dagbani language and account for 16.6% of the Ghana’s population. They are related to the Mossi who have their homeland in the modern-day Burkina Faso. The Dagombas call their homeland Dagbon which covers an area of 20,000 square kilometers and was founded by Na Gbewa. Mole-Dagbon has a sophisticated oral tradition that is woven around musical instruments including drums. Thus, its history has been influenced by the drummer. The culture of the Mole-Dagbon is influenced by the Islam. Islam is the state region. The important festivals observed by the Dagombas include Damba, Bugum, and the Islamic festivals


Ewe people are located in Togo and the Volta Region of Ghana. They account for 13.9% of the Ghanaian population and speak the Ewe language. The Awe people first occupied the regions of the Akanland and the Yorubaland but they are neither related to the Akan nor the Yoruba ethnic groups despite the mutual influence. The Ewe people are still organized into villages and elect their chiefs by consensus with the advice of the elders. The chief is not to be seen drinking and is expected to cover his head in public. The religion of the Ewe people is centered on the creator called Mawu and Lisa. They also believe in other secondary gods. Music through drumming and dancing are part of their festivals and feasting events.


Other ethnic groups in Ghana include the Ga-Dangme who occupies the coastal region, the Gurma living in the Northern Volta, Guang, and Grusi. Due to immigration, a significant population of Chinese, Indians, and European nationals live in the country.

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Ghanaian Population
1 Ashanti-Akan 47.5%
2 Mole-Dagbon 16.6%
3 Ewe 13.9%
4 Ga-Dangme 7.4%
5 Gurma 5.7%
6 Guang 3.7%
7 Grusi 2.5%
8 Mande 1.1%
Other Groups 1.4%


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