We at A New Touch of Africa, join millions of people to wish Ghana a happy independence day! For those who are not familiar with Ghana, here is a brief history:
- Located on the western coast of Africa along the Gulf of Guinea, it is bordered by Togo in the east, Ivory Coast in the west and Burkina Faso in the north.
- Prior to British colonization in 1874, Ghana had relations with other European nations like the Portuguese, Dutch and the Swedes. The Portuguese for instance were the first Europeans to arrive on the Gold Coast in 1471.
- Previously known as Gold Coast due to possessing large gold deposits along its coast, the country adopted the name ‘Ghana’ at independence. The name was adopted from the great Sudanic Empire of Ghana, which existed between the 5th and 13th centuries.
- In 1877, the capital was moved from Cape Coast to Accra.
- In 1878, cocoa was introduced into Ghana from Fernando Po (in modern day Equatorial Guinea) by Tetteh Quarshie. Ghana is now the second leading producer of cocoa in the world.
- Ghana’s resistance to colonial policies officially began in 1898 when the Gold Coast Aborigines Rights Protection Society (GCARPS) sent a delegation to London to protest against colonial land policies.
- In 1956, a plebiscite in the former German Togoland (now Volta Region) accepts to join an independent Ghana.
- On March 6, 1957, Ghana’s independence leader, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah declared during his inaugural speech, “our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa.” He eventually became part of the founding fathers’ of the Organisation of African Unity (now African Union) in 1963.
- Ghana has about five major ethnic groups. They are the Akans (about 44% of the population), the Mole-Dagbanis, the Gonjas, the Ga-Adangbes and the Ewes. Among these ethnic groups are subgroups. For instance, the Akans have the Asantes, the Fantes, the Nzemas and the Akyems.
- Ghana is the second leading producer of gold in Africa.
- Ghana is also rich in other natural resources including bauxite, diamond and the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in 2007.
- The Volta Lake, located in the east of the country, is the largest man-made lake in the world in terms of surface area.
- Notable Ghanaian nationalities or personalities of Ghanaian descent include Michael Essien (former Chelsea FC star), Marcel Desailly (World Cup winner with France in 1998) Kofi Annan (former UN Secretary-General), Kofi Kingston (WWE professional), Boris Kodjoe (actor, model), Idris Elba (actor), W.E.B Dubois (civil rights activist), and Michael Blackson (actor).
We would like to thank Mr. Cornelius Mensah-Onumah for his special contribution to this article. Mr. Mensah-Onumah is a freelance researcher who holds an MSc in Defense and International Politics, and a BA in History with Geography. A New Touch of Africa celebrates Mr. Mensah-Onumah along with the millions of Ghanaians who celebrate independence today!