Basic Information

Ghana is one of the 16 officially recognized West African countries.It shares borders with Togo to the East,Cote d’Ivoire to the West,Burkina Faso to the North and the Gulf of Guinea to the South.

The total landmass of Ghana is approximately 239,000 square kilometers.Its geographical features include several mountain ranges including Mountain Afajato;many rivers of historical and economic importance including the Voltas,and Offin;and lakes including Bosomtwe.The climatic conditions of Ghana varies considerably across its territory;ranging from hot tropical conditions in south to desert conditions in the north.

The population of Ghana is estimated at about 22million.While Accra is the capital city, there are other important ones including Kumasi,Tema,Takoradi,Kintampo and Tamale.The ratio of males to females is 49:51[1]. There are 47 ethnic groups in Ghana,and their relation to one another can be determined by studying the differences and similarities in their spoken languages.An ethnic group is often called by the language its people speak. English is the country’s official language and predominates government and business affairs[2]. Educational instructions are given in English. Native Ghanaian languages are divided into two linguistic sub-families of the Niger-Congo language family[3];the Kwa,and the Gur sub-families. Languages belonging to the Kwa sub-family are found predominantly to the south of the Volta River, while those belonging to the Gur sub-family are found predominantly to the north[4]. The Kwa group, which is spoken by about 75% of the country’s population, includes the Akan, Ga-Dangme, and Ewe languages while the Gur group includes the Gurma, Grusi, and Dagbani languages[5].

Nine languages have the status of government-sponsored languages: Akan, specifically Ashanti Twi, Fanti, Akuapem Twi, Akyem, Kwahu, Nzema; Dagaare/Wale, Dagbani, Dangme, Ewe, Ga, Gonja and Kasem[6].history has it that those who speak the Kwa sub-family of languages migrated to the present-day Ghana from the Chad-Niger basin area while those of the Gru sub-family came from northeastern part of Africa.

Ghana was under British colonial rule for over hundred years but it gained its political independence on 6th March 1957.It the first country in the sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence.Prior to independence,the country was called the Gold Coast.The new country Ghana was named by the first president,Dr.Kwame Nkrumah who led the struggle for independence.There are two schools of thought as to why he chose that GHANA.One is that he named it after the ancient Ghana Empire.The other is that GHANA is an abbreviation of the phrase “God Has Appointed Nkrumah Already”[7].Ghana became a republic on July 1st,1960 and Dr.Kwame Nkrumah was elected the 1st president.

On February 24th, 1966,a military coup (without blood-shed) ends the rule of Nkrumah and his government[8]. The coup was led by British-trained officers and took place while Nkrumah was paying an official visit to in Beijing[9]. The new military government calls itself the National Liberation Council (NLC)[10]. On September 1969 a multi-party elections organized by the NLC and a new civilian government was formed by Dr. Kofi Busia and his Progress Party. On January 13, 1972,officers within the military once again carries out a coup and a new military government,the National Redemption Council led by Colonel Ignatius Acheampong was instituted. On July 5, 1978 General Acheampong was forced to resign from office and General William Akuffo took over as Head of State. On May 15, 1979,a young Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings heads an uprising within the army[11]. The coup attempt is unsuccessful as Rawlings is arrested but was freed by the soldiers. On June 4, 1979, days before a general election ,a new military coup is carried out by Jerry Rawlings. The Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC)took power[12]. On June 18, 1979,an election was held and Dr. Hilla Limann became the president.On December 31, 1981,Jerry Rawlings once again overthrew the democratically elected government through a military coup and Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) was took over with Rawlings as chairman (Head of State)[13]. On November 1992,a multi-party elections in Ghana and surprisingly Rawlings wins the presidential election with nearly 60% of the votes with his newly formed National Democratic Party. On December 2000,Rawlings’ presidency ends as the constitution only allows two terms in office and John Agyekum Kufour became the president until December 2008 when power was reclaimed by Rawlings’ National Democratic Party led by John Evans Mills.

The religious composition of Ghana in the first post-independence population census of 1960 was 41 percent Christian, 38 percent traditionalist, 12 percent Muslim, and the rest (about 9 percent) no religious affiliation[14].However,according to the 2000 population census of Ghana,about 69% of the population are Christians,about 15% Muslims and 15% belong to other religions.Ghana is considered a secular country and it has no official religion.

[source, wikiuniversity]


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