Mamprusi people

Mamprusis are an ethnic group in northern Ghana and Togo. Estimates are that there are about 200,000 Mamprusis living in the Northern Regions of Ghana as of 2013,[1] They speak Mampruli, one of the Gur languages. In Ghana, the Mamprusis live mainly in Nalerigu, Gambaga, Walewale, and their surrounding towns and villages in the North East Region. Their origin is in the Upper East Region, principally, Bawku, and they also inhabit parts of the Upper West Region, too.


The Mamprugu Kingdom is the oldest Kingdom, pre dating all others by centuries, in the territory that would afterwards be named The Gold Coast, and subsequently, Ghana. The Kingdom was founded around the 13th century by the Great Naa Gbanwah/Gbewah[2] at Pusiga, a village 14 kilometres from Bawku, which is why Mamprusis revere Bawku as their ancestral home. Naa Gbanwaah's tomb is in Pusiga.

The Kingdom spans most of the North East, Northern, Upper East and the Upper West Regions of Ghana, portions of Northern Togo, and into Burkina Faso. As a consequence, the King of Mossi, Moronaba, of Burkina Faso, to this day, symbolically, is enskinned by the Nayiri – the king of Mamprugu. Thus, establishing this kingdom as the preeminent of its kind. The only kingdom in present-day Ghana whose relevance and authority cuts across national boundaries on the weight of its humble supremacy.

The name of the kingdom is Mamprugu, the ethnicity is Mamprusi, and the language is Mampruli. Succession to a skin is hereditary. Only male direct descendants of Naa Gbanwaah are eligible.

The story of the Mamprusi monarchy traces its origin to a great warrior named Tohazie. Tohazie, means the Red Hunter. He was called the Red Hunter by his people because he was fair in complexion. Tohazie's grandson Naa Gbanwaah settled in Pusiga and established Mamprugu.

Mamprusi is the eldest of the Mõõre-Gurma (Mole—Dagbamba) ethnic group: Mamprusi, Dagomba, Nanumba, and Moshie.


List of leaders[3][failed verification]
Tenure Nayiiri (Mampurugu Naa) (Rulers)
c. 1450 Unknown
1688 to 1742 Atabia Zontuua
1742 to 1750 Yamusa Jeringa
17?? to 17?? Mahaman Kurugu
17?? to 17?? Sulimani Apisi
17?? to 17?? Haruna Bono
17?? to 17?? Andani Yahaya
17?? to 1790 Mahama Kuluguba
1790 to 1830 Salifu Saatankugri
1830 to 1833 Abdurahamani Dambono,
(Dahmani Gyambongo)
1833 to 1850 Dawura Nyongo
1850 to 1864 Azabu Pagri
1864 to 1901 Yamusa Barga
1902 to 1905 Sulimanu Sigri
1906 to 1909 Ziniya Zore Abduru
1909 to 1915 Mahama Wubuga
1915 to 1933 Mahama Waafu
1934 to 1943 Badimsuguru Zulim
1943 to 1943 Salifu Salemu
1943 to 1947 Abudu Soro Kobulga
1947 to 1966 Abdulai Sheriga
1967 to 1985 Adam Badimsuguru Bongu
1986 to 1987 Sulemana Salifu Saa
1987 to 9 June 2003 Gamni Mohamadu Abdulai
27 January 2004 to present Bohagu Abdulai Mahami


Majority of the Mamprusi people are adherents of the Islamic Faith. The Mamprusi began converting to Islam in the 17th century as a result of the influence of Dyula merchants.[4]

Traditional occupations of the Mamprusi include farming and raising livestock.[5]


  1. ^ The Diagram Group, ed. (26 November 2013). Encyclopedia of African Peoples. Routledge. p. 590. ISBN 9781135963415.
  2. ^ Claessen, H. J. M.; Skalník, Peter (1981). The Study of the State. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9789027933485.
  3. ^ Davis, David C. "'Then the White Man Came with His Whitish Ideas...': The British and the Evolution of Traditional Government in Mampurugu." The International Journal of African Historical Studies, vol. 20, no. 4, 1987, pp. 632. JSTOR 219655. Accessed 31 July 2021.
  4. ^ Lewis, I. M. (2017). Islam in Tropical Africa. Taylor & Francis. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-138-23275-4.
  5. ^ Yakan, Mohamad (2017). Almanac of African Peoples and Nations. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-351-28930-6.

Further readingEdit

  • Plissart, Xavier (1983). "Mamprusi Proverbs". Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale Annales. 8 (111).
  • Drucker-Brown, Susan (1993). "Mamprusi Witchcraft, Subversion and Changing Gender Relations". Africa: Journal of the International African Institute. 63 (4): 531–549. doi:10.2307/1161005. JSTOR 1161005. S2CID 145493870.
  • Drucker-Brown, Susan (December 1982). "Joking at Death: The Mamprusi Grandparent-Grandchild Joking Relationship". Man. 17 (4): 714–727. doi:10.2307/2802042. JSTOR 2802042.
  • Drucker-Brown, Susan (March 1992). "Horse, Dog, and Donkey: The Making of a Mamprusi King". Man. 21 (1): 71–90. doi:10.2307/2803595. JSTOR 2803595.

External linksEdit