The General Features of Pre-Colonial Ghanaian States

Reading Time: < 1 minute

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links.

Click here to read the full statement of our affiliate disclaimer.

This tutorial takes a quick look at the general features of pre-colonial Ghanaian states.

Your WASSCE/WAEC Government question on this topic may come in the form of the questions below.


Please Note:

The bullet points below must be expanded into paragraphs for an acceptable WAEC/WASSCE Government essay.

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies


Before the advent of colonial rule, Ghanaian chiefdoms or kingdoms had a well-organized system of political administration.

Mention could be made of the Akan, Mole-Dagbani, Anlo and Ga states.

Paramount chief/king

  • Head of all traditional rulers
  • Performed legislative executive and judicial functions e.g. law-maker, judge, commander-in-chief, administrator, religious leader etc.

Divisional or Sub-Chiefs

Instantly check the Nigerian Naira (NGN) equivalent of the Ghana Cedi (GHS). And other world currencies too!

  • They ruled the sub-division of the kingdom
  • Directly came under paramount chief
  • Under the divisional chiefs were district rulers, village chiefs or headmen in that order

The pre-colonial Akan political system was therefore CENTRALIZED


Education is the most effective key to personal progress. is here to assist you achieve your educational and life goals. We don’t care about your age, location or socio-economic background.

The Queen mother

  • Mother of the maternal royal family
  • Nominated the successor to the chief when the seat became vacant.
  • Sat with chief in court
  • Had her own linguist and councilors
  • Could become paramount ruler when no successor was found immediately
  • Advisor to the chief and council of elders
  • Controller of women affairs
  • Could be deposed

Related question:

Outline the functions of the queen mother in the Akan political system.

OR: Describe the role of the queen mother in one pre-colonial Ghanaian political system.

The Linguist

  • Chief’s spokesman
  • Well-versed in oral tradition

Council of elders

  • Members were heads of families
  • Approved the nomination of chiefs
  • Advised the chief
  • Could destool the chief
Cryptocurrency Certification

Asafo Companies

  • Youth groups made up of commoners
  • Performed para-military functions
  • Provided communal labour for the provision of social amenities


  • Presided over by the chief/king
  • Could use trial by ordeal.


  • Kept revenue from court fees, fines, sale of land, taxes etc

Before you go …

Discover how you can begin to prepare for life in the real world after leaving school. CLICK HERE.

Subscribe For Latest Updates

Sign up to receive the best of WASSCE study guides &smart skills tips that matter to you.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Ralph spends his day working as an online educator, a freelance website designer, web content manager and WordPress trainer. Ralph is the CEO of RN Digital Media Ent. He publishes on and BloggingtotheMax.

Say Something About This