“Ghana the land of Freedom and Justice.”In Ghana we say…………………..AKWAABA…………………..”!!!
AKWAABA” is not a strange word to those who have been to Ghana before, it is an expression which simply means “WELCOME”. Ghana is a place of abundance sunshine and exquisite atmosphere mixed with vibrant and archetypal Cultural heritage and traditions, Ghana is a country with the reputation of friendliness and hospitality. Anybody who has been here will simple describe Ghana as peaceful and freedom of movement.
THE GOLD COAST/GHANA DURING COLONIAL DAYS
Ghana was called the Gold Coast by the British, on the contrary to this, the Portuguese who came to Ghana in the 14th Century found so much gold between the rivers Ankobra and the Volta that they named the place El-Mina, meaning The Mine. Later, The English colonizers took the name Gold Coast, all this testifies clearly how rich Ghana was before the Europeans arrived and this notion also determine the aim and purpose of their mission to Ghana and parts of Africa.
In 1482, the Portuguese built a castle in Elmina. Their chief aim was to trade in Gold, Ivory, Meleguetta pepper also known as the grains of paradise and the diabolic and inhuman slave trade. King John II of Portugal sent Don Diego D’Azambuja to build the Elmina castle in 1481, It started in a form of trade between the coasters. The Dutch joined them in 1598 and built forts at Komenda, Kormantsi, Sekendi etc, they also captured the Elmina castle from the Portuguese In 1637 and Fort St Anthony at Axim in 1642. Later, other European traders followed the trend in mid 18th century. They were the English, Danes, Swedes, Brandenburg (Germans) etc. By the latter part of 19th century the Dutch and the British were the only traders left in the Gold Coast and when the Dutch withdrew in 1874, Britain made the Gold Coast a crown colony until Ghana’s independence in 1957 AD.
ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE
In the early 40s, the consciousness and intention of Ghanaians to be free from the autocratic and imperial rule of their colonial masters grew intense.They wanted to be free to control their own affairs and dignity. Africans and the then Ghanaian leaders took this inspiration of gaining their independence from the Ethiopians, they were the only country in Africa that never got colonized by the Europeans and they even went on to shutter and defeated the Italians during the battle of Adwa.
The battle was led by His Imperial Majesty emperor MenelikII. Remember that, Ethiopia is also the first to convert to Christianity and Islam (Bilal is from Abysinia/Ethiopia) during the emergence of these religions, for this reason, they were really a beacon of hope for the African leaders at that time to also emulate their traditions and norms that factored them to defeat the Italians. The speech in which His imperial majesty Haile Selasie gave during the league of nations was the main paradigm that triggered the spirit of Africans to fight for their right. It also pinched the European powers to also beware of the maturity of the Africans at that time.
In Ghana, our leaders during that time were the famous, radical and influential “BIG SIX”, they were ;Dr. Kwame Nkrumah ,J.B.Danquah, Ako Adjei, Obetsebi Lamptey, Edward Akuffo Addo and Sir Nana Wiliam Ofori Atta, these courageous and patriotic citizens decided to use that privilege to fight for their rights and Independence from the British rule. During that time, a lot of disturbances broke out, such as the boycotting of all the European goods, killing of Coporal Atipoe, sgt Adjettey and corporal Odartey Lamptey and other demonstrations all over the country. The example and bravery of the Ethiopians prompted most African leaders to also use the color of Africa which is the RED, GOLD (YELLOW) AND GREEN color which most African countries have in their flags as a sign of African-ism and consciousness of their African identity.
Ghana during those times took their inspirations from the Ethiopians and the great black African thinkers of that time, like Henry Sylvester-Williams, The Beman’s Family, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey etc. Upon the heat and uprising during that time, THE BIG SIX collectively decided to lead Ghana to freedom and independence after the formation of the United Gold Coast convention (U.G.C.C).
In 1957 something remarkable in our history today took shape and that thing which happened is MYGHANAMAN (Ghana my country), what happened gave birth to the name and the image Ghana, because the name GHANA signifies the position and future of Ghanaians and Africans as a whole. That is why Ghana’s independence aided other African countries to realize the wave of consciousness which is driven Africa at that time. On the Eve of 6th of March 1957 Ghana finally became an independent nation and free from the British rule. Though not free in Socio-political view but free to control their own affairs in their own country.
The first person who became the president or prime minister of the new Ghana Republic was Dr. Kwame Nwiah Nkrumah with the ticket from the Convention People’s Party (C.P.P) after breaking away from the U.G.C.C,stating the fact that the latter party and leaders wanted independence gradually but He, Kwame Nkrumah want self-government now.
On the south of the Sahara is a Peaceful and Historical country called Ghana, former British colony, shares boundary to the west with Cote D’ivoire, to the east with Togo, to the north with Burkina Faso and on the south with the Gulf of Guinea. Ghana abounds with varied cultures stretching from the various ethnic groups in the North to the Akans in the South.
The capital city of modern Ghana is Greater Accra Region, the Ghana is divided into Sixteen provinces or regions, these are the Greater Accra, Central region, Ashanti region, Bono-Ahafo, Bono East, Ahafo region, Volta region, Oti region, Eastern region, Northern region, Savanna, Western region, Western North, Upper East, Upper West and the North East.
Note: Before, there were ten regions/provinces but six newly ones were created recently.
Ghana is a Haven of amazing and tropical beaches combined with the cool and soothing breeze from the Atlantic Ocean, a paradise with immense Tourism, historical monuments and fascinating wildlife. The origin of the ancient Ghanaians is traced back to nomadic migration from Nubia along the Sahara desert then to the south, it is said that the first permanent state in present Ghana was around 10th and 11th century AD to the 16th century AD. According to history the name Ghana was borrowed from the old Ghana empire. Before Ghana was colonized by the Europeans, there were great independent kingdoms or empires such us the Bono manso Empire, the Asante Empire, the Akwamu, the Denkyira, the Fanti/Mankessim Kingdom, Ga Adangbe, The Gonja etc.
ETHNIC GROUPS IN GHANA
There are about ninety-two separate ethnic groups in Ghana. These groups are often classified into a few large groups, these are Akan, Mole Dagbani, Ewe, Ga Adangbe, Guan and Gume (Gurma), Grusi, Mande-Busanga.
The current population of Ghana is estimated to be 30.42 million, up from the official 2010 census figure of 24.2 million.
GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATIONS OF THE ETHNIC GROUPS IN GHANA
Ghana’s main ethnic groups are sprung regionally across the country. The Fantes are located in the central region of Ghana covering towns such as Cape Coast, (Oguaa) Kormantse, Abandze, Mankessim, and Elmina among others. The Ga-Adangbe is a small group in the South-Eastern parts of Ghana, in particular the Eastern and the Greater Accra Regions. The Ewes predominate in the east, near Ghana’s border with the Republic of Togo, a country where Ewes also constitute one of the major-ethnic groups. Despite the fact that Ewes are found largely in the Volta region, there are many minority ethnic groups – such as the Likpe, the Avetime, Krachie and Nchumaru. Much further to the north, located in Ghana’s Savannah zone, are two other major ethnic groups, the Gurma in the North East and the Mole-Dagbani to the West.
These various ethnic groups also exhibit plenty of culture which makes Ghana one of the Culture hubs in Africa, this beautiful culture has breed a lot of religious and Agricultural Festivals and the love for these festivals makes Ghana one of the best and most visited tourist destination in Africa and the world as well. Some of the noted festivals are the Oguaa Fetu Afahye, Ga Homowo, Edina Bakatue, Odwira. Adae, the PANAFEST and the Year Of Return etc. Ghana can also boast of some mouthwatering and awesome tourist attractions and UNESCO heritage sites, these noted tourist attractions are the Cape Coast, Elmina, and the Christianborg castles, Fort Victoria, Fort William, Fort Orange, Fort Amsterdam, etc. Cape Coast Kakum Canopy Walkway, Kwame Nkrumah mausoleum, Mt. Afadjato, Lake Bosumtwi, Boti, Kintampo and Wli waterfalls, Assin Manso Slave River and many more.