Ghana has a very rich history tracing its roots from the medieval times of The Ghana Empire of West Africa. The name Ghana was the title given to the king who ruled the empire which was a very rich kingdom. Apart from its large gold mines located at the upper Senegal River, it was also strategically located in the path used by the Trans Saharan traders.
Importance of Senegal River to the Empire because;
- It increased the flow of goods traded in the kingdom as the Trans Saharan route was a blossoming trade route.
- It helped grow the empire. The empire built the capital at Kumbi Saleh. Kumbi Saleh became the central part of the trade because of its strategic position thus emerging as the empires income central as they imposed tax on the traders.
The empire would soon fall with the decline of trade and invasion of the Almoravid Muslims.
Pre-colonial and post-colonial Ghana
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach Ghana in 1471. They found that Ghana was rich in gold and they started trading with locals. The commodity traded at the coast was gold, thus the name ‘Gold Coast’. The Portuguese wanted control of the Gold Coast, so they made plans and built a fortress at Elmina. They later left. In the 18th century, the commodity of trade shifted from gold to slaves. The country became a full British protectorate in 1902. This was after a very long struggle of resistance by the Ashanti kingdom that lasted more than a decade.
The colonial period lasted a total of fifty-five years from the year 1902-1957. The colonialists were not as violent as was the case in other states. The major problem was the exclusion of Africans in politics.
The road to independence in Ghana
It started with World War II. Africans were enlisted in the British army to assist in their troops in fighting the war. The veterans returned with the idea of freedom. The myth about the superiority of the white man had been erased from their minds during the world war.They saw similarities in the war they fought in Europe with the events that were happening in their country. They came up with political outlets to further their cause.
The most notable organization was the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) which was headed by Kwame Nkrumah in his capacity as the Secretary-General of UGCC. The UGCC had made positive steps including championing and winning the right to have Africans as the majority in the assembly. There was a split and Nkrumah formed a splinter party, the Convention People’s Party (CPP). Nkrumah was arrested for his radical ideas since he was pushing for immediate independence.
Even under arrest, his party, the CPP won overwhelmingly. He was released and absorbed in the government. All these events took place between the years 1974 to 1952. Ghana became a fully self-governing state in 1957
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History of Ghana’s economy
Economic activities in Ghana can be traced back to the Trans Saharan trade period. Below is the history of Ghana’s economy;
- Gold – gold was the largest traded commodity in Ghana from the time of the Ghana Empire of West Africa. During the era of the Trans Saharan trade, Ghana produced the gold that was traded across the Sahara. The gold trade ensured that the Asante, who occupied Ghana at that time got income through taxation of traders and also selling of the Gold
- Slave trade – in the 16th century, slave trade was a major economic activity to some Ghanaians. They sought to enrich themselves by selling fellow Africans they had captured. It is estimated that an over 500,000 Africans were sold in the Coast.
- Cocoa tree - the cocoa tree was introduced in Ghana in the year 1878. Ghana became the largest single producer of cocoa in the world by 1923.
Ghana’s economy was blossoming after independence. After independence, the country rolled out an ambitious plan to improve the economy through expansion. The plans were overambitious since it landed the country in a lot of debt that they were unable to pay.
History of Ghana presidents
Below is an outline of Ghana’s presidents.
Presidents validly elected
- Dr. Kwame Nkrumah – 1957 to 1966
- Dr. Kofi Busa – 1967 to 1972
- Dr. Hilla Limann – 1979 to 1993
- Jerry John Rawlings – 1993 to 2001
- John Agyekum Kufor – 2001 to 2009
- John Atta Mills – 2009 to 2012(he died in office)
- John Darman Mahma – 2012 to 2017
- Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo – 2017 to date
Presidents that used coups.
- Lt. Gen. Joseph Ankrah – 1966 to 1969
- Lt. Gen. A.A. Afrifa – 1969
- Gen. I.K. Acheampong – 1972 to 1975
- Lt. Gen. Fred W.K. Akuffo – 1978 to 1979
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