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perjantai 8. huhtikuuta 2016

Ghana, Cool Facts #108

<= 107. Gambia                                                                                                               109. Kenya => 

1. Ghana Name Origins

Ghana became independent in 1957 from Great Britain. It changed its name from Gold Coast to Ghana and adopted a new flag. The name Ghana was taken from the ancient Ghana Empire, which didn't even rule in the areas of current Ghana but in the present-day Mali and Mauritania.

The Ghana Empire ruled there about between 300-1200 roughly. The introduction of camel in Sahara and the Muslim conquests of North Africa gave the Ghana Empire the chance to became wealthy thanks to the trade routes.

The name Ghana means a "warrior king" in mande language.

Ancient Ghana Empire and Modern Ghana

2. Ashanti Kingdom

The Ashanti Kingdom was established in 1670 and in 1701 they conquered Denkyira thus getting access to the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean trade with the Europeans. The Akan people of the Ashanti Kingdom had prospered due to their gold resources even before the arrival of the Europeans.

In 1827 slavery was abolished but before that and until the mid-1800s the Ashanti Kingdom participated in the slave trade by capturing people from neighboring areas and selling them to the Europeans.

The Ashanti Kingdom lost independence in 1901 when it was annexed to the British Gold Coast. The Ashanti Kingdom imposed a threat to the British as they tried to maintain strong control over the coastal areas. This led to the four Anglo-Ashanti wars in the 1800s.

Four Anglo-Ashanti wars: 

1823-1831 First war
1863 Second war
1873-1874 Third war
1895-1896 Fourth war

1900 War of the Golden Stool 

In 1935 the Ashanti Kingdom got self-rule within the British Gold Coast colony. Later in 1957 when Ghana got independence from the UK, the Ashanti Kingdom entered a state union with Ghana was is still in effect. So the Ashanti monarchy continues as a sub-nation within Ghana and being constitutionally protected.

Battle at the Anglo-Ashanti war

3. Gold Coast 

The Portuguese were the first to arrive at Ghana in 1471 naming the area Gold Coast. The naval trade routes stunted the caravan routes across Sahara causing the decline of the northern Empires and the rise of the Ashanti Empire as it traded gold and slaves with the Europeans. 

The Dutch arrived in 1598 slowly capturing the forts and trade posts of the Portuguese. Soon the British and Danes arrived rivaling the Dutch at the area. 

In 1867 the possessions of the British trading company "African Company of Merchants" in Ghana were transformed into the crown colony of Gold Coast. 

The British fought against the Ashanti Kingdom throughout the 1800s and allied with the Fante people because they were the enemies of the Akan people of the Ashanti Kingdom. 

Establishment of the different Gold Coasts: 
1482 Portuguese Gold Coast (ceded to the Dutch in 1642) 

1598 Dutch Gold Coast (ceded ceremonially to the British in 1872) 
1682 Brandenburger/Prussian Gold Coast (sold to the Dutch in 1721) 
1650 Swedish Gold Coast (seized by the Danes in 1663) 
1658 Danish Gold Coast (sold to the British in 1850) 
1821 British Gold Coast (Ghana becomes independent 1957) 

4. Ghanaian Flag

Ghana adopted its current flag in 1957, which was flown until 1962 and then readopted in 1966. Between 1962-1966 had a flag where yellow was replaced by white. 

Ghana's flag was the first state flag with a black star. The idea came from the father of the Pan-African ideology, Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican politician who had a shipping company called "Black Star Line". The company had transported former slaves from the Americas and the Caribbean back to Africa using a flag with a black star in his ships.

For a while Ghana had a variation of their flag with three black stars representing the loose union with Guinea and Mali as the countries had plans to develop a common currency and a unified foreign policy, but in the end none of the plans were implemented in the member countries

Marcus Garvey's Black Star Line shipping company

Union of the African States flag and map (Guinea, Mali, Ghana)

5. Democracy in Ghana

The first president Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in 1966 when he was in Vietnam with China's leader and trying to stop the Vietnam War. The country fell into political turmoil as there were six coups between 1966 and 1981. 

In 1979 flight lieutenant Jerry Rawlings led a coup and handed the power to a civilian government, which wasn't able to solve problems so Jerry Rawlings and the soldiers took the power in 1981 installing the Provisional National Defense Counsil being the Chairman himself.

The PNDC started fighting against corruption, made elementary school mandatory and free and healthcare was improved.

In 1992 Ghana made a new constitution and restored the multi-party system and restricted the maximum amount of presidential terms into two. Since instituting this Fourth Republic of Ghana the country has remained democratic as the power has changed democratically without any coups.

Jerry Rawlings

400s BC The Akans settled firmly at the area
1000s The Akans had a state called Bondman
1200s The Akans establish other states like Ashanti, Denkyira, Mankessim Kingdom and Akwamu
1471 The Portuguese arrive in Ghana and start trading gold and established the Portuguese Gold Coast with Elmina as the capital city
1598 The Dutch people joined the Portuguese in gold trading and established the Dutch Gold Coast
1617 The Dutch capture the Olnin Castle and in 1642 Axim from the Portuguese
1600s Sweden and Denmark-Norway joined the gold trading in the middle of the century
1701 Ashanti regions created an independent federation with Kumas as the capital city
1850 The British bought the Danish Gold Coast 
1872 The British bought the Dutch Gold Coast 
1902 Ashanti Kingdom defeated by the British after years of fighting since 1824 in Anglo-Ashanti wars
1922 British Togoland was annexed to Gold Coast
1947 Kwame Nkrumah published his famous work "Towards Colonial Freedom"
1951 Gold Coast gets autonomy
1957 Gold Coast became independent as Ghana from Great Britain
1960 Ghana was declared a republic 
1966 Nkrumah was overthrown by the military in "Operation Cold Chop" while Nkrumah was abroad with China's Zhou Enlai in Vietnam trying to help end the war
1966-1981 Six military coups, which ended when Jerry John Rawlings became the president and made some reforms like banning of political parties which stabilized the situation in Ghana
1992 A new constitution restored Ghana to multi-party system
1992 and 1996 Jerry Rawlings won the presidential elections
2001 John Kufuor, the opposition leader, won the presidential elections 
2009 John Atta Mills became the president
2013 John Dramani Mahama became the president

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