Ghana meaning “the warrior king” was a British colony and part of rich African history. Ghana is the gateway to Africa mainly because of its hospitality, and natural wealth and was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence. This article gives you the highlight of this rich country before and after independence.
- The Gold Coast
Portuguese arrived in 1471 whiles working their way down West Africa soon after others follow fast. The British gradually dominated the country afterwards. The British were initially defeated in the 1824 and 1870s. In 1874 the British army came back and fought for their dominance.
Europeans identified the region as the Gold Coast because of the large supplies of and market of gold that existed. The fight for dominance between the Dutch and the British was because of how profitable the region is in terms of natural resources and human resources.
- The Era of Trade
Although trading was originally about gold, attention was shifted to the slave trade as it become lucrative in the 17th century. The trade became more organised as the years unfold.
As the years unfold the British signed the Slave Trade Act prohibiting British subjects from trading in slaves. These legal documents propel the British to pressure other nations to abolish their slave trade.
- Ghana gains Independence
Gold Coast gained independence in 1957. They became the first sub-Saharan colony to become an independent country under President Kwame Nkrumah, who led the fight for freedom. Soon after, 30 more African countries followed suit and became independent.
Shortly after independence, the region was renamed Ghana. The name came about because the new nation’s inhabitants were descendants who lived in the ancient empire of Ghana. The national flag (red, yellow, green and black) is a true representation of the political unity of Africans. The black star was a symbol of freedom.
Ghanaian Cedis became the new currency replacing, the British West African Pound. Do you know that the word cedi is an Akan word? Actually, it is an Akan word for cowry shell. These shells were used as currency until 1901.
- A Democratic State
The system after independence was plagued with corruption, coups, military rule, political instability and consistent mismanagement. After President Kwame Nkrumah, it took so many years for another person to save the country from its inconsistencies.
It was in light of all these that FLT Lt Jerry John Rawlings charismatically burst into the political scene. Prior to that, the country was known for its one-party system. This new leader vowed to put an end to all these and give power to the people to choose their leaders. A new constitution was birthed in 1992 encouraging a multi-party democratic system.
The country has been politically peaceful since then and is considered the second most peaceful country in Africa.