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Ghana Background Information
Ghana is a country in Western Africa that has a rich background. In 1957 Ghana the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence. Ghana went through a long series of coups before Lt. Jerry Rawlings took power in 1981 and banned political parties. After approving a new constitution and restoring multiparty politics in 1992. The 1979 constitution was modeled on those of Western democracies. It provided for the separation of powers between an elected president and a unicameral Parliament, and a judiciary branch headed by a Supreme Court, which protected individual rights, and other rights. Rawlings won presidential elections in 1992 and 1996, but was constitutionally prevented from running for a third term in 2000. It was this first election though that was Ghanas first time in history there was a democratic presidential change of power in Ghanas history. John Kufuor succeeded him and was reelected in 2004. John Atta Mills took over as head of state in early 2009.
History of Ghana
The history of Ghana goes way back and the first recorded historical events were recorded in the last quarter of the 15th century. The Gold Coast is what Ghana was formally known as.. The first European contact with the Coast was in 1470 when a group of Portugese landed on its coasts. In 1482, the Portuguese built Elmina Castle as a permanent trading base. Thomas Windham made the first recorded English trading voyage to the coast in 1553. During the next three centuries, the English, Danes, Dutch, Germans, and Portuguese controlled various parts of the coastal areas. In 1821, the British took control of most of the Gold Coast. In 1844, Fanti chiefs in the area signed an agreement with the British that became the legal steppingstone to colonial status for the coastal area. From 1826 to 1900, the British fought a series of campaigns against the Ashantis, whose kingdom was located inland. In 1902, they succeeded in establishing firm control over the Ashanti region and making the northern territories a protectorate. British Togoland, the fourth territorial element eventually to form the nation, was part of a former German colony administered by the United Kingdom from Accra as a League of Nations mandate after 1922. In December 1946, British Togoland became a UN Trust Territory, and in 1957, following a 1956 plebiscite, the United Nations agreed that the territory would become part of Ghana when the Gold Coast achieved independence. The four territorial divisions were administered separately until 1946, when the British Government ruled them as a single unit. In 1951, a constitution was promulgated that called for a greatly enlarged legislature composed principally of members elected by popular vote directly or indirectly. An executive council was responsible for formulating policy, with most African members drawn from the legislature and including three members appointed by the governor. A new constitution, approved on April 29, 1954, established a cabinet comprised of African ministers drawn from an all-African legislature chosen by direct election. In the elections that followed, the Convention People's Party (CPP), led by Kwame Nkrumah, won the majority of seats in the new Legislative Assembly. In May 1956, Prime Minister Nkrumah's Gold Coast government issued a white paper containing proposals for Gold Coast independence. The British Government said it would agree to a firm date for independence if a reasonable majority for such a step were obtained in the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly after a general election. This election took place in 1956 and it put the CPP into power with 71 out of the 104 seats. Ghana became an independent state on March 6, 1957, when the United Kingdom relinquished its control over the Colony of the Gold Coast and Ashanti, the Northern Territories Protectorate, and British Togoland. Ghana is the first sub-saharan colony to gain its independence. The next big event was the first coup in 1966. A large military coup led by British trained officers which ended the rule of Nkrumah and his government. Surprisingly, there was no blood shed throughout the entire coup. This brings on the new age of the second republic. From 1972 to 1978 the second coup is carried out which again succedes and forces a chage of government. From this coup comes a man who would lead this new nation into a different direction. His name is Jerry John Rawlings. However though in 1979 he leads his own coup, but it is unsuccessful as he is arrested. Later that year though he leads another military coup that is intended to make a free election based government that is ruled by the civilians. His ideas are completey socialist. The new government tries many members of the second republic and send many of them to prison and executed a few of them. By doing this it brought on the third republic of Ghana. However the third republic was a complete and utter fail which lead to high tensions of maybe another coup. Jerry Rawlings once again takes power through a military coup. The Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) is established with Rawlings as chairman. The parliament is dissolved and all political parties forbidden, but Rawlings insists that the (long-term) goal is restoring democracy in Ghana. Several coup attempts are made by dissatisfied parts of the army. None of the coups are successful. Opposition groups operating from Togo almost succeeds in an overtake. Relations between neighbouring countries Togo and Ghana worsens. The Ghanaian economy is finally showing signs of improvement, and even though Rawlings has a tough grip on Ghana, he maintains his popularity (first of all among workers and rural population). Rawlings has strong connections to Libya, Cuba and Eastern Europe, but his efforts to improve economy are rewarded with new loans by the IMF. For the following years Ghana continues to have the highest growth rate in Africa. Rawlings speaks strongly against the economic globalisation allowing market prices on Cocoa to determine the future of a developing country like Ghana. Rawlings forms the National Commission for Democracy to work out plans for the political future of Ghana. A new democratic constitution is passed. Political prisoners are freed and parties are allowed. Free press and human rights organisations emerges in Ghana. Multi-party elections in Ghana. Surprisingly Rawlings wins the presidential election with nearly 60% of the votes. The opposition accuses Rawlings of fraud and boycotts the election for parliament. As a result of the boycott Rawlings' National Democratic Congress and its smaller coalition partners are getting all seats. Independent observers approve the elections as being free and fair. Rawlings now has a democratic base to continue the work he started during the long period with a military junta. In 1996 Rawlings is re-elected with 57% of the votes. NDC remains the biggest party in parliament, but John Kufuor's New Patriotic Party also has strong representation. The opposition and all observers approve the elections. The West continues to be content and optimistic about the situation in Ghana, even though economic progress is now at a much smaller rate. In 2000 Rawlings' presidency ends as the constitution only allows two terms in office. Vice president John Atta Mills is new presidential candidate, but it is John Kufour from NPP who wins elections and becomes the new president. Ghana celebrates 50 years of independence as the first sub-saharan African nation. In 2008 after having lost Ghanas two previous elections to outgoing President John Kufuor, opposition candidate John Atta Mills now wins a second round of the presidential election in Ghana. Atta Mills wins over his rival, Nana Akufo-Addo from the ruling NPP party.
1471: The Portuguese arrives on the coast of Guinea as the first Europeans.
1482: The Portuguese build their first fortress on the coast. They name it "Elmina" (the mine).
Around 1650: The first Danish ship arrives at the coast. The Danes were the last of the Europeans to Arrive.
1700's: Several of the southern kingdoms are deeply involved in the slave trade while others are almost wiped out. Both Akwamu, Fante and Asante are among those who benefits from the trade. Through their European connections the Asante gets weapons and uses them to conquer more land and fight other kingdoms. The Asante capital of Kumasi is highly developed and ahead of many European cities.
April 2, 1792: Britain passes a law similar to the Danish - with effect from 1807. Both countries laws was a stop for the import of slaves to the colonies, not a decision to actually abolish slavery itself. Within the following years all the European countries and America makes similar laws, but slavery and the trade with people continues to be legal.
1806: The Asante kingdom invades Kingdoms to the south and war breaks out with the Fante confederation which is supported by Britain. The ever expanding Asante are now threatening British commercial interests in the region.
1824: The Ashantene, Osei Bonsu, dies. The British seeks a chance to break Asante control of the Gold Coast trade and the first Anglo-Asante war breaks out.
1826: War breaks out again and the Asante are forced to give up their claims to areas on the coast.
1863: Great Britain dominates the region completely. Only the Asante kingdom is still resisting British control. The British efforts to control the Gold Coast and especially the gold trade results in the third British-Asante war. Asante history records a victory, but they only manage to hold back the enemy for a few more years.
1874: The Gold Coast is officially proclaimed a British crown colony. Originally the colony was only a 100 km wide strip along the coast, but the British still seeks control of the Asante kingdom and their wealth of gold. The British attacks again and burns down the Capital of Kumasi. The kings palace is found empty, but the British steals all values they can find.
1877: Accra becomes the capital of the colony
1896: Britain has practically taken control over the Asante kingdom. As a symbolic act the British sends the young Asante king (Nana Ageyman Prempeh I) into exile
1918: After World War I the German areas in the East comes under British control. Nationalist movements begins to rise in the region.
1925: The first legislative elections are carried out in the Gold Coast
1946: The colonial powers are weakened after World War 2. USA and USSR pressures for African independance. Ghana's Legislative Council gets a majority of black Africans, when the British little by little gives in to the pressure for African
political representation. The rule of the colony is still entirely within the hands of the British though.
1947: United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) is one of many new political parties striding for independence. None of the parties are formed inside the colony. Kwame Nkrumah is party secretary for UGCC.
February 28, 1948: Riots breaks out in Accra when Police fires at an anti-colonial demonstration. 29 are killed and hundreds are wounded.
March 6, 1957: Ghana is the first of the colonies in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence. Africa and the rest of the world follows the creation of the new state with high anticipations. The situation in Ghana inspire nationalist movements all over the continent.
February 24th, 1966: A military coup (without blood-shed) ends the rule of Nkrumah and his government. The coup is made by British-trained officers and takes place while Nkrumah is paying an official visit to chairman Mao in Beijing.
May 1969: NLC aims to be a provisional government until a new election. Political parties are once again legalised.
January 13, 1972: Forces within the military once again finds that it is time for a change of government and carries out a coup. The National Redemption Council puts in Colonel Ignatius Acheampong as head of the state. But Acheampong lacks experience and economic-political visions. The result is a growth of corruption in all levels of government and society.
May 15, 1979: The young Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings heads an uprising within the army. The coup attempt is unsuccessful as Rawlings is arrested. Soon after he is freed again by soldiers supporting him.
September 1979: AFRC turns over power to Hilla Limann. Rawlings and his soldiers returns to the army.
The new government tries, but not hard enough. It is not able to solve the economic stagnation of Ghana. Necessary, but unpopular economic reforms are given up in fear of unrest and a new coup.
1992: A new democratic constitution is passed. Political prisoners are freed and parties are allowed. Free press and human rights organisations emerges in Ghana.
December 2000: Rawlings' presidency ends as the constitution only allows two terms in office. Vice president John Atta Mills is new presidential candidate, but it is John Kufour from NPP who wins elections and becomes the new president.
December 2008: After having lost Ghanas two previous elections to outgoing President John Kufuor, opposition candidate John Atta Mills now wins a second round of the presidential election in Ghana. Atta Mills wins over his rival, Nana Akufo-Addo from the ruling NPP party.
Flag and Maps of Ghana
The Flag of Ghana was designed by Mrs. Theodosia Okoh to replace the flag of the United Kingdom. There is 3 equal horizontal stripes of red, yellow, and green. It has a large 5 pointed black star in the middle of it.
Map of Ghana
Population, Growth, and Nation Wide Spread Diseases
As of the July 2010 the estimated population of Ghana was 23,887,812 which is 47th in the world. The estimates for Ghana are based off of a varitey of things. Such as diseases, life rate, and death rate. The main population growth rate of the past couple of years has been 1.897%. This could be both bad or good depending of the recent life and death rates. The birth rate is 28.74 births per 1000 people and th death rate is 9.13 per 1000 people per year. However another big concern is infant mortality rate which is 51.18 deaths per 1000 babies born. This is a higher than many other countries which leads experts to believe that the population of Ghana more likely went down. LIfe expectency also takes effect in population growth. African countries are notorius for lower life expectencies than other places and Ghana is no exception. The average life expectency is 60.1 years. For males it's 58.92 and for females it's 61.31 years old. One other major factor in the amount of people in Ghana is disease. Ghana like most African countries have certain diseases that are widespread through the country. Major diseases include Yellow Fever, Malaria, Hepatitis A and B, Meningitis, Typhoid Fever, Rabies, and HIV and AIDS. Others include Cholera, Filariasis, Onchocerciasis, and Trypanosomiasis. Finally the Net Migration rate of Ghana is -0.64 migrants per 1000 people. This basically means that there is amost no one moving into the country, but the other way around. People are moving out of Ghana.
Culture of Ghana
Religion throughout Ghana
The Country of Ghana throughout history has been controlled by manu different countries and people so it has various religions all throughout it. By a good margin what most people in Ghana are is Christan with 68.8% of the country. The types of Christianity are Pentecostal/Charismatic 24.1%, Protestant 18.6%, Catholic 15.1%, the other 11% is random types. The second largest religion is Muslim with 15.9%. The next is the taditional beliefs of the tribes with 8.5% and then there is 0.7% of other religions. Finally 6.1% have no religion.
The group the Akan is dominant in the country is the Akan with 45.3%. The next is the Mole-Dagbon with 15.2%. After tem is the Ewe with 11.7%. The Ga-Dangme have 7.3% of the population and after them is the Guan with 4%. The Gurma with 3.6% and the Grusi with 2.6%. The Mande Busanga mak up 1% and other tribes make up 1.4%. The last 7.8% is various races.
Famous Holidays and Festivals
There are a few holidays, festivals, and celebration. These are major holidays are celbrated many different ways. The holidays are New Year's on January first, Independence day on March 6th, they celebrate Good Friday and Easter, May 1st is Labor Day, May 25th was Africa Day, July 1st is Republic Day, 1st Friday in December is Farmer's Day, December 25th is Christmas. They also celebrate End of Ramadan and Feast of Sacrifice.
The country of Ghana has many different languages due to many many tribes and European countries that occupied it. Many have managed to live through the years due to rituals and songs. The language spoken by the most Ghananians is Asante with 14.8% of the population. Second is Ewe with 12.7%. The next most spoken language is Fante with 9.9% of the population. Those are the top 3 there are quite a few others. Next up is Boron with 4.6%, then Dagomba with 4.3%, then Dangme with 4.3%, then Dagarte with 3.7%, then Akyem with 3.4%, then Ga with 3.4%, then Akuapem 2.9%, and the other languages have 36.1% of the population.
Education and Literacy
Ghana does have school almost all over the country however only a certain amount of kids who can afford it go to school.. The children are able to go to school. The Ghana education system works on what they call a 6-3-4-4 system what that implies is that they have 4 years of Primary School, 3 years of Junior Highschool, 4 years of Senior highschool, and 4 years for a university Bachelor's Degree.
Ghana’s tertiary institutions enroll over 100,000 students in undergraduate, graduate, certificate and diploma programs in a full range of academic and professional fields.
This is somewhat identical to the United States. The sole official language of instruction throughout the Ghanaian educational system is English. Students may study in any of eleven local languages for much of the first three years, after which English becomes the medium. Students continue to study a local language and French as classroom subjects through at least the ninth grade. All textbooks and materials are otherwise in English. The average school life of a person in Ghana is 9 years. Men usually go for a bout ten years, and women usually go for about nine. The Literacy rate in Ghana because of this is 57.9%. 66.4% of that is males, and 49.8% of that is females. Another part of education is internet access. The internet is a way for them to learn from people all around the world. Ghana does get internet, but only schools and richer people actually have computers. They have 3 major intenet providers and are hooked up to the world wide web. In Ghana 997,000 people use internet.
Government and Economics
Ghana gained it's independence in 1957, and after that through a series of coups it was founded to be a constutional Democracy. It has a constitution just as the U.S did and it was set forth in 1992. The people of Ghana elect a president who runs the government. People vote for most of their represenatives, and local mayors. The suffrage is that you have to be 18 years of age to vote and both men and women can vote. The Capital city of Ghana is called Accra. The Ghananian goernment has three branches like the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. The government of Ghana is almost an exact opposite of the United States.
The overall economic overview is that Ghana has a dependency of it's natural resources to help keep the economy up. Ghana has about twice the per capita output than the poorest countries in Africa. Even so, Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. Gold and cocoa production and individual remittances are major sources of foreign exchange. The domestic economy continues to revolve around agriculture, which accounts for more than a third of GDP and employs more than half of the work force, mainly small landholders. However in the past couple years Ghana has had to recieve help to keep itself out of debt as best as possible. Sound macro-economic management along with high prices for gold and cocoa helped sustain GDP growth in 2008 and 2009. The estimated GDP per capita for Ghana is $1,500 which is ranked 199th in the world. The type of currenc they use in Ghana is called the Cedi. 1 U.S dollar is worth 1.43 cedi.
Labor Force, Exports, and Imports
There is about10.3 3 million laborers in Ghana. That is ranke 47th in the world. That is divided up into industry, agriculture, and services. 56% of the labor force is in agriculture, 15% in industry, and 29% services. The unemployment rate for Ghana is 11% which is 123 in the world. All three of these are major parts of the economy in Ghana. The major agriculture products produced here are cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), peanuts, corn, shea nuts, and bananas. Meanwhile some of the major industries are mining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing, cement, and small commercial ship building. Another big section of the economy is the exports and imports. Ghana has a vast source of natural resources which are very valuable to many countries in exchange for things Ghana does not have. The major exports are gold, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, diamonds, and horticulture. Some major export partners are Netherlands, UK, France, Ukraine, and Malaysia. The major imports are capital equipment, petroleum, and foodstuffs. Major import partners are China, Nigeria, U.S, Ivory Coast, India, France, and the UK.
Ghan has a very valuable resources that you can't really find anywhere else. These resources help fuel the economy as exports. Their major resources are gold, timber, diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower, petroleum, silver, salt, and limestone. Out of all of these the most valuable one by far is gold which is sent all over the world for a lot of money.
Another small fraction is the matter of illegal drugs. Ghana is an illicit producer of cannabis(weed) for the international drug trade. Ghana is a major transit hub for Southwest and Southeast Asian heroin and, to a lesser extent, South American cocaine destined for Europe and the US. There is significant domestic cocaine and cannabis use.
Geogaphy of Ghana
Terrain,Location, and Area
Ghana is located in the Western Sub-Saharan coastlive of Africa. Ghana geographical coordinates are 8 00N, 2 00W. It is bordering the Golf of Guinea and between The Ivory Coast and Togo. It is also on the border of Burkina Faso.
The overall area of Ghana is 238,533 sq km which is 81st in the world. The land takes up 227,533 sq km and the water takes up 11,000 sq km. If you were to compare it it would be slighltly smaller than Oregon. It's borders include Burkina Faso 549 km, Cote d'Ivoire 668 km, and Togo 877 km. The overall terrain of Ghana is pretty much the same. It is mostly low plains with a dissected plateau in the south-central area. The lowest elevation point in Ghana is the Atlantc ocean at 0m. The highest point is Mount Afadjato at 880 m. The use of the land differs throughout Ghana. The land use is 17.54% arable land, 9.22% permenant crops, and 73.24% for other things.
Ghana is a country with very few natural hazards however they still damage the local economy. The 2 main natural hazards are dry, dusty, northeastern harmattan winds which occur from January to March and droughts. The droughts are bad for the economy mainly because they cause crops to die which not only hurts the economy but may also cause starvartion if the people growning them live off of them.
Enviormental issures affect Ghana almost all year round. They hurt crops and cause starvation. Some major isues involve recurrent drought in north severely affects agricultural activities, deforrestation, overgrazing, soil erosion, poaching, an habitat destruction. These issues are currently under discussion to attempt to keep the enviornment in check.
Ghana has a very nice climate for being so close to the equator so it is amost always warm. The actual climate of Ghana is tropica, warm, dry along the southeast coast, hot and humid in the southwest, and hot and dry in the north.
Ghana is known as the Land of Sunshine. All throughout Ghana many people greet you with the phrase Akwaaba! Akwaaba means welome and the people of Ghana greet all tourists with it. Ghana is a tourists site where many people go to relax and watch sunsets and go on safaris as well as exotic animals in the national parks. All throughout the Coast of Ghana there is many beach resorts with exsquisite food, relaxing conditions, and beautiful stretches of beach to relax and swim in the oceans of The Gold Coast. There is also great fishing on many rivers and while your fishing you may find something that you will remember for the rest of your life. All throughout the rivers there is small deposits of gold that are still out in the wild. While your on the rivers and beaches why don't you visit the beautiful coastal towns and visit the people and partake in local ceremonies and dive into the rich cultural heritage of this beautiful country. In addition there is beautiful and exotic wildlife. Ghana is a nature lover's delight. It's sunny climate and fertile well-watered soil and they contain beautiful wildlife. They have animals from monkey's to elephants and they have many species of butterfies and birds. More than 5% of the countries surface has over 16 national parks help keep most of the beautiful and exotic animals safe from harm. Ghana has everything from beautiful beaches to exotic safari's to cultural ceremonies which is the tourists dream. If your looking a good, romantic, quiet, and just an all around fun time then Ghana is the place for you.
Books: "Haywood, John."
West African Kingdoms.
Chicago, Illinois, Raintree 2008.
Prepared by the Geography Department at the Lerner Publications Company.
Ghana in Pictures.
Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 1988.
Online Sources: All images on this document were either from Google Imaging or Bing.com
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