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Likpe Todome and the origins of Hohoe

In the village of Likpe Todome we were greeted for the first time in our travels, with the local history and origins. It was really great so I thought I would pass it on to give you all a taste of this familiar Volta story.

Many years ago the Ewe people were chased from their homes by the tyrannical rule of an ancient Chief (from the lands that are now Benin). Fleeing further and further, the Ewes finally arrived in a virgin bush, unblemished by the hands of men. There the people began a small settlement. In those days everyone fetched water from the river and did so at the same time. One of those times, members of the majority lineage killed a pregnant woman of one of the minority groups living on the fringe of the settlement. The murderers refused the custom of replacing the deceased with a member of their own tribe and, thus provoked, the plaintiffs began their preparations for war by sharpening stones used in battle.

Scouts from the majority party saw this action, known in Ewe as "likpe," and returned with the news of a pending conflict. They thus acquiesced to the custom and presented the minority group, now known as the Likpes, with a new bride.

Appeased, but cognizant of the fact that they could no longer live in harmony with their antagonists, the Likpes fled to the hills hoping to once again escape the tyranny of their oppressors. As they fled, those people brandished with the Likpe title named the settlement from which they escaped "Hohoe" or "I took the land" (Wohoe, as they often referred to them as, is "they took the land").

For many years the Likpes lived in the caves on the modern border with Togo and near to the Wli Waterfalls. They fetched water from a small, local waterfall After years spent in hiding, they finally emerged from the caves and founded the first of ten Likpe settlements known as "Likpe Todome" or "Sharping stones from under the mountain" because they came from the caves or "under the mountain."

As the descendants of the original cave-dwellers grew in number, nine more settlements were established under the Likpe title. The capital of the region is now Likpe Mate, less than 500m from Todome, but the Krontihene--or Chief--of Likpe Todome is still regarded with the respect as the ancestral heir to the first Likpe kingdom.

Now, the Likpes are a self-proclaimed peace loving people who claim to inhabit a land devoid of internal or inter-tribal bickering, having learned the lessons of their forefathers.

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