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HistoryQueen Abla Pokou: The Akan Princess who founded a tribe in Ivory...

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Queen Abla Pokou: The Akan Princess who founded a tribe in Ivory Coast

Did you know Baoule people from Ivory Coast are a subset of the Akan tribe?

And oh, present Ivory Coast was founded by a great woman….

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Queen Abla Pokou born between 1700 and 1720 on Tuesday, in Kumasi, was King Osei Tutu‘s niece, a co-founder of the Ashanti Empire in present-day Ghana.

Osei Tutu was ambushed and assassinated in 1718, Pokou’s second brother Dakon took over as leader of the Ashanti. The King’s reign lasted for almost two decades.

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Following the passing of King Osei Tutu, a succession dispute resulted in the death of Dakon.

Pokuo got married but could not conceive, this became a challenge as she had needed to produce a son in order to succeed her brother.

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One day, while Dakon and his army were engaged in battle away from the Ashanti capital of Kumasi the town was taken over by troops.
Pokou was the only royal princess who survived the massacre, as such she was prepared to die at her post.

The enemy however, took her hostage, Dakon upon rival noticed her absence.

In rescuing the royal princess, Dakon appointed Tano, a warrior in leading the army to the camp of the enemy.

The warrior later married Pokuo, an heir to the golden Ashanti throne was ensured by the birth of a boy from the union.

In no time Dakon became ill and died, before his death, named a successor to the throne, since Pokuo’s son was young.

Nevertheless, Kwissi, Dakon’s rival, assassinated the successor shortly after.

Knowing that Pokou’s son would ultimately be the legitimate heir, Kwissi asked Pokou for permission to rule, but she refused.

Abla Pokou,however, fled out of fear for her safety and that of her family. She escaped with Dakon’s faithful subjects to modern-day Ivory Coast.

Queen Abla Pokou and her fugitives were unable to cross the Comoe River, upon rival.

Abla Pokuo and her people could not cross the river due to the high water caused by the continuous rain. The Comoe is a natural border between present-day Ghana and Ivory Coast.

Queen Abla Pokuo

According to the wise man with Pokuo a child from a noble lineage must be offered as sacrifice to appease the river gods. She flung her son into the river, he vanished among the waves. The trees on the bank immediately bent their trunks to create a bridge.

Another account indicates that, Abla and her escort were able to cross the river after a hippopotamus appeared on the river to pave way.

When they reached the other side, Abla Pokou she wailed and said “Bâ wouli,” to wit the child dead.

The Baoule people, who now reside in modern-day Ivory Coast, derived their name from this phrase (“ba wouli”). to serve as a reminder of the sacrifice of their leader.

Today, Abla is considered as the first and matriarch of the Baoule ethnic group in West Africa, in Ivory Coast.
She reigned from around 1750 until around 1760.

She controlled a division of the great Ashanti Kingdom as it spread westward.

One of the main ethnic groups in present Ivory Coast is the Baoule people, a subset of the Akan.

She is acknowledged for her braveness to save her people and provide them with a better life.

The Queen’s jacket crafted from Baoule loincloth pays homage to the Baoule ethnic community and its heritage.

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