Gold Coast: The Birth of the nation Ghana


Formal colonialism first came to the region we today call Ghana in 1874. The British ruled the country under a colony for fifty-six years. They called the territory the “Gold Coast Colony”. The 56 years of British rule that followed did not immediately weld into one country.

Modern Ghana is a country located in West African. The country has been inhabited for many thousand years. She shares her borders with Ivory Coast to the west; Burkina Faso to the north; Togo to the east; the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to the south.

The three elements of the territory that made up present Ghana were:

  • the colonies of the Gold Coast,
  • Asante empire
  • and the protectorate of the Northern Territories

Following World War I, the League of Nations mandated the addition of a fourth element. The Medieval Western portion of Africa is also commonly known as British Togoland.

Gold Coast

The Portuguese who came to Ghana in the 15th Century found so much gold in the region. This propelled them to name the place Mina, meaning Mine. The name Gold Coast was later adopted by the English colonizers.

The Gold Coast was a part of the western division of the great empire of the Emperor of Benin. It extended from Benin to the Gambia River and was ruled by kings selected by Benin’s emperor circa 1507. The Gold coast was later then defeated in 1823 by the British.

Asante empire

The Asante Empire (Asante Twi: Asanteman) was an Akan empire and kingdom from 1701 to 1957. It expanded from Ashanti to include the Brong-Ahafo Region, Central Region, Eastern Region and Western Region of present-day Ghana; as well as some parts of Ivory-Coast and Togo. To this day, Asante is the best-known indigenous state of Ghana; a term that applies to both people and state.

The Ashanti defeated the British Empire’s invasions in the first two of the four Anglo-Ashanti wars. In 1824, a British army officer, Sir Charles MacCarthy, was murdered; his skull was retained as a gold-rimmed drinking cup as one of Ghana’s conquests. By 1874, however, British forces conquered and ruled the empire.

The protectorate of the Northern Territories

The Northern Territories of the Gold Coast, also known as the Northern Territories; was a British protectorate in Africa from 1901 until 1957. The Northern Territories of the Gold Coast was a part of a region Gold Coast called Dagbon.

The medieval Western part of Africa

The ancient Medieval western part of Africa had three kingdoms under its region; the kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. These three kingdoms settled along regions near the Niger River. The first major state to rise in this region was the Ghana Empire (Wagadu). The name ‘Ghana’, often used by historians, was the regnal title given to the ruler of the Wagadu empire. This was mostly occupied by Hausas and the Fulani and had most of its land as an Islamic land.

The birth of Ghana

In the 19th century, these four territories were merged as one and had a general name called the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast fought for its freedom and became independent in 1957; making her the first all-Black-nation in Africa to gain its independence.

After independence, its name changed to Ghana. The Republic of Ghana was named after the medieval West African Ghana empire. His first president was Kwame Nkrumah. The Ghana flag was designed by Theodosia Salome Okoh, Ghanaian stateswoman, teacher and artist in 1957.

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