HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT ASSIN STATE
Assin/Asen derives from the word ‘yɛ sen’, a word that emerged during the slavery period because Assin was a transit point for bought slaves from the interior and Northern sector of the country. Assin was the area where slaves were bathed and branded before finally arriving at the Cape Coast Castle.
According to Rebecca Shumway (a dedicated Fante researcher), Assin emerged from an Indigenous Etsi tribe known as Akanyi that lived in the Assin area in smaller numbers even before Fante Borbor. Thy were a major gold trader and supplied gold to Fantes and the British. Over the years, Slave runners, Freed slaves, war captives and some Fantes settled there.
Slave runners who were able to escape in the thick forest after their journey to be bathed used Assin as their home. Freed slaves? Yes Freed slaves. In the 1700’s, Nana Brembong Kojo Egyir (Aggrey II), then King of Cape Coast freed over 100 slaves that were being brought to the Cape Coast Castle. He dug holes in Siwdu and convinced the British that the Slaves all perished on their way so he ordered for them to be buried at Siw-Du. This is where Siwdu and the cemetery in the area originated.
Fantes used Assin as the boader between the confederacy and Asante and usually met around Assin Praso whenever war breaks out. Fantes built hideouts and smaller posts that were used as military camps whenever war breaks out with Asante. These posts and military camps led to some Fantes using Assin as thei home permanently.
In 1806, Assin captives in Asante ransacked a grave in Asante and fled to Cape Coast after Asantehene ordered for their heads. The request of Asante for Cape Coast to release the two Assin capitives were denied by Cape Coast severally and in 1807, the first Asante-Fante war broke out. This is where Osei Bonsu then Asantehene got the name “Bonsu” (Whale), because he reached the shores of the Fanteland at Anomabo.
In 1844, Assin joined other Fante states in the signing of the Bond of 1844. Having been part of Fante for a very long time, in 1868, Assin joined in the formation of the Fante Confederacy. It’s not surprising that you will find Assins with names as Fifi, Ekow, Essoun, Aba etc. For instance the then Chief of Assin Atandansu, Sir Nana Tsibu Darku IX who is known as Ekow Anaisie and born in Cape Coast.
Source: Cape Coast Oguaa