The Mamprusi king’s title,nayiiri,(na =“king” or “chief”;yiiri= “house”) is unique, and, unlike that of the provincial paramounts or those of the Mossi and Dagomba kings, it is not linked to the name of any particular territory. It implies his position at the very center of the polity, where he is the source ofnaam,the mystical aspect of chiefly power.
The Mamprusi kingdom is one of several related states founded in the distant past by descendants of Na Gbewa, who, legend has it, entered the area from the northeast in flight from a pursuing army. Mamprusi traditions are vague as to the birthplace of Na Gbewa but emphatic about the location of his burial site at Pusiga, northeast of the present capital. This is said to be where Na Gbewa first stopped and founded the original capital.Northernghana.net
When he was very old, the succession was contested and his favorite son slain by a rival prince. On hearing the news of his son’s death, Na Gbewa disappeared—he was swallowed into the earth at the site of his palace, a place in the bush where sacrifices are still made to his spirit. In the course of the conflict that followed his death, his kingdom was divided; elder and younger brothers became kings of the Mamprusi and Dagomba peoples, respectively. Mossi kings are descendants of a latter Mamprusi king’s daughter who eloped from her father’s village at a time when the capital had been moved from Pusiga to Gambaga.Northernghana.net
East and West Mamprusi districts extend over five territorial segments, or provinces, of the former kingdom. Each of these, like the kingdoms founded by different descendants of Na Gbewa, is regarded as the inherited domain of a distinct patriline founded by the son of a Mamprusi king. (It should be emphasized that the notion of the domain does not, in this context, imply exclusive rights to use or dispose of land, but rather political authority with respect to the population.)Northernghana.net
The central area includes the king’s village at Nalerigu and other settlements where members of the king’s patrilineage hold chiefly office. To the west, from north to south, are the provinces of Kpasinkpe, Wungu, and Janga. To the east, the province of Yunyo separates Nalerigu from the Togo border. The paramount chief of each of these provinces is the political head of a corresponding patrilineage, which provides royal chiefs in that province.Northernghana.net