Ghana Information

General Information for Ghana

Country: Ghana
Location: West Africa
Independence: March 6, 1957
Nationality: Ghanaian
Capital City: Accra
Population: 17,763,138
Important Cities: Kumassi, Tema, Tamale
Head of State: Jerry Rawlings
Area: 238,538
Type of Government: Republic
Currency: 389 cedis=1 USD
Major peoples: Asante, Fanti, Ewe, Dagomba, Ga
Religion: African religion 38%, Muslim 30%, Christian 24%, Others 8%
Climate: Tropical to semiarid
Literacy: 60%
Official Language: English
Principal Languages: Akan, Ewe, Ga, Hausa
Major Exports: Gold, Diamonds, Manganese, Fish, Oil
Pre-Colonial History The history of the Gold Coast before 15th century is based on oral traditions recorded early in this century. The first contact between Europe and the Gold Coast dates from 1470 when Portuguese landed. In 1482, the Portuguese built Elmina Castle as a trading base. The first English trading voyage to the coast was made by Thomas Windham in 1553. During the next three centuries, the English, Danes, Dutch, Germans, and Portuguese controlled various parts of the coastal areas. In 1821, the British Government took control of the British forts on the Gold Coast. In 1844, Fanti chiefs signed an agreement with British that became the stepping stone to colonial status. From 1826 to 1900, the British fought a series of campaigns against the Asantes. In 1902 the British succeeded in colonizing the Asante region and making the northern territories a protectorate. In December 1946, British Togoland became a United Nations Trust territory, and in 1957, the United Nations agreed that the territory would become part of Ghana when the Gold Coast achieved independence.
Post-Colonial History Ghana became independent on March 6, 1957, when Great Britain relinquished its control over the Colony of the Gold Coast and Asante, the Northern Territories Protectorate, and British Togoland. After independence, the CPP Government under Kwame Nkrumah sought to develop Ghana as a modern, semi-industrialized, socialist state. In 1966, the Ghanaian Army and police overthrew Nkrumah's regime. The leaders of 1966 coup established the new government around the National Liberation Council (NLC) and pledged an early return to a duly constituted civilian government. Ghana's government returned to civilian authority under the Second Republic in October 1969 after a parliamentary election in which the Progress Party won. On August 31, 1970, Edward Akufo-Addo was elected President of Ghana. In 1972, military officers seized power in a bloodless coup and formed the National Redemption Council (NRC). On December 31, 1981, Flight Lt. Rawlings and a group of former soldiers launched a coup that succeeded against opposition in toppling President Limann.

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