Ghana History and Politics

Ghana History

Before colonization

When Ghana gained independence in 1957, it was named after an ancient African empire that existed from the 9th to the 12th centuries. However, that was far north of what is now Ghana. In the area of ​​what is now Ghana, there were initially hundreds of small empires that were ruled by a chief or king.

From the 16th century, more and more Europeans came to the west coast of Africa. A particularly large number of European adventurers landed on the “Gold Coast”. They hoped for wealth from the gold found in the soil and in the rivers of Ghana and gave the coast its name. Portuguese, English, Dutch, Brandenburgers, Swedes and Danes set up fortified settlements (forts, forts) on the coast.

The Ashanti Empire came into being at the end of the 17th century. It got bigger and bigger by defeating the kingdoms of other peoples. Only in the south of Ghana did the Fanti maintain their own association of rich. The Ashanti traded with the Europeans. At first gold was mainly sold to the Portuguese, and later the Dutch took their place. The Ashanti also traded in slaves and sold them to the Europeans. This is called triangular trade.

Eventually, more and more British came. They mainly traded with the Fanti and allied with them against the Ashanti. At the beginning of the 19th century the relationship between Africans and Europeans changed in general. Until then, trade had been largely equal. Now the Europeans were playing more and more like colonial masters. From 1824 there were four wars between the Ashanti and the British and their allies, the Fanti and other tribes. The Danes and Dutch, the last remaining Europeans on the Gold Coast, withdrew from here in the 19th century and sold their forts to the British.

In 1874 the British made the coast of Ghana their colony. In 1896 the British finally defeated the Ashanti and conquered the Ashanti capital, Kumasi. The last ruler of the Ashanti, Kwakuh Prah III, was abducted. In 1900 there was another uprising of the Ashanti. Eventually the British won and now declared the whole country their colony.

British Colony (1900-1957)

So the entire Gold Coast became a colony in 1900. A British governor was the chief man in the administration.

In 1925 the constitution was reformed: the traditional heads of the African tribes were given administrative positions, as in the south of the country. This is also called the indirect rule. In the south of the country a kind of representative body was introduced (legislative council). Nine of the 29 members were African.

In World War II, 65,000 Ghanaians fought on the British side. In 1946, residents of the center and north of the country also received seats on the Legislative Council. This strengthened the traditional chiefs of the tribes. In 1947 a party was founded to work for independence from Great Britain. Kwame Nkrumah became its chairman.

In 1948 riots broke out from Accra and spread across the country. The British put down the uprising by force. But it became a turning point in the history of Ghana. In the following years boycotts and strikes were organized. Kwame Nkrumah was arrested with five other leaders. In the parliamentary elections in 1950, his party won a massive 98.5 percent of the vote. The British then released Nkrumah. In 1952 he was elected Prime Minister of the Crown Colony. In the 1950s, cocoa prices rose and the country experienced an economic boom.

History of Ghana from independence until today


On March 6, 1957, the British Gold Coast colony gained independence. From now on it was called Ghana. Nkrumah remained Prime Minister of Ghana. In 1960, after a referendum, Ghana became a republic and Nkrumah became its first president.

In the following years there were major economic problems. Ghana was an agricultural state with no industry. Under Nkrumah’s government, work was carried out to modernize the country and promote industrialization. The construction of the Volta reservoir has started. This should ensure the power supply (with hydropower). There have been improvements in education and healthcare. But the cocoa price fell (to a quarter of its value in the mid-1950s). So the economy suffered too.

Nkrumah worked for the unity of Africa. He sharply criticized the colonial powers, which still exercised their economic power even in the countries that were already independent. Nkrumah’s socialist course was a thorn in the side of the Western powers.

Overthrow of Nkrumah and military coups

When Nkrumah was abroad in 1966, he was overthrown in a military coup. In 1972, 1978 and 1979 there were three more military coups. The country was in debt, corruption and arbitrariness prevailed.

Jerry Rawlings Presidency

In 1981 there was another coup. Jerry Rawlings, an Air Force captain, became the head of government. He remained President of Ghana until 2001. At first he ruled like a dictator. The economic situation improved, but there was criticism of violations of human rights. In 1985, Ghana merged with neighboring Burkina Faso to form the “West African Union”, but that failed in 1987.

In 1992 there was a new constitution and the situation improved. Free elections and press freedom were now guaranteed by law. Before there had only been one party, now several parties were allowed. In 1993 and 1996 Rawlings was elected president by the people. A third time he was not allowed to run in the elections in 2000.

During this period economic problems reappeared as the price of gold and cocoa fell.


John Agyekum Kufuor became the new president in 2000. This transition is considered a milestone in democracy in Ghana, a country located in Africa according to neovideogames. The political situation has been stable since then. Kufuor was confirmed in office in 2004. In 2008 John Atta Mills became the new president. After his death in 2012, his Vice President John Dramani Mahama became the new President. This election also strengthened democracy. Nana Akufo-Addo won the 2016 elections.

Ghana History