Ghana History

Ghana, until independence from British colonial rule on March 6, 1957, was known as the Gold Coast. The country is named after one of the ancient Sudanese Empires which flourished between the 4th and 10th centuries. Three years after independence (1960) Ghana became a Republic with Dr Kwame Nkrumah, leader of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) as the first President.

Under Dr Nkrumah, Ghana made rapid and remarkable progress in education, industrial and infrastructural development and in the provision of social services. At the same time, the country played a leading role in international affairs, particularly in the struggle for the liberation of dependent countries in Africa, and African unity. The country played an active role in a number of international organizations including the United Nations and its specialised agencies, the Commonwealth, the Organisation of African Unity Now African Union and the Non-Aligned Movement.

However, on February 24, 1966, the Ghana Armed Forces, in cooperation with the Police Service, overthrew the CPP Government in a coup. Until 1991, there were series of upheavals that ushered in period of instability. From 1991, Ghana returned to democratic rule.

The central region of Ghana is home to ancient castles and forts that were often used during the slave trade as holding areas for human cargo.

Cape Coast Castle, built in the 16th-century and later reconstructed and enlarged, served as the seat of British administration in the then Gold Coast until 1877.

Dating to 1482, the imposing St Georges Castle In Elmina is the oldest European building In the sub-Saharan Africa Though greatly expanded under Dutch occupation, the original Portuguese fortress and chapel are still intact and now function as a local history museum.

This museum holds the remains of the first President of Ghana Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, The Museum was created in his honour after which his body was exhumed from his original burial grounds at his home town-Nkroful.

General Background information

Full name: Republic of Ghana

Population: 23.5 million (UN, 2007)

Capital: Accra

Area: 238,533 sq km (92,098 sq miles)

Major languages: English, African languages including GA, Akan, Ewe, Wale, Dagomba..

Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs, Islam

Life expectancy: 60 years (men), 60 years (women) (UN)

Monetary unit: Cedi

Main exports: Gold, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminium, manganese ore, diamonds

GNI per capita: US $590 (World Bank, 2007)

Internet domain: .gh

International dialling code: +233

Statutory Public Holidays 2011

Independence Day- March 6
Good Friday- April22
Easter Monday- April 25
May Day- May 1st
AU Day- May 25th
Republic Day- July 1st
Founder’s Day- Sept 21st
Farmers’ Day- Dec 2nd
Christmas Day- Dec 25th
Boxing Day- Dec 26th
Eid-Ul-Fitr- Date To be Announced Later
Eid-Ul-Adha-Date To be Announced Later