Kingdom of Ashanti and Kingdom of Dagbon
Ghana was already recognized as one of the great kingdoms in Bilad el-Sudan by the ninth century.
Ghana was inhabited in the middle Ages and the Age of Discovery by a number of ancient predominantly Akan kingdoms in the Southern and Central territories.
This included the Ashanti Empire, the Akwamu, the Bonoman, the Denkyira, and the Mankessim Kingdom.
Although the area of present-day Ghana in West Africa has experienced many population movements, the Akans were firmly settled by the 5th century BC. By the early 11th century, the Akans were firmly established in the Akan state called Bonoman, for which the Brong-Ahafo Region is named.
From the 13th century, Akans emerged from what is believed to have been the Bonoman area, to create several Akan states of Ghana, mainly based on gold trading. These states included Bonoman (Brong-Ahafo Region), Ashanti (Ashanti Region), Denkyira (Central region), Mankessim Kingdom (Western region), and Akwamu Eastern region.
By the 19th century, the territory of the southern part of Ghana was included in the Kingdom of Ashanti, one of the most influential states in sub-saharan Africa prior to the onset of colonialism.
The Kingdom of Ashanti government operated first as a loose network, and eventually as a centralised kingdom with an advanced, highly specialised bureaucracy centred in the capital city of Kumasi. Prior to Akan contact with Europeans, the Akan Ashanti people created an advanced economy based on principally gold and gold bar commodities then traded with the states of Africa.
The earliest known kingdoms to emerge in modern Ghana were the Mole-Dagbani states. The Mole-Dagomba came on horseback from present-day Burkina Faso under a single leader, Naa Gbewaa.
With their advanced weapons and based on a central authority, they easily invaded and occupied the lands of the local people ruled by the Tendamba (land god priests), established themselves as the rulers over the locals, and made Gambaga their capital.
The death of Naa Gbewaa caused civil war among his children, some of whom broke off and founded separate states including Dagbon, Mamprugu, Mossi, Nanumba and Wala.
European contact (15th century)
Gold Coast (region)
14th century medieval ewer looted from the Ashanti Empire in 1896 by British forces. The ewer was originally made for the court of Richard II currently housed at the British Museum.
Historians are unsure how it came to reside with the Ashanti Empire in good condition after 500 years.
Akan trade with European states began after contact with Portuguese in the 15th century. Early European contact by the Portuguese people, who came to the Gold Coast region in the 15th century to trade and then established the Portuguese Gold Coast (Costa do Ouro), focused on the extensive availability of gold.
The Portuguese built a trading lodge at a coastal settlement called Anomansah (the perpetual drink) which they renamed Elmina.
In 1481, King John II of Portugal commissioned Diogo d’Azambuja to build Elmina Castle, which was completed in three years.
By 1598, the Dutch had joined the Portuguese in the gold trade, establishing the Dutch Gold Coast (Nederlandse Bezittingen ter Kuste van Guinea) and building forts at Fort Komenda and Kormantsi. In 1617, the Dutch captured the Olnini Castle from the Portuguese, and Axim in 1642 (Fort St Anthony).
Other European traders had joined in gold trading by the mid-17th century, most notably the Swedes, establishing the Swedish Gold Coast (Svenska Guldkusten), and Denmark-Norway, establishing the Danish Gold Coast (Danske Guldkyst or Dansk Guinea).
Portuguese merchants, impressed with the gold resources in the area, named it Costa do Ouro or Gold Coast.
The first Anglo-Ashanti war, 1823–31
Kwame Nkrumah, first President of Ghana
More than thirty forts and castles were built by the Portuguese, Swedish, Dano-Norwegians, Dutch and German merchants; the latter Germans establishing the German Gold Coast (Brandenburger Gold Coast or Groß Friedrichsburg).
In 1874 Great Britain established control over some parts of the country, assigning these areas the status of British Gold Coast. Many military engagements occurred between the British colonial powers and the various Akan nation-states and the Akan Kingdom of Ashanti defeated the British a few times in the Anglo-Ashanti wars against the United Kingdom that lasted for 100 years, but eventually lost with the War of the Golden Stool in the early 1900s.
Transition to independence
The commencing chronicles of Ghana on 6 March 1957 and Kwame Nkrumah establishment of Ghanaian Republicanism, including Ghanaian presidential election, 1960
In 1947, the newly formed United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) by The Big Six called for “self-government within the shortest possible time” following the Gold Coast legislative election, 1946.
Kwame Nkrumah was the first Prime Minister of Ghana and President of Ghana and formed the Convention People’s Party (CPP) with the motto “self-government now”.
Nkrumah won a majority in the Gold Coast legislative election, 1951 for the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly in 1952. Nkrumah was appointed leader of the Gold Coast’s government business.
The Gold Coast region declared independence from the United Kingdom on 6 March 1957 and established the nation of Ghana.
On 6 March 1957 at 12 a.m. Nkrumah declared Ghana’s establishment and autonomy. On 1 July 1960, following the Ghanaian constitutional referendum, 1960 and Ghanaian presidential election, 1960 Nkrumah declared Ghana as a republic as the first President of Ghana.
The flag of Ghana, consisting of the colours red, gold, green, and a black star, became the new flag in 1957 when Gold Coast gained its name Ghana. It was designed by Theodosia Salome Okoh; the red represents the blood that was shed towards independence, the gold represents the industrial minerals wealth of Ghana, the green symbolises the rich grasslands of Ghana, and the black star is the symbol of the Ghanaian people and African emancipation.
Nkrumah was the first African head of state to promote the concept of Pan-Africanism, which he had been introduced to during his studies at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania in the United States, at the time when Marcus Garvey was becoming famous for his “Back to Africa Movement”.
Nkrumah merged the teachings of Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the naturalised Ghanaian scholar W. E. B. Du Bois into the formation of 1960s Ghana.
Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, as he became known, played an instrumental part in the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement, and in establishing the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute to teach his ideologies of communism and socialism.
His life achievements were recognised by Ghanaians during his centenary birthday celebration, and the day was instituted as a public holiday in Ghana (Founder’s Day).
History of Ghana (1966–79)
The government of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was subsequently overthrown by a coup by the Ghana Armed Forces codenamed “Operation Cold Chop.” This occurred while Nkrumah was abroad with Zhou Enlai in the People’s Republic of China, on a fruitless mission to Hanoi in Vietnam to help end the Vietnam War.
The coup took place on 24 February 1966, led by Col. Emmanuel K. Kotoka. National Liberation Council (N.L.C.) formed and chaired by Lt. General Joseph A. Ankrah.
A series of alternating military and civilian governments, often affected by economic instabilities, from 1966 to 1981 ended with the ascension to power of Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) in 1981.
These changes resulted in the suspension of the Constitution of Ghana in 1981, and the banning of political parties in Ghana. The economy soon declined, so Rawlings negotiated a structural adjustment plan changing many old economic policies, and economic growth soon recovered during the mid–1980s.
A new Constitution of Ghana restoring multi-party system politics was promulgated in Ghanaian presidential election, 1992; Rawlings was elected as president of Ghana then, and again in Ghanaian general election, 1996.
Winning the 2000 Ghanaian elections, John Agyekum Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was sworn into office as president of Ghana on 7 January 2001, and attained the presidency again in the 2004 Ghanaian elections, thus also serving two terms (the term limit) as president of Ghana and thus marking the first time under the fourth republic that power was transferred from one legitimately elected head of state and head of government to another.
Kufuor was succeeded to the presidency of the Republic of Ghana by John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) following the Ghanaian presidential election, 2008.
And John Atta Mills was inaugurated as the third president of the fourth republic of Ghana and eleventh president of Ghana on 7 January 2009, prior to John Atta Mills being succeeded as president of Ghana by then vice-president of Ghana John Dramani Mahama on 24 July 2012.
Following the Ghanaian presidential election, 2012, John Dramani Mahama became President-elect and was inaugurated as the 4th President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana and 7th President of Ghana on 7 January 2013, to serve one term of office of four-year term length as President of Ghana until 7 January 2017, maintaining Ghana’s status as a stable democracy.
As a result of the Ghanaian presidential election, 2016, Nana Akufo-Addo became President-elect and was inaugurated as the 5th President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana and 8th President of Ghana on 7 January 2017, to serve one term of office of four-year term length as President of Ghana, until 7 January 2021.