Ghana can be found in the west coast of Africa. It is being bordered by Burkina Faso in the north, Gulf of Guinea with the Atlantic Ocean in the south, Togo in the east, and Ivory Coast in the west. It is one of the major producers of gold in the world and one of most peaceful countries in Africa.
1. This West African nation was previously known as the Gold Coast
When the Portuguese explorers arrived in this region in 1471, they saw how abundant gold was in the area and they called it “Mina” meaning mine. As more European traders come and trade with different African kingdoms in the region, it earned the title, Gold Coast. The British took over the region and merged the kingdoms as one colony. When it gained independence in 1957, the name was changed to Ghana.
2. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana has the oldest European structure, the Elmina Castle
The castle was built in 1482 by the Portuguese to hold its gold mine securely in the Gold Coast; hence the name Elmina Castle. Later on, it also served as storage house for slaves in Ghana before they were shipped to America. The structure is a sad reminder today how rampant slave trading was in the past. Elmina Castle is now a UNESCO World Historical Site, a fun Ghana fact.
3. Explore Kejetia Market, the largest open market in West Africa
Get a unique shopping experience in Ghana as it has the largest open air market in the region. The Kejetia Market in Kumasi has the most diverse array of choices from the traditional African colorful fabrics and cultural ornaments to the fruits and vegetables that are endemic only to Africa. Both locals and tourists frequented this place. It houses 50,000 stores that would take several days to explore.
4. Ghanaians are known for its outstanding religious tolerance
The freedom to follow any religious belief is a constitutional right in Ghana. While its population is divided into Christians, Muslims, traditional, and non-believers, there had been no conflict at all with their spiritual beliefs. An interesting fact about Ghana is that its children are taught early on about the importance of religious freedom.
5. Cocoa beans is a major agricultural export
Ghana is rich with natural resources and one of them is cocoa. They are not the largest producer of cocoa beans but they are the second major provider in the world’s consumption. It has a strict Cocoa Marketing Board, which is a government agency, solely focused on exporting the product.
6. Ghana is the 10th biggest producer of gold in the world
In the 2019 Thomson Reuter’s GMFS report, Ghana was listed as the world’s 10th biggest gold producer second only to South Africa in the African region. A fun fact about Ghana is that it was able to produce 101.8 tonnes of gold in 2018.
7. U.N. former Secretary General Kofi Annan is a Ghanaian
Kofi Annan was born and raised in Kumasi, Ghana. He served as the 7th United Nations Secretary General from 1997 to 2006. He made the United Nations organization more transparent on its dealings with various global issues. His diplomatic expertise earned him and the United Nations a Nobel Prize in 2001.
8. Ghana is the 3rd most peaceful country in Africa and 44th in the world
The Global Peace Index released in 2019 by the Institute for Economics and Peace ranked Ghana as the 3rd most peaceful country in the whole Africa with Botswana coming first and Malawi second. It also came in at 44th in the world with Iceland ranking first. The country would always hold a peaceful transfer of power after elections, which is quite rare in the region.
9. Polygamy is illegal under its civil laws but legal under its customary laws
Whether it is legal or illegal to have many wives in Ghana, some men continue to practice polygamy. Under the civil laws in Ghana, it is prohibited but hardly enforced. As long as the husband can provide for the family’s needs, it is widely accepted. For this reason, polygamy is often practiced by wealthy Ghanaian families.
10. Ghana was the 1st country in Sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence from Britain
The nation of Ghana had attracted so many European countries in the 15th century due to its gold deposits. The British took notice of the abundance of gold and colonized it in 1821. Among the many African countries under the British rule, it was the first to acquire total independence in 1957, an interesting fact about Ghana. The name Gold Coast was replaced by Ghana, which roughly means Warrior King. It was a word given to rulers of kingdoms during the medieval period in Ghana.
11. It is home to the world’s largest artificial lake
If measured by surface area, the Lake Volta in Ghana is the largest artificial lake in the world. Construction started in 1961 with the Akosombo Dam. It was completed in 1965 covering an area of 3,283 square miles and about 250 miles in length. This man-made reservoir can store up to 153,000,000,000 cubic meters of water. It became a good fishing ground for its citizens as well as a major water source for the irrigation of farmlands. The Akosombo Dam generates 912 megawatts of electricity with its hydroelectric power plant and supplies power in some areas in the country.
12. Experience two different rainy seasons in Ghana
Just like most African nations, Ghana enjoys tropical climate. The only difference is that the north and the south of the country have different rainy seasons, a fun fact about Ghana. In the northern side, it starts in April and lasts until October. In the southern part, the rainy season starts from April to June and then again in September until October.
13. Its capital city, Accra, was named for the anthills found in the city
Accra was taken from the Akan ethnic word “Nkran,” which means ants. It was due to the large number of anthills found surrounding the city. Today, most people refer to it as “No Man’s Land” as it has people from different ethnicities living peacefully in the city. Most of the residents do not exactly know their roots because the parents have migrated from different parts of the country. The capital has about 2.4 million residents in an area of 225.67 square kilometers or 87.13 square miles.
The good democratic governance in Ghana is the key to its stability. While it is not the richest in the African region, it is also not the poorest or referred to as a third world country. Over the past decade, it was able to strengthen its economy, underwent peaceful elections, and enjoyed outstanding press freedom. It does not have a perfect system but unlike most of its African neighbors, the people of Ghana is faring quite well.
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