While the rest of the world has been improving technology, Ghana has been improving the quality of man's humanity to man.
~ Maya Angelou
~ Maya Angelou
Let us take a tour of some interesting Ghana facts and figures to get to know this African country better.
Historical Facts Regarding Ghana
Before getting to the fun and cool facts about Ghana, let's first get to know this country through its history and culture. Here are some interesting cultural and historical Ghana facts for kids as well as adults to learn from.
- Before the establishment of European colonies, Ghana was divided among several Akan tongued kingdoms such as the Asante Empire, the Akwamu state and non-Akan ethnic groups like Ga and Ewe.
- The word Ghana translates as Warrior King. The republic of Ghana is named due to the fact that it was ruled by many valiant rulers and warrior tribes before colonization.
- The first European colonists to touch the shores of Ghana were the Portuguese who cast their anchor upon the sands of Ghana in 1471. They built their first permanent settlement upon Ghana's coast, a fortress named Elmina Castle, in 1482.
- Close on the heels of the Portuguese arrived the Danes, in 1650, lured by legends of ivory and gold that were believed to be in abundance upon this newly explored land. Much to their delight, the legends proved to be true.
- However, the arrival of the Danes brought along approximately two centuries of misfortune in the form of slavery and slave trade. From 1661 till the 1850s (i.e., till Denmark's official declaration of abolition of slavery in all its colonies), the native people of Ghana suffered many hardships and atrocities in the hands of foreign slave owners and traders.
- Ghana gained complete independence on March 6, 1957 and was the first sub-Saharan nation to do so in the African history colonization. The name Ghana was chosen to symbolize the birth of a new, independent republic nation along the Western coast of Africa.
- The first elected president of the independent Republic of Ghana was Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and he was elected and assumed his office in the year 1960.
- Dr. Nkrumah's rule was abruptly ended by a non-violent military coup, orchestrated by British trained soldiers, in 1966 while he was away on an official visit to Beijing.
- The military government, formed as a result of the first coup, was headed by the National Liberation Council.
- Civilian governance was restored in Ghana in 1969 when Dr. Kofi Busia was elected as the head of the state.
- A second coup took place in 1972 followed by countrywide strikes by students in 1974 and a near-collapse of the economy in 1975.
- Acheampong rose to power in 1975 and formed the Supreme Military Council as a means of imposing near-dictatorship over the Republic of Ghana.
- General William Akuffo took over the Supreme Military Council in 1978 and made efforts towards establishing, yet again, a civilian government.
- A third coup attempt by Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings took place in 1979 and the third republic prevailed till 1992.
- In 1992, Rawlings was officially elected as the president of Ghana and continued his office till December 2000. In 2001, John A. Kufuor took over as president and continued his office till 2009. Thereupon, John Atta Mills (2009-2013) took over, followed by John Dramani Mahama (2013-2017) and Nana Akufo-Addo (2017- )
Interesting Facts About Ghana
Here are some Ghana fun facts that are amusing as well as informative and would definitely make you marvel at the wonders of this country.
- The national football team of Ghana is one of the best African football teams, as proved by its splendid performance in the 2010 FIFA world cup which was hosted by South Africa.
- Ghana is home to the world's largest artificial lake (in terms of surface area), Lake Volta, which is actually a dam reservoir completed in 1965.
- Cattle and poultry owners in Ghana often spray paint their animals to distinguish between their livestock. If you happen to encounter green chicken and pink goats in Ghana, don't panic - they're not mutants, extraterrestrials or genetically modified species!
- When you walk the streets of Ghana, you would be considered atrociously rude if you fail to greet people by shaking their hands and asking about their whereabouts. That includes the children waiting for their school bus, the garbage man and everyone else you can possibly meet on a short, leisurely walk!
- There are more than seventy spoken dialects in Ghana although English is also widely spoken and understood.
- The population of Ghana is around 28 million with the capital city, Accra, being the most densely populated.
- Christianity, Islam and Animism (in that order) are the three major religions in Ghana.
- Despite the widespread westernization, you can still see strong influences of African cultures and traditions in the form of rituals, celebrations and traditional African clothing in present day Ghana.
Those were some interesting facts about Ghana that make you want to know more about this enchanting African country where primitive meets modern.
However, once in a while, the sight of a three-year old boy carrying his one year old sibling on his back while bearing the burden of a sack full of domestic utilities would remind you of the not-so-distant past of hardships and tribulations this country and its people went through.
Despite its unfortunate past, Ghana has emerged as one of the most successful lower middle income economies of the world and one of the most economically successful nations among all its West African counterparts.