An Atlas of African Affairs

By Andrew Boyd; Patrick Van Rensburg | Go to book overview

19. Ghana and its Neighbours

Ghana, the former Gold Coast, became an independent Commonwealth country in 1957. It was the first European dependency in 'black' Africa to gain its freedom, and this gave it a special prestige particularly in regard to leadership in the Pan-African movement (K). It is relatively prosperous, with an average living standard higher than Nigeria's, largely because it provides over a third of the world's cocoa. Cocoa beans account for 70 per cent. of exports, the rest including gold, manganese and diamonds. About 300,000 small farmers grow the cocoa, mostly on the low hills around Kumasi, the Ashanti capital.

The name Ghana was adopted because the Akan peoples ( Ashanti, Fanti, Sanwi, etc. -- C) claim descent from inhabitants of the old state of Ghana east of Senegal (E).

From the 15th century onward, Europeans of many nationalities came to the Gold Coast for both gold and slaves, building forts along the coast. (Christiansborg castle near Accra was Danish until 1840.) The slave trade here was largely with the Ashanti, who sold prisoners taken from other tribes. The stopping of the trade in 1807 was a blow to the Ashanti (cocoa was not introduced until the 1880s), and clashes with them complicated Britain's half-hearted efforts to control the coastal belt until, in 1874, it seized and destroyed Kumasi; later it deposed the Asantehene, their paramount ruler. Britain annexed the coastal belt -- the Gold Coast Colony -- in 1874, and Ashanti in 1902, and made northern Ghana a protectorate in 1897.

Full internal self-government came in 1954, spurred by 1948 riots which had shown the postwar growth of political consciousness, and by the victory in the 1952 elections of the Convention People's Party (CPP), founded in 1949 by Dr Kwame Nkrumah, now president of Ghana. As independence loomed near, fear of domination by the Coast-based CPP drew together an opposition National Liberation Movement, in which Ashanti and northern chiefs joined with other conservatives to demand a federal instead of a unitary system. But the CPP again won elections in 1956, and independence followed. Dr Nkrumah's government, which changed Ghana into a republic in 1960, has curbed opposition in ways which have been widely criticized.

Ghana's hopes of development are mainly pinned on an ambitious plan, not yet assured of foreign finance, to harness the Volta river and use its power to produce aluminium from local bauxite.

Togo, a former German colony, had, like Cameroons (21), been

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An Atlas of African Affairs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • A. Population 10
  • B. Regions and Barriers 12
  • C. Languages and Peoples 14
  • D. European and Asian Settlement 20
  • E. 'Pre-European' History 22
  • F. Europeans on the Coast 24
  • G. the European 'scramble' 26
  • H. the New Political Map 28
  • I. British and French Heritages 30
  • J. United Nations Activity 32
  • K. Pan-Africanism and Regional Unity 34
  • L. Africa Overseas 36
  • M. Education 38
  • N. Health and Pests 40
  • O. Minerals 42
  • P. Transport 44
  • Q. Power, Development And Research 46
  • 1. the Maghreb 48
  • 2. Morocco and Mauritania 50
  • 3. Algeria 52
  • 4. Tunisia and Libya 54
  • 5. Egypt and Its Neighbours 57
  • 6. Suez Canal 58
  • 7. Suez-Sinai Conflict, 1956 60
  • 8. the Nile 62
  • 9. Egypt 64
  • 10. the Sudan 66
  • 11. Ethiopia 68
  • 12. the Somalis 70
  • 13. West Africa 72
  • 14. Ex-French Africa 74
  • 15. Ex-French West Africa 76
  • 16. 'Equatorial' Africa 78
  • 17. Commonwealth West Africa 80
  • 18- Senegambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia 82
  • 19. Ghana and Its Neighbours 84
  • 20. Nigeria 86
  • 21. Cameroons 88
  • 22. Two Congos 90
  • 23. Post-Belgian Congo 92
  • 24. Lower Congo 94
  • 25. Between the Lakes 96
  • 26. Ruanda-Urundi 98
  • 27. British East and Central Africa 100
  • 28. Uganda 102
  • 29. Kenya 104
  • 30. Tanganyika and Zanzibar 106
  • 31. the Rhodesias 108
  • 32. Katanga and Copperbelt 110
  • 33. Nyasaland 112
  • 34. Angola and Mozambique 114
  • 35. Malagasy (madagascar) 116
  • 36. South Africa and Its Neighbours 118
  • 37. Protectorates and S.W. Africa 120
  • 38. Eastern South Africa 122
  • Index 125
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