Suriname Kromanti Language – Jamaica – A Closer Look

There is some confusion regarding the Kromanti language. In this article I will attempt to bring a better understanding about Kromanti language.

Fort Amsterdam in Kromanti Ghana

It is always important when studying the past to reference the writings from the same period.
When we do that we notice that Kromanti was a reference to a place of departure and was used as a catch phrase when the region of current day Ghana was meant. In other words when one spoke of Kromanti, Cormantins, or Cormantyns in the 17th & 18th centuries, one meant Ghana(Gold Coast).

The reason the name Kromanti was used was because Fort Amsterdam, a major slave haven to the Caribbeans was located in Kromanti!

More about Kromanti Slavery connection can be seen here: Suriname Meets Ghana

Following are some written observations from the 18th Century in Suriname:

Ethnically based organizations were primarily active on the plantations and not in the city, as was the case in other regions.

For example, in 1745 a Moravian missionary witnessed how at the funeral of a ‘Popo’ slave, the most important ‘nation’ (the Coromantees) took the lead. Governor Nepveu, astute observer as he was, described the different dancing styles of the various nations (and of the Creoles as well).

The slave nations were no functioning political units, but the term presupposed a certain measure of solidarity and mutual support. The following nations were distinguished in Surinam: the Coromantees (Gold Coast Negroes), the Loangos (Bantus) and the Fidas (Dahomey). Source:

So instead of seeing Kromanti as a specific language we must see it as one of the languages spoken in the region of Ghana(Gold Coast), which were mostly Fanti, Twi & Ewe(egbe – Southeastern)

The language came to the Caribbean and South America, notably in Suriname spoken by the Ndyuka and in Jamaica by the Jamaican Maroons known as Coromantee, with enslaved people from the region.
The descendants of escaped slaves in the interior of Suriname and the Maroons in Jamaica still use a form of this language, including Akan naming conventions, in which children are named after the day of the week on which they are born, e.g. Akwasi/Kwasi (for a boy) or Akosua (girl) born on a Sunday. In Suriname the Anansi spider stories are well known.

Please see also an earlier post regarding African words still in use among the general population in Suriname

Also see this Wikipedia entry about Coromantee

So I hope this will shed some light on the “Kromanti language”

Fort Amsterdam in the background in current day Kromanti, Ghana:Fort_Amsterdam_the_Ghanaian_Coast

Another view of Fort Amsterdam in Kromanti,  Ghana:



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