Ayawaso is Great Accra former capital of the Ga Kingdom. It was founded by Mantse Ayi – son of Mantse Ayi Kushi who led Gamei from the East to the Accra Plains.
The Ga fishing village settlements along the Atlantic coast were referred to as Little Accra by the Europeans at the Coast.
Ayawaso was located west of Pokuase and east of the Densu River. The Gamei who resided there were potters and farmers. Evidence of their pottery activities was discovered by Prof. Anquanda and others who did archeological excavations in the area. They also saw evidence of settlements as the bases of houses that existed there are visible.
Ayawaso became prosperous because the Ga Mantsemei Mantse Owula Mampong Okai and his son Mantse Okaikoi controlled the trade between the people from interior States and the Europeans at the Coast.
The Ga people were also known as powerful Archers and hunters.
Some of the interior States increasingly became resentful about the increasing wealth of the Ga State. However, for over 30 years there was peace – even the interregnum period following the death of Mantse Owula Mampong Okai was peaceful.
His Awutu (Obutu from Winneba) wife Manye Dode Akabi served as Regent following his death due to the young age of his son Okaikoi. She was brutal to the Ga people, particularly the men, while elevating the status of the women.
Mantse Okaikoi signed the Trust Deed between the Ga State and the Kingdom of Sweden for the land on which Christiansborg Castle (Osu Castle) is now situated. The Trust Deed was eventually traded to the trading company that represented the then Kingdom of Denmark and Norway.
Mantse Okaikoi’s Father Owula Mampong Okai entered into the agreement with the Dutch for the land on which Fort Crevecoeur (now Ussher Fort) is situated.
A disagreement over Mantse Okaikoi’s sons circumcising an Akwamu Prince Odei, whom the Akwamu State had sent to the Ga Court, eventually led the Akwamu people to attack the Ga State! This resulted in a protracted war that lasted 20 years from 1660 to 1680.
Mantse Okaikoi committed suicide to prevent capture and death by the Akwamu people. Most of his sons were killed during the war.
The Ga people evacuated from Ayawaso to Little Accra (Ga Mashie) the various coastal villages along the Coast. Some of the Ga people also left to join Ga people who settled in Anecho (Little Popo) and other villages such as Agbadrafo and Glidji (Glidzi) during the migration from the East.
Most of Mantse Okaikoi’s family members left for Anecho and took the Ga Stool and other Royal regalia with them for safekeeping.
Mantse Okaikoi’s nephew Ashangmo* waged a guerrilla war against the Akwamu people for 20 years. He extended his attacks into Togo and Benin and was feared by the Europeans along the Coast who often reported on his activities.
One of Mantse Okaikoi’s sons who succeeded him Mantse Ofori remained in Ga Mashie for a while. A Danish Administrator who arrived at the Coast went to Fort Crevecoeur to pay his respect to the then Dutch Administrator. He reported seeing Mantse Ofori, his wife and Mother sitting next to the Dutch Administrator at Fort Crevecoeur during his visit. He described Mantse Ofori as a stocky fellow.
The Danish Administrator also reported that Mantse Ofori left Little Accra (Ga Mashie) and stayed with his Uncle who was the King of Fetu (Cape Coast) for a while. The Danes had a Fort at Fetu so they saw him there.
Thereafter, Mantse Ofori returned to Little Accra (Ga Mashie). Realizing that his Kingdom at Ayawaso had completely collapsed, he left Little Accra to join his relatives in Anecho (Little Popo).
Mantse Ofori started a new Ga dynasty at Anecho (Little Popo) in 1680. The Ga (Guin) dynasty is now situated at Glidji (Glidzi) and very respected in Togo. They name their founder as Foli Bebe (Ofori). They also trace their lineage to Mantse Okaikoi.
Thus the name Ayawaso is of great historical importance to the Ga people.