Fan·te or Fan·ti (fănʹtē, fänʹ-) n. pl. Fante or Fanti also Fan··tes or Fan··tis
1. A member of a people inhabiting Ghana.
2. The variety of Akan spoken by this people.

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Second largest segment of the Akan peoples of the southern coast of Ghana.

The Fante speak a language of the Kwa group of Niger-Congo languages. As intermediaries in colonial-era trade between the Asante to the north and the Europeans to the south, the Fante established several independent kingdoms that formed a confederacy in the late 17th century. The confederacy aided the British in wars against the Asante in the 19th century but was disbanded in 1873 under British pressure. The Akan peoples all together make up about half of the population of Ghana. An important Fante organization called the asafo began as a military group, but in contemporary society it serves mostly political, social, and religious functions.

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also spelled  Fanti 

      people of the southern coast of Ghana between Accra and Sekondi-Takoradi. They speak a dialect of Akan (Akan languages), a language of the Kwa (Kwa languages) branch of the Niger-Congo language family. Oral tradition states that the Fante migrated from Techiman (or Tekyiman), in what is now the northwestern Asante region, during the 17th century; they established several autonomous kingdoms that later joined in the Fante confederacy.

      The Fante grow yams, cassava, cocoyams (taro), and plantain; cash crops include cocoa, palm oil, and timber. Fishing is also important. Rural Fante occupy compounds consisting of rooms around a walled courtyard. Households may consist of kin groups related through either male or female descent; it is common for a husband and wife to continue living in separate homes after marriage.

      The Fante have a dual lineage system. Matrilineal descent determines membership in clans and their localized segments. Every lineage has a ceremonial stool in which reside important ancestral spirits, whose worship is a prominent feature of Fante religion. Patrilineal descent governs the inheritance of spiritual attributes and also determines membership in the asafo, a military organization. Allegiance to the asafo takes precedence over that to the matrilineage. The functions of the asafo are political (as the medium through which commoners express political sentiment and criticism of the chief), social (formerly as a cooperative labour unit and as guardian of the rights of its members), religious (in funerals and state ceremonies), and military (as the primary defensive unit of the state).

      The head of each Fante state is the paramount chief, chosen from the royal lineage. Under him are divisional chiefs and subchiefs. The chiefs and representatives of the asafo function as advisers to the paramount chief. The Fante states never united under a single chief; each remained autonomous and formed alliances only in time of war.

      Traditional Fante religion includes belief in a supreme creator god and in lesser deities who derive their power from him. At the end of the 20th century, however, most Fante were Christians.

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Universalium. 2010.

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