Tamale is located 600 km north of Accra in the Kingdom of Dagbon, on the crossing of three ancient trade routes .
Tamale, officially called Tamale Metropolitan Area, is the capital city of The Nothern Region of Ghana with an estimated population of 360.700 people.
During the last few years Tamale has developed and transformed significantly and is now the fastest growing city in West Africa.
Years and events of importance in the Dagomba history
During the 15th and the 16th centuries the Dagomba came from the north, moving from Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso before settling in Ghana. Oral histories of the kingdom tell that it was founded by a warrior named Tuhazie, who arrived with his cavalry men. From the beginning the Dagombas dominated the existing tribes in the area. Trade, particulary in gold as well as expanding populations and empires elsewhere were major reasons for this influx of people.
In about 1700, the capital was relocated from Yendi Dabari near Tamale to a new city, also known as Yendi, in the east because of incessant wars with the Gonja people.
1713. Naa Zangina defeated the Gonja people and killed their leader at Sari near Yendi. Naa Zangina is reputed to be the first Muslim ruler of Dagbon.
1744-45. After the Dagomba people was defeated in a battlevwith the Ashanti, Naa Gariba was captured. He was later released; in return the Dagombas had to send 500 slaves, 200 cows, 400 sheep and some cotton clothes to Kumasi every year. This lasted until 1871.
During the 17th and the 18th century the Transatlantic slavetrade expanded and the need for slaves increased. The Dagombas helped the Ashantis, who were big slave traders, to get slaves to the white people living at the fortresses along the coast in the south. The long term effect of the slave trade of Nothern Ghana was retardition of the development in the area.
1867. The British Gold Coast colony was formed by the government in London. Britain steadily expanded its colony – not without problems.
1884. European leaders gathered in Berlin, Germany to disguss and decide which part of Africa in the future was going to belong to whom. According to the treaty signed in Berlin the Eastern part of todays Ghana was going to belong to Germany as a part of Togoland, the Western part to Britain as a part of The Gold Coast. The Kingdom of Dagbon hereby was divided.
In the Nothern territories of the Gold Coast the greatest resistance to European rule came from the Dagomba.
1896. After years of rejected requests from the Ya- Naa in Yendi the Germans burned down Bimbila in November. One month later 4000- 5000 Dagomba worriors got defeated by German soldiers equipped with modern weapons after a rejected ultimatum in the battle of Adibo. Today the graves of both Dagomba worriors and German combats from this battle are there for visitors.
1899. The Germans occupied Yendi permanently.
1902. The Nothern Territories were proclamed British Protectorate. Now the three territories of the Gold Coast became a single political unit or crown colony. The British imposed inderect rule. They administrated through local strong chiefs. In the north the Dagomba were put in dominans over the other tribes. The British regulary had meetings with the king and chiefs in Tamale for talks and negotiation in case of troubles. This happened until the day of independence in March 1957. Unfortunately the British largely neglected development of the Northern Territories during all the years up to independence in 1957.
1914. The Germans lost the western part of The Volta Region to the British. Now the kingdom of Dagbon got united again and the Ya-Naa of Yendi became the overlord of all Dagombas.
1956. The people of the Volta Region, in those days called British Mandated Togoland, voted in a pubiscite and chose to become part of modern Ghana.
Most of the history of the Dagomba people, until quite recently, has been passed down via oral tradition with drummers as professional griots. Some of the early history however, is written in “ Tarikh-es Soudan”, a work of an inhabitant of Timbukto, who lived in the seventeenth century and by an earlier manuscript “Tarikh-el Tettach. Both manuscripts serve to record that at least 250 years ago the oral traditions of the Dagombas those days are the same as they are today.