Ghana

Info

Capital

Accra

Population

22,199,609 (July 2013 est.)

Climate

Tropical to semiarid

Currency

1.82 cedis (GHC) = 1 USD (2012)

Important Cities

Kumasi, Tema, Tamale

Area

238,533 sq.km.

People

Nationality

Ghanaian

Major Peoples

Akan, Akuapem, Aowin, Asante, Fante, Frafra, Kassena, Kwahu, Lobi

Religion

African religion 5.2%, Muslim 17.6%%, Christian 71.2%, Others 0.8%, none 5.2% (2010 census)

Literacy

71.5%

Principal Language

Akan, Ewe, Ga, Moshi-Dagomba

Official Language

English

Politics

Head Of State

John Dramani Mahama

Type of Government

Constitutional Democracy

Date of Independence

March 6, 1957

Major Exports

Oil, Gold, Diamonds, Manganese, Fish, Cocoa, Timber, Aluminum, Bauxite

Precolonial History

The history of Ghana is based on oral tradition until the 15th century. The Portuguese landed on the Gold Coast in 1470 and established Elmina Castle as a trading base in 1482. British traders first arrived in 1553, and various European powers controlled parts of the coast for the next three centuries. The British successfully fought the Asante empire for dominance of the region in a series of Anglo-Asante Wars from 1823 to 1901. The Gold Coast became a British colony in 1901 and the Ashanti region a protectorate in 1902. The Fante protectorate and British Togoland merged with these territories by 1956, creating a single colony known as the Gold Coast.

Postcolonial History

The British relinquished control in 1957, and the country became the independent state of Ghana. Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of the socialist Convention People’s Party (CPP), became Ghana’s first prime minister. Nkrumah also served as Ghana’s first president in the early 1960s and sought to modernize and industrialize the nation, but was overthrown by the Ghanaian Army in 1966. The leaders of the military coup placed the National Liberation Council (NLC) in power and pledged a swift return to civilian government, but this was not achieved until the NLC was defeated by the Progress Party in a parliamentary election in 1969. In 1972, military officers seized power from President Edward Akufo-Addo in a bloodless coup and formed the National Redemption Council (NRC) under Jerry Rawlings. Rawlings remained in office until 2001 and was succeeded as president by John Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Also in 2001, Secretary-General Kofi Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and thousands of refugees from Côte d’Ivoire entered Ghana while a coup attempted to remove Ivoirian President Laurent Gbagbo from power. Since 2002, the World Bank has provided Ghana with $3.7 billion in debt relief and loaned $1 billion for the development of water, health, education, and other resources. Kufuor was succeeded by his rival John Atta Mills in 2009. Mills suddenly passed away in 2012, just one month before the end of his first term, and his vice president, John Dramani Mahama, was elected the new president of Ghana in 2012.

Recommended Sources:

Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/).

David Owusu-Ansah, The Historical Dictionary of Ghana (Lanham, Toronto, and Plymouth, UK: 2005).