If you are told that Abankro was a once bustling town, you might never ever believe it. Not in a million years. Though they have vast lands, there are not many houses in the town. It is a quiet farming community near Ejisu, in the Ashanti Region.
If you are from Kumase and you are going to Accra it is on your left and it shares a boundary with Ejisu, the Municipal capital. From Abankro, the next town is Adense and from Adense you go to Abura, both towns in the Kwabre East District.
Traditionally, Abankro is under Kumase and not under Ejisu and the Abankrohene swear his oath to the Asantehene. Also, it has no town or village under it like some other towns and villages, thus it is an independent state under the Asante traditional system.
The town was established by the first Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu I. He established the town to protect Kumase, the capital of the Asante Empire.
But why did Osei Tutu establish the town over there?
Well, a long time ago, the main road from Kumase to Accra was not at Ejisu. It was at Abankro.
And as the empire was getting bigger and stronger, the King established the town on the main road to Kumase to not only protect the city and the empire but also to serve as a checkpoint, before you go to Kumase.
So the first thing he did was to build a fence, which is called “ɛban” in twi. Therefore, before you can get to Kumase, the capital of Asanteman, you must get checked at ‘ɛbankuro’. (The first fence which was built in the town to serve as the checkpoint is still there today, however, the area is where they bury their chiefs, therefore no one is allowed to go there.)
Later on, slaves and prisoners of war were all sent to ɛbankuro before they were sent to their final destinations. Fritz Ramseyer, the Presbyterian missionary spent almost a year in the town when he was captured.
The town also protected Kumase during the Kumase-Dwaben wars.
To ensure that they protect the town, they placed a god called Dɛntɛ on the road. Dɛntɛ was brought from Kete Krachi in present-day Volta Region after the Asantes won a war in the area.
However, because the white man has no ɛ in their alphabet, they changed the spelling from ɛbankuro to Abankro.
After the construction of the current Kumase-Accra road which is at Ejisu, Abankro lost its position as a major town in Asanteman as all economic activities moved to Ejisu.
by: Nana Asabere