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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Dente Oracle, the Bron Confederation and Asante: Religion and the Politics of Secession
Author:Maier, D.J.E.
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Ghana
Ashanti polity
Abron polity
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/181584
Abstract:This paper traces the formation, growth, and contraction of the Bron Confederation, a group of small provinces which seceded from Asante in 1875 and remained independent until British and German acquisition in the mid-1890s. The Confederation was headed by the priest of a traditional religious shrine called Dente. The paper analyses how, operating initially from a solely religious base, the Dente priest achieved real political power over the Confederation. He became increasingly threatening to Asante and entwined in Asante politics, ultimately coming to the attention of European officials. His nemesis lay in the fact neither Asante nor European strategists could afford to tolerate a successful Bron Confederation. A case study in the process of pre-colonial African religious/political synthesis, this paper proposes that the sanctions resulting from religious oath-swearing and the wealth accruing from religious consultation were managed skilfully by the Dente priest and provided the basis for secular economic and political power. Maps, notes.