The Republic of Ghana is situated along the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Ghana is surrounded by Burkina Faso in the north and Togo in the east. It also has Ivory Coast in the west, and the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean in the south.
The first permanent state in the territory of Ghana dates as far back as the 11th century. Over the centuries, many empires and kingdoms emerged and the most powerful of them was the Kingdom of Ashanti. In the 15th century, many Europeans contested the area for trading rights. In the late 19th century, the British ultimately established control of the coast.
After a century of native resistance, the Gold Coast became independent of the United Kingdom on the 6th of March 1957.
According to the 2010 census, 71.2% of the population were Christians. 17.6% of them were Muslims, and 5.2% practiced traditional faiths.
Ghana is a unitary legitimate democracy led by a president who is both head of state and head of the government. Ghana’s growing economic prosperity and democratic political system have made her a regional power in West Africa.
She is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). She also belongs to the Group of 24 (G24), and the Commonwealth of Nations.
The history of Ghana
Ghana means “warrior king”.
Ghana was inhabited in the Middle Ages by a number of ancient Akan kingdoms. Though the area had experienced many population movements, the Akans settled in the 5th century. By the 11th century, the Akans had firmly established themselves in the Akan state called Bonoman.
The Kingdom of Ashanti government operated first as a loose network. Eventually, they operated as a centralized kingdom with bureaucracy in the capital city of Kumasi. Before contact with the Europeans, the Akan had created an advanced economy based principally on gold. It was this gold that they traded with the other states of Africa.
The Akan trade with European states began after contact with Portuguese in the 15th century. The Portuguese who came to the Gold Coast to trade established Gold Coasts which focused on the extensive availability of gold.
In 1617, the Dutch seized the Olnini Castle from the Portuguese and Axim in 1642. In the mid-17th century, other European traders who had joined in gold trading also established their Gold Coast.
Portuguese merchants, who were impressed with the gold resources in the area, named it Gold Coast.
Over thirty forts and castles were built by the Europeans.
In 1874, Great Britain established control over some parts of the country and addressed the areas as the British Gold Coast. However, numerous military engagements occurred between the British colonial powers and the various Akan nation-states. The Akan Kingdom of Ashanti defeated the British a few times in the 100-year-long Anglo-Ashanti wars. Howbeit, they eventually lost with the War of the Golden Stool in the early 1900s.
Transition to independence
In 1947, the United Gold Coast Convention which was newly formed and led by ‘The Big Six’ called for “self-government within the shortest possible time”. This was after the Gold Coast legislative election in 1946. Kwame Nkrumah was the first President of Ghana and the first Prime Minister. He formed the Convention People’s Party with the motto “self-government now”.
The Gold Coast region became independent from the United Kingdom on the 6th of March 1957. At that period, it was renamed as the nation of Ghana.
The 6th of March is the nation’s Independence Day and 1st of July is celebrated as Republic Day.
The flag of Ghana
The Ghanaian flag was designed by Theodosia Salome Okoh in 1957 when Gold Coast gained its name Ghana. It comprises color red, gold, green, and a black star.
The Red represents the blood that was shed towards independence, while the Gold represents the industrial minerals wealth of Ghana. The Green represents the rich grasslands of Ghana, and the Black star symbolizes the Ghanaian people and African freedom.
As at their independence, Nkrumah declared that his first objective was to abolish the country from poverty, ignorance, and disease.
On the 24th of February 1966, a group of military officers overthrew Kwame Nkrumah in a coup d’état. After the coup, these officers placed Ghana under the authority of the National Liberation Council.
The coup was led by Col. Emmanuel K. Kotoka.
The military was in control from 1966 to 1981 and these changes resulted in the suspension of the Constitution of Ghana. Political parties were banned in the country and the economy soon declined.
Today, the government of Ghana is elected by general suffrage every four years.
Ghana has proven itself to be a regional power. Though the country is peaceful and is often considered to be one of the least violent countries in the region, she has experienced political violence in the past.
On this day the 6th of March, 2019, Ghana celebrates its 62nd Independence Day.
Hurray! Happy Independence to Ghana