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By: Badigamsira Inusah Abdul Majeed 


The ŋmamprugu Kingdom is an ancient Kingdom located in the Northern territory of the West African Country Ghana, a former British colony. The Kingdom is reported by Anthropologist to have been founded between  the late 1300(14th century) and early 1400(14th century) making it the first of it's kind to have been established in the Volta basin, thus the modern day Ghana.


The Kingdom was founded by the legendary Naa Gbanwaah as being called by ŋmamprusi or Naa Gbɛwaa as he is being called by their Dagomba brothers and Naba Nedega as being called by the Mossi.


Ŋmamrusi  trace their origin to the Northeastern part of lake Chad, now in the Zamfara State of Northern Nigeria. Anthropologist traces this migration era to the collapse of the Seven(7) Hausa states (Hausa Bakwei). The migration of the ŋmamprusi was under the leadership of Tɔɔhi Zia (Red Hunter) as being called by ŋmamprusi and Tɔhazei as being called by their Dagomba brothers. 

Tɔɔhi Zia is believed to have come from a clan called 'TARIWARI' this clan can still be traced to Nigeria and in Mali called 'TRAURE' 


Tɔɔhi Zia first point of stop was in Mali at a village called 'BEIUN' under the leadership of a Tindaana(Earth priest). At Beiun, it was said that a Buffalo has overtaken the people source of Drinking water. And He was told upon his arrival and being a hunter, he promised the Beiun Tindaana that he can kill the Buffalo and salvage his people. 

The Beiun Tindaana was skeptic about it but Tɔɔhi Zia Left for the stream and returned with the tail of the Buffalo as an evidence that he has killed it.

The Beiun Tindaana out of excitement arranged beautiful maidens for Tɔɔhi Zia to chose a bride. But to the amazement of all, he left all the beautiful maidens and choose a Crippled Woman called 'Mali Pɔa Wabga' meaning Mali Crippled lady.

It was the 'Mali Pɔa Wabga' that gave birth to 'Kpugnumbu' who later on killed the Beiun Tindaana and made himself Chief over the villagers.

Kpugnumbu then gave birth to the legendary Naa Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa. 


After the death of Kpugnumbu, Naa Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa  took over as the Chief and moved with his people and worriors from Beiun to Pusiga in the Bawku East District of the Upper East region. 

Naa Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa had a well organised army of Worriors ridding on Horses and well armed with  their armoury as Spears, Bow and arrows, Swords etc making it possible to conquer the local people whose weapons were only Sticks, Bones and Stones. Naa Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa expanded his Kingdom through conqueror by war to the south towards the White Volta, to the east in the present day Togo and to the west in the present day Upper  West region of Ghana. 


Naa Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa married many wives and gave birth to many Children. Among the Children of Naa Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa were: Zirili, Tɔhugu, Kufoku, Sitobu, ŋmantambu, Kacheɣu Yɛmtori, etc.


Zirili was the eldest among the male children of Naa Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa and was by birth Heire apparent to the thrown of Naa Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa. But due to his high temper and lack of leadership qualities, Naa Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa rather settled for Kufoku.


Naa Gbanwaah/Gbewaa out of old age mistakenly leaked his plan of Kufoku succeeding him to Zirili's mother thinking it was Kufoku's mother. This infuriated Zirili and he masterminded and killed Kufoku. When this tragic news got to Naa Gbanwaah/Gbewaa, he made incantations and mother Earth cut opened and he mysteriously vanished inside. This site is still present at Pusiga where sacrifices are made to his spirit and is also a tourist site.


After the mysterious  demise of Naa Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa, Zirili was enskined but the very reason that his Father feared of happened, his reign was unsuccessful and has been wiped out of history. Zirili wanted to wage a war against the Guruma people who happens to be the maternal Uncles of Naa Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa. His elders warned him against that move but out of arrogance he refused and went ahead with the war and was captured.


Tɔhugu was next to Zirili and was to be enskined as the next king. He was a humble hunter and a Worrior and barely have interest in the kingship. 

When he was contacted by the elders, he declined the offer and moved away from Pusiga to a village called Nabari around Wulugu in the West Mamprusi Municipality of the North East region. He was traced there by the elders and was apprehended, because he showed some Resistance. This act serves as a tradition and when ever the NAYIRI is to be enskined, he has to show Resistance and would be captured by force.


After Tɔhugu was enskined and considering the tragic circumstance's that happened in Pusiga i.e the murder of his brother Kufoku, the mysterious demise of Naa Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa and Zirili's death, He moved the administrative capital from Pusiga to Gambaga. His brothers Sitobu and ŋmantambu didn't also feel safe at Pusiga and joined their brother Tɔhugu at Gambaga.


In other to avoid the Pusiga incident from happening, Tɔhugu out of Wisdom asked Sitɔbu who was next to he Tɔhugu and  founder of the modern day Dagbon to cross the White Volta which was a thick Forest call 'Yoo' both in ŋmampulli and dagbanlli and settle there. Given he and his generation the name "Yooba"(People in the Bush/Forest). Thats why till date ŋmamprusi call their brothers the Dagomba 'Yooba' 


After sometime, Sitɔbu returned and told his brother Tɔhugu that the land there is vast and he(Sitɔbu) have shown strength (Yaa) and expanded his Kingdom. His brother (Tɔhugu) intern said "Then you've now turn to Yaa Naa (King of Strength) resulting in the name Yaa Naa for king of Dagbon.


Tɔhugu then told ŋmantambu who was next to Sitɔbu to go and settle at the Southeastern part. Because he pointed his hand towards that direction it was referred to as Naa Nuu (King/Chief Hand) giving them the name Naanumba. Because ŋmantambu was the youngest among them all he was called 'Bibilla' (Younger/small brother) Giving rise to Bimbila and the tittle Bimbila-Naa.


After all he(Tɔhugu) brothers have all dispersed to form their separate Kingdoms, he moved the administrative capital from Gambaga to towards the Eastern part in present day Togo to a village called Mamprugu which is also part of the Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa Kingdom.

The Village of Mamprugu was the maternal home of Tɔhugu, and because of the brotherhood civil war that happened in Pusiga resulting to the death of his brother Kufoku, Tɔhugu feel safe staying with his maternal Uncles than staying at Gambaga. 


Thats why we have a saying ŋmampulli that "Ɛ ba yiri yi za'asii, Ɛ kunila Ɛ ma yiri" Tɔhugu had a successful reign and was administering the affairs of the Kingdom from Mamprugu. 

During those days it was common for people from all Conners of the Kingdom to say 'they are going to ŋmamprugu ' Whenever they were going to visit the king(Tɔhugu). This resulted to the name of the Kingdom 'Mamprugu'.


Tɔhugu lived his life and passed on in Mamprugu. After the demise of Tɔhugu, his son Naa Banŋmarigu succeeded him. He ruled the Kingdom partly in Mamprugu before moving the administrative capital of Mamprugu back to Gambaga. At Gambaga the Royal family were often referred to us people from  Mamprugu (Mamprusi). Till date, the village of Mamprugu in Togo is under the Mamprugu Kingdom and is being enskined by the NAYIRI.


After the demise of Naa Banŋmarigu, the capital of the Kingdom was in Gambaga until the tenth (10th) NAYIRI, Naa Atabiya Zɔntuuwa also moved the Administrative capital of Mamprugu from Gambaga to Nalerigu where the King of Mamprugu is residing till date.


Before the legendary Naa Gbanwaah/Gbɛwaa Kingdom was moved to Mamprugu, Mamprusi were called 'DAGBAMMA' and even till date Mamprusi call themselves DAGBAMMA this is primarily evidenced when an elder Mamprusi man is telling you something important he will say 'Ɛ gbaari N Dagbanni maa ya'

Also Mamprusi refer to the black herbal African medicine as 'Dagban tiim' and not 'Mampru tiim'

Mamprusi also call the lunar months  as 'Dagban gɔya' and not 'Mampru gɔya' 

It is outsiders that call Mamprusi as Mamprusi but Mamprusi call themselves as DAGBAMMA. Even their close neighbours like the Gurunsi(Frafra) call them DAGBAMMA and not Mamprusi. Also

 the Gonjas use 'KAWAN' as the name for both Mamprusi and Dagombas.


Mamprusi prefer to be called DAGBAMMA because that represent their true identity but because the DAGBAMMA was framed by the Colonial Masters as "Dagomba" to be the name of their brothers whom they refer to as 'Yooba. 

They have settled for the name Mamprusi whilst they refer to themselves as DAGBAMMA.


Published by Badigamsira Inusah Abdul Majeed 

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