Names are extremely important parts of identity with cultural, and historical connections. They also give us a sense of who we are as a people and make us unique among other people. Countries’ names instill in their people a sense of nationalism and pride. Country names can be used to trigger actions and rally people behind a cause. Well, what most people wonder about is, “Who named Ghana?”
Ghana, was the foremost country to break the yoke of British Imperial rule in the South of the Sahara to become an independent state. The earliest Europeans named the country Gold Coast in the 15th century after finding an abundance of gold and other resources in the country.
Meaning and history of the Name Ghana
The name Ghana was borrowed from the name after the historic West African Ghana Empire, which existed from the tenth century till the sixteenth century. The name Ghana was the title of the kings who ruled the Empire. The word ghana or gana means warrior or war chief which was the title given to the rulers of the original kingdom.
Ghana was adopted as the official name at independence because the inhabitants of present-day Ghana migrated from the old Ghana empire.
Who Suggested the Name Ghana?
- There have been contentious and swirling debates around who first suggested that modern-day Ghana be named after medieval Ghana. The first person to make this suggestion in his book, “The Gold Coast Guide” which was published in 189 was Rev. J. B. Anaman. He is credited for doing seminal work when it comes to suggesting and drawing the connection between ancient Ghana and modern Ghana.
- Ghanaian academician, James Kwagir Aggrey also established the historical connection between the people of Gold Coast to the Ghana empire, Mali and Songhai.
- “Tropical Dependency” a book written by Lady Luggard also made suggestions in her book about the empires of Mali and Songhai in the 1920s.
- Drawing from the knowledge of past works, Dr J.B Dankwa also suggested the name “Akan-land” after he was criticized for suggesting a name that sideline other tribes he then suggested the name “New Ghana”.
Who Named Ghana?
The name Ghana was finally adopted in the declaration of independence by the first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah during which he said, “We take pride in the name Ghana, not out of romanticism but as an inspiration for the future”. Thus, Dr Kwame Nkrumah adopted the name after a huge and contentious debate in parliament.
With this, the people abandoned the Portuguese and British imposed name and adopted a name that has historical ties to them and resonates with them as well. The next time you visit Ghana, make sure to explore the beautiful place in the country including the museums, traditional sites and beautiful beaches. You can also contact Destination Ghana for all enquiries about travelling to Ghana as well as the cultural and historical places in Ghana.