Ethnic Origin

Why Grand Bassa Was Called Gbezohn

In times gone by in Bassa land the people of the interior used to walk down to the coast bearing kinjahs, or palm-leaf hamper, filled with the various inland produce they habitually traded for salt and articles of foreign manufacture.

At the appointed place of trade they would unload their kinjahs, and having sold the contents they would toss the empty hampers into a small stream which ran to the town.

The thousands of discarded hampers clogged the water, causing it to become stagnant and odorous, and thus this place earned the name Gbezohn. “Gbe” in Bassa means kinjah; and Gbezohn means a marshy, smelly place.

Another version offered by F. Harper holds an interesting story but appears erroneous!

There was a chief called Nendeh who lived in the hinterland, and he traded with the coastal Krus for salt. Among his subjects was a man whose name was Tetteh, and his wife was known as Ku-welee. Tetteh and Ku-welee stole a bag of salt from Chief Nendeh, and when this was discovered they were obliged to flee. Since they both loved salt they fled towards the coast. They traveled far, and one day Ku-welee said:

“I am weary, and with child. For many and many days we have been walking, and we are nowhere yet. The road we follow is too long; let us take another, shorter one.”

They traveled on another road, and in time they came to a pleasant place where a river called Jedani met the sea. They began to build their house beneath a cotton tree. During their first night there Ku-welee awake and said:

“I smell something strange. I think it is a ghost.”

Tetteh rose and looked about, and behind the cotton tree he saw a ghost of a mighty snake which people in that land called Gba.

“It is a Gba-zonh,” he told his wife, “and this place is his home.”Therefore the place was called Gba-zonh after the ghost of a snake, and grew to be the town which is Grand Bassa today.