Akan əkän´, äk´ən [key], people of W Africa, primarily in Ghana, where they number over 7.5 million, Côte d'Ivoire, and Togo. They speak languages of the Twi branch of the Kwa subfamily. Although patrilineal descent is recognized, matrilineal descent is more important; social organization is built around the clan. The Ashanti and the Fanti , both of Akan stock, developed powerful confederacies and kingdoms in the 17th and 18th cent.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Peoples (except New World)