Glossary

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  • Abakwariga
    The term "Abakwariga" refers collectively to the Hausa-speaking peoples of northwestern Nigeria, including the Kutumbawa, Maguzawa, and Gwandara. - Read More

  • Abanyom
    The Abanyom are an ethnic group of southeastern Nigeria who speak a Bantu language. They are farmers and workers, and are closely related to the Ekoi people. - Read More

  • Abbé
    The Abbé of the southeastern lagoons of Ivory Coast, an Akan people, descend from the warriors of the west wing of the Baoulé Queen Pokou's army who migrated from Ghana in the 18th century. - Read More

  • Abidji
    The Abidji are, like the Abbé, a part of Lagoon cluster of Akan peoples of the Ivory Coast, who engage in cash-crop farming and palm oil production. - Read More

  • Abure
    The Abure are an Akan lagoon people of Ivory Coast, who speak a Kwa language. - Read More

  • Adele
    The Adele people are a small Kwa-speaking ethnic group living on both sides of the border between Togo and Ghana, primarily farming yams, cassava, plantain, beans, and rice. - Read More

  • Adjukru
    The Kwa-speaking Adjukru are unique among the lagoon people of Ivory Coast in that they have both Kru and Akan origins. Unlike the other lagoon groups, they maintain elaborate age-group hierarchies in their social structure. They are deeply involved in palm oil production and trade. - Read More

  • Afusari
    The plateau-dwelling Afusari are an Izere-speaking ethnic group of Nigeria. Traditionally hunters, a communal activity steeped in religious and ritual significance, they use hunting dogs, horses, and bush fire techniques to flush out game. In recent years, however, they have transitioned into(...) - Read More

  • Agave
    The Agave people are one of the largest Ewe subgroups, occupying the delta of the Volta river in Ghana. They descend from the ruling dynasty of the Adza Kingdom and its divine elephant Ivory Royal Stool is considered to be the soul of their people. Nowadays, they make their living as small farmers. - Read More

  • Ahafo
    The Ahafo are a major subgroup of Akan people in western Ghana and across the border into Ivory Coast. - Read More

  • Ahanta
    The Ahanta are a coastal Akan people of Ghana, often considered to be a subgroup of the neighboring Nzima. Their confederacy of chiefdoms came into early contact with the Europeans settling on the Gold Coast for trade. They are usually small farmers or fishermen. - Read More

  • Ait-Awari
    Ait-Awari is a Tuareg tribe of Niger, thought to be descendants of the Berber peoples who emigrated towards the south centuries ago. They speak Tetserret (or Tin Sert), a Western Berber language that is related to the languages of the gulf of Sirte in Lybia and rapidly disappearing in favor of(...) - Read More

  • Aja
    The Aja people branched off of the Yoruba group that migrated out of Oyo (present-day Nigeria) in the thirteenth century to become part of the Ewe cluster of southern Benin and Togo. Their language, Aja-Gbe is the foundation of all the dialects between the Volta and Ouemé rivers (Ouatchi,(...) - Read More

  • Akan
    Whether Ashanti, Akuapem, or Denkyira; Abron, Fante, or Wassa; whether residing in Ghana or the Ivory Coast, the Twi/Fante speaking subgroups that make up the matrilineal Akan people consider themselves one nation. Akan means first, foremost, and is a reference to the enlightened, the(...) - Read More

  • Aku
    The term "Aku" has two meanings: [1] It is used to refer to a group of Yoruba from Nigeria who immigrated into the Krio community of Freetown in Sierra Leone in the 1820s and never lost their separate identities. While most Krios are Christians, the Aku are devout Muslims who still speak(...) - Read More

  • Akuapem
    The Akuapem are one of the major ethnic subdivisions of the Akan people, who live in the south-eastern region of Ghana. - Read More

  • Akwamu
    The Akwamu are an Akan ethnic group from the Volta region in eastern Ghana, who, at the peak of their kingdom in the eighteenth century, expanded across southern Ghana and into Benin. Today, Akamus are small farmers, businessmen, laborers, and professionals. - Read More

  • Akyem
    The Akyem are a major subdivision of the Akan people. After migrating eastward because of Denkyira expansion in the seventeenth century, they settled in the Atewa hills of eastern Ghana. Of the Big Six who fought for the independence of Ghana, several were of Akyem descent, a source of pride(...) - Read More

  • Alladian
    The Alladian are one of the Akan ethnic groups of the lagoons of Ivory Coast who live on the barrier island between the lagoon and the Gulf of Guinea. Their economy traditionally revolved around fishing, but in the nineteenth century they started to also trade in palm oil, selling the oil(...) - Read More

  • Americo-Liberian
    Americo-Liberians are descendants of freed African Americans slaves who were resettled in Liberia in the nineteenth century. They became the political, social, and economic elite but gradual intermixing and intermarriage with indigenous Liberians, as well as the coup d'Etat of 1980 diluted(...) - Read More

  • Ana
    The Ana are the most western of the Yoruba peoples, settled in central Togo. Tracing their origins and linguistic roots to the Ife of Nigeria, they are attached to the pantheon of Yoruba orishas. Historically, the Ana were vassals to the Dahomey kingdom prior to European colonization. - Read More

  • Anaang
    The Anaang speak a language closely related to the neighboring Efik and Ibibio peoples in south-east Nigeria. They are mostly farmers cultivating yams and palm oil. - Read More

  • Anga
    The Anga people live in the Plateau State of Nigeria and speak a Chadic language part of the Sura-Gerka group. - Read More

  • Anlo
    The Anlo people of southern Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Ghana are one of the most prominent subgroups of the Ewe. Their name derives from the Ewe term "nlo" meaning "to roll up or to fold into oneself". In the nineteenth century, they generated animosity among the other Ewe groups because of(...) - Read More

  • Anufo
    This Kwa-speaking Akan group of Togo, Ghana, and Benin refer to themselves as Anufo “people of Anu”, a reference to their original homeland in Anu, Ivory Coast. - Read More

  • Anyi
    The Anyi are a Twi-speaking Akan people of southern Ivory Coast and Ghana, closely related to the Baulé. They were the first people of the Ivory Coast to come into contact with Europeans and they are the most Christianized people in the region. The term "Anyi" is also used more broadly to(...) - Read More

  • Aowin
    The Aowin are a majoritarily agricultural ethnic group who speak an Akan language and live on the southern border between Ivory Coast and Ghana, surrounded by Nzima and Sefwi peoples. They are so closely related to the Anyi that many ethnologists consider them a subgroup of the Anyi. - Read More

  • Arma
    The Arma are the descendants of the members of the Moroccan army that invaded the Songhai empire in 1591 and settled in the Niger bend after their victory. "Arma", a name given to them by other groups, derives from the firearms used by their ancestors. Their family names are often Touré, which(...) - Read More

  • Ashanti
    The Twi-speaking Ashanti people are one of the major subgroups of Akan people. They ruled an empire in the eighteenth century that stretched to about 70% the size of present-day Ghana, where they still live. Most Ashanti are now subsistence farmers, but also produce cocoa as their major cash(...) - Read More

  • Assin
    The Assin are an Akan people located in central Ghana. They are divided into two subgroups: the Assin Apemanim (or Apimenem) who live to the east of the Cape Coast-Kumasi highway, and the Assin Attendansu (or Atandanso) who live to the west of the highway. - Read More

  • Attie
    The Attie people live in the southern lagoons of Ivory Coast and as an Akan people, speak a dialect of Twi. - Read More

  • Atyap
    The Atyap are an ethnic group inhabiting the plateaus of central Nigeria, the same area the ancient Nok inhabited, though whether they are related to the Nok is an open question. The Atyap speak Tyap, one of the Benue-Congo languages. - Read More

  • Avatime
    The Avatime are a mountain-dwelling people in eastern Ghana and western Togo. They are surrounded by Ewe peoples, who ethnologists believe overwhelmed the once much larger group of Avatime during their immigration into the region. - Read More

  • Avikam
    The Avikam people live in the lagoon region of Ivory Coast and are part of the larger Akan group. As the other lagoon people in the area, they produce and trade in palm oil. Some are also fishermen. - Read More

  • Azna
    The Azna are a subgroup of Hausa people inhabiting a small area in southern Niger, and retaining their traditional faith. They are thought to be a mix of Tyenga and Songhai peoples who were driven south in the eleventh century by the Tuareg. The Fula of Niger use the term "Azna" more broadly(...) - Read More

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  • Badyaran
    The Badyaran are a Tenda people living on a small, isolated territory in the southwest of Senegal, and small parts of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. They inhabit about twenty villages of 100 to 500 people and, like their neighbors the Koniagui, Bassari, Bedik, and Boin people, they practice(...) - Read More

  • Baga
    The Baga people of Guinea probably originated from the Futa Jallon region, and settled on the Atlantic coast as farmers and fishermen, taking the name bae raka, meaning "people of the seaside". Their language of the same name is part of the mel family, but most of them also speak the Mande(...) - Read More

  • Bainuk
    The Bainuk people of Senegal and parts of Gambia and Guinea-Bissau are believed to have been the first inhabitants of the lower Casamance. They are renowned for their skill as weavers and dyers, but they also formed the core ethnic group of the Kasa kingdom from the fifteenth to the eighteenth(...) - Read More

  • Bajju
    The Bajju are an ethnic group mainly composed of farmers, hunters, blacksmiths, and petty traders who inhabit the Middle Belt region of Nigeria. Their language, Jju, is a Central Plateau language closely related to that of the Atyap people. - Read More

  • Balanta
    The Balanta are people mainly inhabiting central and southern Guinea-Bissau, but also parts of Senegal and The Gambia. Their name, which means "those who resist" comes from their resistance to the expansion of the Kaabu kingdom during the nineteenth century, which displaced them to their(...) - Read More

  • Bambara
    The Bambara are a large Mande ethnic group with a presence in much of West Africa, primarily in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Senegal. Because of the heavy clay content in the savanna soil they farm, the Bambara developed a unique cooperative agricultural system in which whole communities(...) - Read More

  • Bariba
    The Bariba are a major ethnic group in Benin and parts of Burkina-Faso, Togo, and Nigeria. They are divided into two major subgroups, the Nikki of Benin and the Busa of Nigeria. Historically, the Bariba have been a dominant group wherever they have lived. The neighboring Fula people have(...) - Read More

  • Bassa
    Not to be confused with the Bantu-speaking Bassa, another ethnic group in Cameroon. The Bassa are a Liberian ethnic group of the Atlantic coast, surrounded by Kpelles, Manos, Dans, Wees, and Krus. They speak a dialect of the Niger-Congo language, Kru. Their pictographic writing system went(...) - Read More

  • Bassari
    May refer to Bassari (Senegal/Guinea) or Bassari (Togo/Ghana). - Read More

  • Bassari (Senegal/Guinea)
    Not to be confused with the Bassari (Togo/Ghana). The Bassari of the border between Senegal and Guinea are a small ethnic group roughly equally divided between the two countries and speak a Tenda language similar to their neighbors, the Koniagui, Badyaran, Bedik, and Boin peoples. Perhaps(...) - Read More

  • Bassari (Togo/Ghana)
    Not to be confused with the Bassari (Senegal/Guinea). The Bassari of northern Togo and Ghana are part of the Gurma people. They are mostly adherents to traditional religion, worshiping the god Bassar who lives in the nearby mount Bassari. They were historically renowned smiths and(...) - Read More

  • Baule
    The Baule are a major ethnic group in the Ivory Coast, concentrated in the central region of the country. Closely related to the Anyi, they are also part of the larger Akan group and speak a Twi language. They strongly resisted colonial rule and are now primarily Christians and adherents to(...) - Read More

  • Bedik
    The Bedik people are part of the Tenda ethnic group, closely related to the Bassari, Koniagui, Badyaran and Boin peoples. Their homeland is on the border between Senegal and Guinea, a geographically isolated area, so they are subsistence farmers who don't raise crops for market. They practice(...) - Read More

  • Berom
    The Berom form one of the largest ethnic groups in central Nigeria. They speak a Central Plateau language in the Niger-Congo family. They are not related to the neighboring Hausa, so there was great tumult when the British colonial administration, in their ignorance of ethnic differences,(...) - Read More

  • Bété
    The Bété are a Kru-speaking people of the Cocoa Belt of Ivory Coast, divided into 93 tribes. The Bété make a textile out of beaten and dried tree bark, which their traditional wrappers, called tapa or gloko, are made of. They also have a writing system made of pictographs, which only a select(...) - Read More

  • Biafada
    The Biafada are a people of Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Gambia, who speak a Tenda language in the Niger-Congo family that is heavily influenced by Mandinka. In the 19th century, the Biafada fought against both the Fula of Futa Jallon, as well as the Portuguese colonial regime, the latter of(...) - Read More

  • Bijago
    The Bijago are an island people inhabiting the Bijagos Archipelago of Guinea-Bissau. They speak a West Atlantic language in the Niger-Congo family. The Bijago are known for their zoomorphic masks, often depicting cattle but also sharks and sawfish. - Read More

  • Bimoba
    The Bimoba live in northern Togo, and some parts of Ghana and Burkina Faso. They are part of the Gurma ethnic group and speak Moba, which falls under the Gur family of languages. - Read More

  • Birifor
    Birifor is an ethnic group in the north of Ghana and on the other side of the border into Burkina Faso, as well as a few communities scattered in Ivory Coast. They are culturally very close to the Lobi and, like them, speak a Gur language. - Read More

  • Bissa
    The Bissa people of south-central Burkina Faso and northern Ghana, Togo, and Benin are part of the Mande ethnic group. The Bissa are traditionally peanut producers, cultivating and making oils, paste, and grilled snacks out of them. This occupation is the source of many mockeries in the(...) - Read More

  • Bobo
    Not to be confused with the Bobo Wule, the Bobo Tara or the Bobo Nienigue, all names used to refer to the neighboring but very different Bwa people, due to ethnological error. The Bobo, also called Bobo Fing (or "black Bobo") are a Mande people of northern Burkina Faso, spilling across the(...) - Read More

  • Boin
    The Boin form a small Tenda ethnic group on the border between Senegal and Guinea. Like their Koniagui, Badyaran, Bedik, and Bassari neighbors, they practice slash-and-burn cultivation for their subsistence farming. - Read More

  • Bole
    Not to be confused with the Baule of Ivory Coast. May refer to the the Bole (Ghana) or the Bole (Nigeria). - Read More

  • Bole (Ghana)
    Not to be confused with the Bole (Nigeria) or the Baule (Ivory Coast). The Bole are a small ethnic group part of the Guang people of Ghana. - Read More

  • Bole (Nigeria)
    Not to be confused with the Bole (Ghana) or the Baule (Ivory Coast). The Bole of Nigeria form an ethnic group who speak a Chadic language. - Read More

  • Bolewa
    The Bolewa are part of the larger group of Kanuri people of northeastern Nigeria, and claim to have originated from Yemen and reached the area in the thirteenth century. They are active in the fields of commerce, personal services as well as agriculture, and also practice fishing in Lake Chad. - Read More

  • Bono
    Bono is an Akan ethnic group who founded the Bonoman state under the legendary king Adou Bini in present-day Ghana in the fifteenth century and have since spilled into Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast. - Read More

  • Bozo
    Along the Niger River in Mali, the Bozo are Mande fisherman and are considered, both historically and mythologically, as "masters of the water". - Read More

  • Buduma
    Chadic fishermen and cattle-herders in the Lake Chad island area, as well as in three of its surrounding countries ― Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria ― the Buduma are named "people of the grass (or reeds)". - Read More

  • Busa
    The Busa are a Mande group in western Nigeria and eastern Benin. - Read More

  • Bwa
    The Gur-speaking Bwa population extends from Mali's Bani River to the Black Volta in Burkina Faso. Like for many of their neighbors, including the Bobo ― a distinctively Mande group with whom they are often confused ―, farming is of utmost importance to them. They grow cotton, peanuts,(...) - Read More

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  • Chumburu
    The Chumburu share their remote homeland, the traditional Chumurung Kingdom, with other indigenous groups: the Bassari, Gonja, and Konkomba in Northern Ghana. The Chumburu belong to the greater Guang ethnic group. - Read More

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  • Dagaaba
    At the junction of three borders, those of Ghana, the Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso, are sedentary agricultural communities of the Dagaaba of the Gur language speaking family. - Read More

  • Dagomba
    Descendants of the founders of the the Kingdom of Dagbon, the present-day Dagomba continue to make their home in the sparse savanna region of northern Ghana. They are ethnically, linguistically, and historically related to the Mossi of Burkino Faso. - Read More

  • Dan
    The Dan are a Mande group of the Ivory Coast and northeastern Liberia. The once fierce warrior society has now settled as cultivators, clearing their forestlands. - Read More

  • Dawsahak
    The Dawsahak are a pastoral Berber people who were among the first Muslim groups in West Africa, migrating to northeastern Mali in the 8th and 9th centuries. They are closely connected to the Iwellemmedan Tuareg, even being referred to as an Iwellemmedan clan, although they predated them in(...) - Read More

  • Defaka
    Ethnically, the Defaka people are distinct from the surrounding Nkoroo (Ijaw) culture in southeastern Nigeria, but this tiny ethnic group have assimilated to such a degree that their language seems to be the only sign of a distinct Defaka identity, and even that is endangered. - Read More

  • Dendi
    Not to be confused with the Dendi of the Central African Republic. A Songhai people, the Dendi raise crops and cattle along the Niger River plains of northern Benin and Nigeria. The word "Dendi", itself, translates as "down the river." They, like their larger Songhai family, descended from(...) - Read More

  • Djimini
    The Djimini of the Ivory Coast are a subgroup of the larger Senufo, considered to be one of the most ancient cultures of the Dabakala region. - Read More

  • Dogon
    Among pearl millet, rice, and onion fields in the central plateau region of Mali that is bisected by the Bandiagara Escarpment, the Dogon found the isolation to preserve their independence in the face of Mossi and Fula aggression, as well as the encroachment of Islam. They are known for their(...) - Read More

  • Dompago
    Not to be confused with the Logba people of Ghana. The Dompago are a people of Benin and Togo who speak a Gur language closely related to that of the Lamba and Tem people, which is sometimes called Lukpa or Logba. Despite the similar names, the Dompago are distinct from the Kwa-speaking(...) - Read More

  • Dyula
    Not to be confused with the Diola (Jola) or the Dyola (Biafada) people. The Dyula have historically been a highly successful ambulant merchant group whose strategic Mande trading communities across West Africa carved the way for the emerging Dyula states of Gonjain, Kong, and Wasulu. - Read More

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  • Ebira
    The Ebira live in central Nigeria, in a hilly environment that not only served them well in their traditional role as agriculturalists, but also historically, in their past resistance to Fulani jihadist warlords. - Read More

  • Edo
    Closely-related to other Nigerian ethnic groups that speak Edoid languages like the Esan, the Edo or Bini (from the word "Benin") have the distinction of being descendants of the founders of the Benin Empire. - Read More

  • Efik
    A subgroup of the Ibibio, the Efik settled along the river basins of Southern Nigeria originally basing their economy on fishing, then trading. An Efik king continues to have considerable influence over this tightly-knit group. - Read More

  • Efutu
    The Efutu are a Guang people absorbed into the greater Akan culture, although most likely they were the original inhabitants of Ghana's Coastal region. - Read More

  • Eket
    Eket is not only a Nigerian city name, but also the name of the region's indigenous ethnic group, along with their language. They are a sub-group of the Ibibio people. - Read More

  • Ekoi
    In the extreme southeast of Nigeria, Ekoi communities also spread over the Cameroon border. Closely related to the Efik and Ibibio, the Ekoi are notable for their traditional use of Nsibidi ideograms, an indigenous system of symbols, of which they may be the original creators. - Read More

  • Eleme
    The Eleme are indigenous to the Nigerian Niger Delta, grouped in about ten village clusters. Originally ethnically-grouped with their Ogoni neighbors, it appears that the Eleme are a unique ethnicity, with a distinct, rare, and potentially endangered language. - Read More

  • Esan
    It is believed that the name for this group of southern Nigeria, "Esan", is derived from "E san fia", which means "they have fled", possibly echoing their move northward from the Benin Empire. They are traditionally agriculturalists, medical practitioners, mercenary warriors, and hunters, and(...) - Read More

  • Etsako
    Cultivating groundnut, yam, maize, rice and cassava in Edo State, Nigeria, the Etsako speak an edoid (Benue-Congo) language of the same name. - Read More

  • Evalue
    An Akan subgroup, the Evalue can be found not only in southwestern Ghana but across the border and into the Ivory Coast. - Read More

  • Ewe
    The Ewe in Ghana, Togo, and across the southwestern border of Benin, are sometimes collectively gathered under the banner of "Ewe Nation". They share a history with people who speak Gbe languages, like the Fon with whom they also share the Vodun religion. - Read More

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  • Fante
    The Fante constitute an Akan subgroup found mainly in Ghana's central coastal region, but also in the Ivory Coast. A Fante state, a historical Fante alliance, is retained to this day. Notable among the Fante's influential people is Kofi Annan. - Read More

  • FareFare
    Originally a colonialist term to describe a subset of Gur-speaking peoples in northern Ghana because of their greeting "Ya Fara-Fara?" meaning "How is your suffering (work)?", they have since embraced the new appellation. They traditionally practice slash-and-burn agriculture and grow sesame(...) - Read More

  • Fon
    The Fon, who are largest ethnic group in Benin and are also present in Togo and Nigeria, automatically bring to mind their link to the Kingdom of Dahomey, but also to the all-female military unit, known as the Dahomey Amazons, that was created under its rule. Also notable is the practice of(...) - Read More

  • Fula
    As the largest nomadic pastoral community in the world, the Fula are widely-dispersed throughout the Sahel and all of West Africa, but bound together by language (Pulaar/Fulfulde of the Senegambian branch), Islam, history, and shared culture. Historically, they have moved through and among(...) - Read More

  • Fulse
    The Fulse are a Gurunsi group that can be found in western Burkina Faso. They speak a Gurunsi language, part of the greater Gur language family. - Read More

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  • Ga-Adangme
    The Ga and Adangme people are grouped together as part of the Ga–Dangme ethnolinguistic group of Ghana, Togo, and Benin, and together they are a subgroup of the Dangme. They primarily inhabit the greater Accra Plains and the very name "Accra" is derived from the traditional Ga kingdom of(...) - Read More

  • Gallinas
    The Gallinas are a small subgroup of the Vai people of Sierra Leone and Liberia. - Read More

  • Gbagyi
    "Gbagyi" is the name of not only the people of the Middle Belt, Nigeria, but also their language of the Kwa family. Through continual persecution by the Fulbe and Hausa who referred to them as "Gwari", slaves, the Gbagyi forged a strong, united identity. - Read More

  • Gbandi
    Not to be confused with the Gbandi of the Central African Republic and Congo, or with the Gbanda (Avikam) people of Ivory Coast. Belonging to the cluster of Mande language speakers, the Gbandi, a Mandinka population, inhabits Liberia, although many fled to Guinea and to Sierra Leone during(...) - Read More

  • Ge
    May refer to the Dan or the Gouin people. - Read More

  • Goemai
    In the Plateau state of central Nigeria, the Chadic Goemai are closely related to their southern neighbors, the Junkun, and the Anga. - Read More

  • Gola
    The Gola are a Mel group, like the Kissi, and thought to be among the oldest inhabitants of the northern coastal regions of Liberia, though they also can be found in eastern Sierra Leone. The term "Gola" may also refer to the Badyaran people. - Read More

  • Gonja
    "Gonja" is not only the name of a Ghanian kingdom, but also of the people of this kingdom. A Guang people heavily influenced by the Akan, Mande and Hausa, the Gonja are in the family of Kwa language speakers. - Read More

  • Gouin
    The Gouin are one of the Gur-speaking groups, farming millet, cassava, and yams in Burkina Faso and in the Ivory Coast. - Read More

  • Grebo
    A subgroup of the larger Kru, the Grebo inhabit Liberia and the Ivory Coast. The isolated Liberian forest communities were protected from external influence, unlike the coastal "Seaside Grebo", or Glebo, often causing conflict. - Read More

  • Guang
    "Guang" refers to Guang language-speakers (of the Kwa branch of Niger-Congo language family) that are found throughout Ghana, and whose ancestors founded the Gonja State. - Read More

  • Gurma
    The Gurma are among the family of Gur-speakers, chiefly centered in the town of Fada N’Gourma in eastern Burkina Faso, although smaller numbers inhabit northern Togo, northern Benin, and southwestern Niger. - Read More

  • Guro
    The Guro, ancient Mande hunters and current agriculturalists, reside in the valley regions of the Bandama River in the Ivory Coast. They trace their origins directly back to the epic hero Sundiata Keita and migrated southward after the disintegration of the Mali Empire. - Read More

  • Gurunsi
    The closely-related Gur language speakers of northern Ghana and south central Burkina Faso are united under the umbrella term of "Gurunse", or "Guru-si”, which means “iron does not penetrate”, referring to the invincibility of their past warriors. - Read More

  • Gwandara
    The Gwandara are one of the Chadic-speaking Plateau peoples of Nigeria, closely related to the Hausa. Most are subsistence farmers and strong adherents of their traditional religion. - Read More

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  • Haddad
    The Haddad, a Sahelian Muslim group traditionally composed of blacksmiths, live in segregated communities throughout Nigeria, Chad and Sudan, never merging with the local population. Surprisingly, they lack their own language and must adopt the tongue of the communities around them. - Read More

  • Hausa
    The Hausa are a diverse but culturally homogeneous people that are scattered throughout West Africa and along the traditional Hajj route north and east traversing the Sahara. They are the largest ethnic group in Nigeria, but span from Niger, to Chad, to Togo, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, and(...) - Read More

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  • Ibibio
    The Ibibio people are reputed to be the earliest inhabitants of the south eastern Nigeria. Mainly rainforest cultivators and renown woodcarvers, they speak dialects of Efik-Ibibio, a language now grouped within the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo language family. - Read More

  • Idoma
    The greater part of Idoma land in southeast Nigeria remained largely unknown to the West until the 1920s, leaving much of the culture of the Idoma, traditional Benue–Congo language speakers and notable warriors and hunters, intact. Their traditional red and black striped clothing is part of(...) - Read More

  • Igala
    This Nigerian ethnic group's homeland is the site of former Igala Kingdom, framed by the Benue and Niger rivers. - Read More

  • Igbarra
    May refer to the Nupe or Ebira people. - Read More

  • Igbo
    Ndi Igbo ("the Igbo people") form a heterogeneous society in southeastern Nigeria and one of the largest single ethnicities in Africa. Relatively recent political forces (i.e. the wake of decolonization) forged a unified, strong identity for these historically fragmented and decentralized(...) - Read More

  • Igdalen
    Often considered a Tuareg faction, the Igdalen, like the Dawsahak, are believed to have been among the first Berber people to migrate into northwestern Niger and parts of Mali. They speak Tagdal, a mixed Tuareg-Songhai language. - Read More

  • Ijaw
    Indigenous to the Niger Delta of Nigeria, this maritime people is comprised of subgroups like the Ibani, Okrika, Kalabari, Nemba, and Akassa. Migrant fishermen, sea traders, the Ijaw were one of the first of Nigeria's peoples to have contact with Westerners. - Read More

  • Ijebu
    The Ijebu are a subgroup of the Nigerian Yoruba people in the southwestern corner of the country. - Read More

  • Ijemu
    A Yoruba people, the Ijemu live in the west of Nigeria, near the border to Benin. - Read More

  • Ijesu
    The Ijesu live in the southwestern part of Nigeria, near the other Yoruba people, the Ijebu and Ijemu people. - Read More

  • Itsekiri
    Although the Itsekiris themselves are a complex mixture of the many different ethnicities in Nigeria's Niger Delta, their language, which is closely related to Yoruba, developed uniformly, and with no dialects whatsoever. - Read More

  • Iwellemmedan
    Also called Dag Eshaykh or Alkanata, the Iwellemmedan constitute one of the seven major Tuareg tribal or clan confederations (Ettebel or "Drum groups") in the Sahara and the Sahel, from Niger to Mali, Burkina Faso to northern Nigeria. - Read More

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  • Jabo
    "Jabo" is the self-designation of a Liberian ethnic group who describe themselves as a confederation of tribes all speaking a complex, highly tonal Kru language that they mirror in elaborate drum signaling, a communication system for which they are renown. - Read More

  • Jakhanke
    The Jakhanke are Senegambian Mande-speakers, considered a part of the a larger Soninke group, are renown for their Islamic scholarship, constituting a specialized and reputed caste of professional clerics. - Read More

  • Jola
    Not to be confused with the Dyula or the Dyola (Biafada) people. The Jola have managed, despite the influence of Islam or Christianity, to safeguard their traditions, whether it be in Casamance, Senegal where they predominate, or in the Gambia or Guinea-Bissau. The true name of these(...) - Read More

  • Jukun
    Most of the groups in north central Nigeria trace their origin to the Jukun, Benue-Congo language speakers who can be found in the Benue River valley, but also in northwestern Cameroon. The Jukun trace their own origins to the powerful Sudanic kingdom of Kororofa. - Read More

  • Jwira-Pepesa
    Jwira-Pepesa is one of the Bia-speaking subgroups of the Akan of Ghana, like the Anyin, Baule, Chakosi, Sefwi, Nzema, and Ahanta, and, like them, has a traditionally matrilineal culture. - Read More

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  • Kabiye
    Kabye means "peasant of the stone" in reference to the stone walls used in their terrace farming in the mountainous regions of Togo, Benin, and Ghana. Belonging to the cluster of Gurunsi/Gur language speakers, these cultivators are primarily devoted to the subsistence farming, growing millet(...) - Read More

  • Kamuku
    The Kamuku are a central Nigerian ethnic group of the Kainji language cluster, whose origins may be traced back to the kingdom of Kankuma or may even be the precursors to the Hausa State of Zaria. - Read More

  • Kanuri
    The Kanuri people live largely in the lands of the former Kanem and Bornu empires in Niger and Nigeria, inheriting its devout religious Sunni Muslim tradition. The present Kanuri economy is complex, integrating commerce, home manufacturing, agriculture, services, and fishing. - Read More

  • Kapsiki
    The Kapsiki straddle the border between North Cameroon and Northeast Nigeria, where, along Nigerian mountain slopes, they are known as the Higi people. Ethnolinguistically, they are part of the Chadic cluster. - Read More

  • Karaboro
    The Karaboro are one of the many small groups concentrated on the frontier between northern Ivory Coast and southwestern Burkina Faso, particularly where the Komnoé river crosses the border. There, they cultivate corn, rice, yams, peanuts, sesame, and sweet potatoes. The Karaboro languages(...) - Read More

  • Karamogo
    The Karamogo were the scholar class among West African Dyula traders. - Read More

  • Karoninka
    Related to the Jola, the Karoninka live primarily in Senegal, on banks or islands of the Casamance River, but also in the Gambia. - Read More

  • Kassena
    The colonial partitioning of Burkina Faso and Ghana isolated the Kassena from the greater Gurunsi ethnic group in Burkina Faso, of which they are part. They gradually developed an independent cultural identity along the northern Ghana and Burkina Faso border. - Read More

  • Khassonke
    The Khassonke are a Mandinka ethnic group in the region of Khasso in the south of Mali where they grow rice and nuts. They are descended from Mandinka and Fula people and speak a Mande language. Their name comes from their Fula ancestors, who wore wool robes when they arrived in the region:(...) - Read More

  • Kilba
    Various indigenous clan-based mountain communities of the Chadic language cluster make up the Kilba, a Nigerian ethnic group that refer to themselves as the Huba. - Read More

  • Kirdi
    The term "Kirdi" comes from the pejorative Kanuri word for "pagan" and collectively denotes the many groups in Nigeria and Cameroon who fiercely resisted Islamization, such as the Bata, Fali, Fata, Gemjek, Guidar, Giziga, Hurza, Kapsiki, Mada, Mafa, Massa, Matakam, Mofou, Mora, Mousgoum,(...) - Read More

  • Kissi
    The Kissi live mainly in the forest region of Guinea, but also in Sierra Leone and Liberia. They speak Kissi, a Mel language which closely unites them with the Temne. Kissi blacksmiths are notable, producing the famous "Kissi penny", a widely-used West African iron currency. - Read More

  • Kofyar
    Known for their intensive, intricately terraced hillside farming, the Kofyar are a population in the plateaus of central Nigeria actually comprising three different groups: the Doemak (or Dimmuk), Merniang, and Kwalla of the Afroasiatic language cluster. - Read More

  • Koniagui
    The Koniaguis are an ethnic group originally from the Koundara region of Guinea, bordering on Kédougou in Senegal, where a large portion of these people, who are very attached to the land and forest, also live. Apparently, the real name of this ethnic group is "Awey" and not "Koniagui", which(...) - Read More

  • Konkomba
    Referring to themselves as the Bikpakpaam, the Konkomba are a Gur-speaking group in Ghana, although also present in Togo and Burkina Faso. Their ethics of self-determination, bravery, hard work, and collectivism are the cornerstones of their agricultural success as major yam producers that(...) - Read More

  • Kono
    With their homeland in the diamond-rich Kono district of Sierra Leone, it is no surprise that this group is engaged not only in farming, but in alluvial diamond mining. - Read More

  • Kotoko
    The Kotoko form part of the Chadic people living in Cameroon, Chad, as well as Nigeria. May also refer to the Anyi or Baule peoples. - Read More

  • Kpelle
    Primarily rice-cultivators, this Mande group extends along terrain that includes swamps, lowlands, and riversides from central Liberia to Guinea. The Kpelle are also located in Mali, where they preserve their cultural heritage. - Read More

  • Kposo
    Cocoa, coffee, yams and fonio are cultivated by the Kposo, a Kwa-speaking group who live in the Plateau Region of southern Togo and across the border into Ghana. - Read More

  • Krahn
    Kru-speakers, the Krahn are a Liberian and Ivorian coastal people, originally hunters, farmers, and fishermen and served as local traders, brokering deals within the Western slave market as it expanded in the area. - Read More

  • Krio
    The Krio of Sierra Leone are descendants of black populations from London, Nova Scotia and Jamaica, as well as ‘Liberated Africans’ freed from slave ships intercepted on their way to the Americas. Like their Americo-Liberian neighbors in Liberia, the Krio have varying degrees of European(...) - Read More

  • Krobo
    The Krobo of southeastern Ghana and also of the Ivory Coast and among the Ga-Adangme ethnolinguistic groups, are renown for their exquisite bead working. - Read More

  • Kru
    Famous for their skills in navigating and sailing the Atlantic, these indigenous Liberians migrated and settled along various points of the West African coast, notably in Sierra Leone, but also on the Ivorian and Nigerian coasts. The Kru's expertise also spared them from the hulls of slave(...) - Read More

  • Kunta
    Not to be confused with the Kunta people of Kenya. Descendants of North African Berbers, the Kunta were not only instrumental in the expansion of Islam into sub-Saharan West Africa, but formed an urban elite in cities such as Timbuktu. - Read More

  • Kuranko
    The Kuranko maintain their isolation and adherence to tradition in the mountainous region of the northeastern Sierra Leone highlands, extending into Guinea. The Kuranko people are of the Mande branch. - Read More

  • Kurtey
    The intermixing of Fula settlers with local Songhai, Zarma, Sorko peoples resulted in this small Kurtey ethnic group found along the Niger River valley cutting across many West African Nations. Their reputation as slave-raiders earned them, among the Zarma, the name: "Thieves of Men". - Read More

  • Kusasi
    The Kusasi of northern Ghana and southern Burkina Faso are Gur language speakers and although their Kusaal language is closely related to Mampruli (the Mamprussi tongue), conflicts of interest divide these two groups. - Read More

  • Kuteb
    The Kuteb occupy parts of Taraba State of Nigeria that share many cultural, linguistic commonalities with their Hausa neighbors. Famous for their "Kuchicheb", harvest celebrations, their recent history is nevertheless marked by continual conflicts with other ethnic groups. - Read More

  • Kutumbawa
    The Kutumbawa are subsistance farmers who make up a relatively small ethnic group in northwestern Nigeria. They are part of the Abakwariga cluster of Hausa people. - Read More

  • Kwahu
    This Akan group's name derives from its myths of origin, "The slave (akoa) died (wu)," which was based on an ancient prophecy that a slave would die so the wandering tribe of Akan would know where to settle. It would ultimately be south-central Ghana. Hard-woking traders and agriculturalists,(...) - Read More

  • Kyode
    In the northern Volta basin in Ghana reside the Guang-speaking Kyode (of the Kwa family). Each of the several communities is led by a chief, or "wura", derived from the Gikyode word for Kingship, "gewura". - Read More

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  • Lamba
    The Bantu-speaking Lamba live in the Kéran River valley and Togo Mountains of northeastern Togo and adjacent areas of Benin. Although their name translates as "people of the forest", they have cleared their lands to engage in primarily subsistence farming and small animal husbandry. - Read More

  • Lebu
    Living on the Senegalese peninsula of Cap-Vert, the Lebu are, unsurprisingly, fishermen. Their distinctive language, Lebu Wolof, is the source of standard Wolof, the non-official but common vernacular language of the country. - Read More

  • Ligbi
    The Ligbi are part of the subsaharan Mande people cluster, inhabiting north-eastern Côte d'Ivoire and north-western Ghana. Highly islamized communities, they nonetheless incorporate their traditional ritual "do" or "lo" masquerades into Islamic holidays, though in decline. - Read More

  • Limba
    Not to be confused with the Limba people of Cameroon or the Ngbaka people of Congo and the Central African Republic, who also go by the name "Limba". Protecting their unique language that is unlike any other in Sierra Leone, the indigenous Limba, traditional rice farmers, stone builders(...) - Read More

  • Lobi
    The umbrella name "Lobi" that refers to several closely-related Burkinabe ethnic groups, such as the Lobi proper, Birifor, Dagara, Dorossy, Dyan, Gan and Tenbo, is derived from two Lobiri words: lou (forest) and bi (children). These "children of the forest" settled initially on the left bank(...) - Read More

  • Logba
    Not to be confused with the Dompago people of Togo and Benin, who are also referred to by the name "Logba". Kwa-speakers of the Volta Region of Ghana, the Logba people call themselves and their language Ikpana, which means "defenders of truth". They are primarily subsistence farmers, in an(...) - Read More

  • Loko
    Not to be confused with the Yakö people of Nigeria, who are sometimes called "Lokö". Indigenous to Sierra Leone, the Loko are skilled Mande farmers who share the Northern Province with other groups such as the Mandingo, Fula and Temne peoples. - Read More

  • Loma
    Along the northern mountainous, sparsely populated regions of Guinea and Liberia, this Mande group, the Loma, not only cultivate rice but their traditional culture, retaining and refining their celebrated Poro masks and historically resisting Islam. - Read More

  • Longuda
    The only known matriarchal ethnicity in Nigeria, the Longuda can be found in Adamawa, also the seat of their traditional ruler, where they grow Guinea Corn. - Read More

  • Losso
    The Lossos live on a plateau in the Togo Mountains, referring to themselves as Nawdba in their native Oti-Volta sub-group of Gur languages. - Read More

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  • Mafa
    The Mafa belong to the Chadic language grouping, residing along the mountainous Cameroon-Nigeria border. They are renown for their sophisticated terrace-farming techniques. - Read More

  • Maguzawa
    A small subgroup of the Hausa, the Maguzawa, "those that run away from Islam", can be found in the rural areas close to Kano and Katsina in Nigeria, still adhering to the traditional practices, like facial scarification, of early Kano and Katsina rulers. - Read More

  • Mahi
    The Mahi people of Benin are framed by the Togo border on the west, the Zou River on the east, and by Cové, between the Zou and Ouemé rivers, to the south. It was an initial grouping of small communities with diverse origins that unified from the 17th to the 19th century through a joint(...) - Read More

  • Mamprusi
    The Mamprusi are the most ancient of Mole-Dagbani speaking ethnic groups of the northern regions of Ghana and northern part of Togo. Their name derives from "Mamprugu", the name of the kingdom with which they are associated, though they self-identify as "Dagbamba". Their present-day nayiri, or(...) - Read More

  • Mande
    "Mande" is an overarching geographical, linguistic family that is comprised of a number of different ethnic groups, spread throughout various environments, from coastal rainforests to the Sahel and Sahara. They created some of the earliest and most complex civilizations of western Africa,(...) - Read More

  • Mandinka
    The Mandinka are spread throughout West Africa, stretching over a large horseshoe-shaped area starting from their home in Gambia, extending through the southeastern region of Senegal, bending across the northern and southern sections of Guinea and Mali, extending through northern Sierra Leone,(...) - Read More

  • Manjak
    Among themselves, these people from Guinea-Bissau are known as Manjaku, literally meaning "I tell you" in their Atlantic or Senegalo-Guinean Bak language. - Read More

  • Mankanya
    The Mankanya people live in Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and the Gambia. A strong adherence to traditional religion prevails and the Makanyan language, known as "Uhula" by the people themselves, has been made an official language in Senegal. - Read More

  • Mano
    A Mande-speaking group originating from the Mali empire, the Mano traveled to Liberia and settled in what they now call Nimba county, derived from the Mano words Niemba Tun, or "hills on which young maidens will slip and fall". They have close cultural and linguistic ties to the Dans who share(...) - Read More

  • Maouri
    A subgroup of the Hausa, the Maouri are one of the major ethnicities in Niger. They are reputed to be industrious traders and farmers, and practice their traditional religion which encompasses belief in Doguwa spirits. - Read More

  • Marka
    The Marka are a Mande people, an offshoot of the Soninke branch, living in the northwest of Mali. Traditionally merchants, they controlled the desert-side trade between the Berbers who crossed the Sahara and the Sahel. Their trading posts and plantations were integrated into, and flourished(...) - Read More

  • M'Bato
    The M'Bato form an Akan subgroup settled in the Ivory Coast. Originally fishermen, they have abandoned their net to farm coffee and cocoa, palms and rubber. - Read More

  • Mende
    Not to be confused with Mande. The Mende people are a subgroup of Mande who settled in an area on the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia after having long opposed the hegemony of the coastal kingdoms of the Baga people. - Read More

  • Mina
    The appellation "Mina" is derived from the Portuguese word for 'mine', in reference to the vast gold mines in this group's homeland. Living in southern Togo and Benin, the Mina are very close to the Gouin people they are often confused with, and the Ewe. They speak Mina, also called Gen-gbe, a(...) - Read More

  • Mossi
    The Mossi are the largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso, although significant in number in the neighboring countries of Togo, Ghana, Mali, Benin, and the Ivory Coast. According to tradition, they are descendants of Ouedraogo, the first ever authentic Mossi, born of the union of a Mamprusi(...) - Read More

  • Mumuye
    The Mumuye were pushed southwards into the hills of eastern Nigeria during the Fulani holy wars, which extended from the 17th century into the early 19th century. The relative isolation of individual communities remains today and individual lineages still identify with totemic spirits. - Read More

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  • Nafana
    A Senufo group inhabiting northwest Ghana and northeast Ivory Coast, the Nafana are surrounded by Gur speakers to the north, the isolated Mande-speaking Ligbi people to the east, and the Akan-speaking Abron to the south. Their Budu plank mask, representing a mythical buffalo, is among the(...) - Read More

  • Ngizim
    Although there are various references to Ngizim people in Kanem-Bornu history, today they have been assimilated into other ethnic groups, diluting any distinctive cultural identity. Their traditional ruler is the Mai Potiskum whose stool is located in his emirate headquarters in Potiskum, Yobe(...) - Read More

  • Nupe
    Traditionally called the Tapa by the neighboring Yoruba, the Nupe can be found in the Middle Belt and northern Nigeria. The Nupe are noted throughout Nigeria for glass beads, fine leather and mat work, brass trays, and fine cloth. - Read More

  • Nzema
    The Nzema are an Akan people in southwestern Ghana and southeastern Ivory Coast. Mostly farmers, they are known for the Kundum, both a harvest and religious festival. One of the most notable among them was the pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah. - Read More

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  • Ogoni
    Indigenous to southeast Nigeria, the Ogoni remained in relative isolation which allowed them to survive the period of the slave trade with not even a single case of enslavement of their people. They were nonetheless brought to international attention with their recent mobilization: The(...) - Read More

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  • Papel
    Traditional hunters and agriculturalists, the Papel can be found in Senegal (Casamance), Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea. They are linguistically and culturally close to the Manjak of Guinea-Bissau. - Read More

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  • Sambla
    The Sambla live in 12 villages in the savanna region west of Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso, between the Mandé and the Gur cultures. Integral to their identity is the baan, "the talking xylophone", which transposes their highly complex tonal Mandé language, Seenku, into music. Children learn(...) - Read More

  • Saro
    The Saros are the creoles of Nigeria, early 20th century freed and repatriated slaves from other countries, like Sierra Leone, and Latin America. The greater majority were originally descended from the Yoruba of western and central Nigeria. - Read More

  • Sefwi
    Many in the Sefwi Akan sub-group of western Ghana trace their roots back to the kingdom of Denkyira. Nowadays, their resources lie in cocoa farming. - Read More

  • Senufo
    Spanning the northern Ivory Coast, southeastern Mali and western Burkina Faso, this ethno-linguistic group, related yet distinct from the Gur group, even has one sub-group, the Nafana, found in north-western Ghana. Predominately adherents to their traditional faith, they once made up a(...) - Read More

  • Serer
    Originating in the Senegal River valley bordering Senegal and Mauritania, this Senegambian etnhic group, are also found in Gambia. Whether the name of the people themselves is derived from Wolof or Pulaar, Serer seems to refer to something misplaced, hidden, lost, or separate, consistent with(...) - Read More

  • Sherbro
    Native to Sierra Leone, the Sherbro are historically fishermen and powerful traders to the point that they actively participated in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. They are nowadays closely allied with the Krio and, like them, have integrated western culture into their own. - Read More

  • Shuwa
    This small community of "Baggara Arabs" in the southeastern corner of Niger, in Chad, and in Nigeria, are known as Shuwa/Diffa Arabs, their name derived from the Arabic word literally meaning "cattle herder". - Read More

  • Somono
    Fishermen along the Niger river in Mali, the Somono are a Bambara subgroup. Adept at pottery and canoe-construction, they are also traditionally known for their iron working, indispensable to their Bozo neighbors. - Read More

  • Songhai
    The name "Songhai" was historically neither an ethnic nor linguistic designation, but a name for the ruling caste of the Songhai Empire. And although the language, society and culture of the Songhai, a people found throughout the Niger bend in Mali, is barely distinguishable from the Zarma,(...) - Read More

  • Soninke
    A Mande ethnic group found in Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Mauritania, the Soninke were the founders of the ancient Empire of Ghana. Agriculture and trade are both traditional Soninke pursuits. In their early history, they helped exchange coastal salt for inland gold. - Read More

  • Susu
    One of the Mande peoples living primarily in Guinea and Northwestern Sierra Leone, the Susu speak Sosoxui that serves as a major trade language along the Guinean coast. "Guinea", itself, derives from an ancient Susu word, meaning "woman". - Read More

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  • Tallensi
    The Tallensi, for whom crocodiles are sacred, are a Gur-speaking group found in northern Ghana. They cultivate millet and sorghum as staples and, on a smaller scale, raise cattle, sheep, and goats. - Read More

  • Tammari
    The Tammari, linguistically of the Gur Family, are fiercely independent agronomic herdsmen who inhabit the hills and valleys of Benin and Togo. Their iconic fortified, two-storied architecture dot the land of which they are merely "caretakers", the true owners being animistic underground forces. - Read More

  • Tarok
    The Tarok in the Plateau State of Nigeria call themselves oTárók, their language iTárók and their land ìTàrók. In their mainly an agrarian society, the oTárók seem to be an amalgamation of various peoples who now form a more or less homogeneous group. - Read More

  • Tchaman
    "The chosen ones" in the Ebrié language are an Akan group of the Côte d'Ivoire, traditionally divided into nine distinct kinship groups: Kwè, Bidjan, Yopougon, Nonkwa, Songon, Bodo, Dyapo, Bya and Gnangon. With their proximity to both the lagoon and the neighboring ocean, it is no surprise(...) - Read More

  • Tem
    The Tem are an Gur-speaking ethnic group of Togo, but can also be found in Benin and Ghana. - Read More

  • Temne
    The Temne constitute the largest ethnic group of Sierra Leone, although they also reside in Guinea from where they originated. Traditionally farmers of staples such as rice and cassava, the Temne are also fishermen and traders. - Read More

  • Tenda
    Established in Senegal, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau, the Tenda form a ethno-linguistic group comprising relatively isolated subgroups such as the Badyaran, the Bassari, the Bedik, the Biafada, the Boin, and the Koniagui. - Read More

  • Tiv
    The Tiv, visually recognizable for their traditional black and white zebra attire, live primarily in Nigeria. They trace their ancestry back to an ancient individual named Tiv and their Benue-Congo language bears the same name. - Read More

  • Tuareg
    These traditionally nomadic pastoralists are part of North Africa's Berber ethnic confederation that inhabit the Sahara from far southwestern Libya to southern Algeria, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. Often referred to as the "blue people" after their traditional indigo-dyes, the Tuareg have(...) - Read More

  • Tubu
    The Tubu, a clan-based group of herders, nomads, and oases farmers in northeastern Niger, as well as Chad and Libya, are sometimes referred to as the "black nomads of the Sahara". Their own name translates as "rock people". Although the ancient history of the Tubu is unclear, the two groups of(...) - Read More

  • Tukulor
    Native to the Futa Toro region of Senegal but also found in Mali and Mauritania, the Tukulor consider their defining feature to be their strong Islamic heritage, even proudly leading a religious war against neighboring ethnic groups and the colonial French under the great Toucouleur empire.(...) - Read More

  • Turka
    A Gur-speaking people, the Turka are an ethnic group that is only found in Burkina Faso. - Read More

  • Tusyan
    A subgroup of Lobi people, the Tusyan are agriculturalists living in the southwestern corner of Burkina Faso. Their language, Tusya, is linked to the Gur language group and the northern and southern dialects of this language have difficulties understanding each other: mutual intelligibility(...) - Read More

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  • Urhobo
    A forest-belt people with social and cultural affinity to the Edo people of Nigeria, the primarily Nigerian Urhobo still pay allegiance to the gouvernance of elders and the ovie, or king. Their territory is covered by a network of streams, the origin of their water-related histories and mythologies. - Read More

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  • Vai
    The Vai, farmers and forest gatherers in Liberia and south-eastern Sierra Leone, are a Mande group known for their Vai syllabary, an indigenous syllabic writing system developed in the 1830s. - Read More

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  • Wala
    The Wala of the upper region of Ghana speak Gur Wali. They are renown for their traditional Sudano-Sahelian architecture and their continued allegiance to their traditional ruler, the Wa-Na. - Read More

  • Wassa
    The Wassa are the only Twi speaking people in western Akanland, where they are one of the highest producers of gold, cocoa, and palm oil. - Read More

  • Wasulunka
    Living and cultivating rice and peanuts in the Wasulu region of south-western Mali, and some accross the border in Guinea and the Ivory Coast, the Wasulunka speak a language on the fringe of Mande languages. They are said to have originally been part of the Fula people who were conquered by(...) - Read More

  • Winiama
    The Winiama of Burkina Faso originally emigrated from Ghana to resist the Mossi invaders who labeled their heroic pushback as nothing short of magic. The most recognized of the Winiama art forms are their elaborate wooden masks that harness and honor the surrounding occult natural powers.(...) - Read More

  • Wogo
    The Wogo are part of the Songhai ethnic group, living on the banks and islands of the Niger river, both in Niger and Mali. They share this territory with the Zarma, the Kurtey, and the Songhai, and live by the ebb and flow of the river, cultivating rice and tobacco, and small fishing businesses. - Read More

  • Wolof
    The Wolof people of northwestern Senegal, the Gambia and southwestern coastal Mauritania have historically maintained a rigid, endogamous social stratification that included nobility, clerics, castes and slaves and seamlessly became integrated into the French colonial administration,(...) - Read More

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  • Yakö
    The Yakö people are a small ethnic group who live in five small towns in Nigeria's Cross River State. They speak an Upper Cross River language called Lokaa. - Read More

  • Yalunka
    The Yalunka are a Mande people who have lived in the Futa Jallon, a mountainous region in Guinea, since about the 11th century. The name Yalunka literally means "inhabitants of the Jallon." So closely related are they to the Susu people that are some scholars classify the two as one group.(...) - Read More

  • Yarse
    The Yarse are the descendants of Mandinka traders who arrived in what is now Burkina Faso in the late 1600s, bringing Islam. Granted permission to stay by the Mossi king and gradually adopting his language and customs (though never the indigenous Mossi religion or Christianity), the Yarse(...) - Read More

  • Yoruba
    Ethno-linguists and anthropologists agree that all of the Yoruba groups are of Sudanic origins, eventually conquering the indigenous populations of the forested regions of Nigeria. This Niger-Congo ethnic group also can be found in Benin and Togo, collectively united under the cultural,(...) - Read More

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  • Zarma
    The Zarma are a subgroup of the Songhai, scattered in 2000 villages from Niger to the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo, but united by a strong sense of kinship. Subsistence farmers, they also own small herds of cattle contracted out to Fula herders. Widely pro-French, the aristocratic(...) - Read More

  • Zialo
    The Zialo are an ethnic group of Guinea and the name of the southwestern Mande language that they speak. Zialo has five major dialects: Bayawa, Wolo-Ziolo, Woyjawa, Kelighigo and Lawolozu. - Read More