HISTORY OF GHANA

Gold Coast & European Exploration

Before March 1957 Ghana was called the Gold Coast. The Portuguese who came to Ghana in the 15th Century found so much gold between the rivers Ankobra and the Volta that they named the place Mina - meaning Mine. The Gold Coast was later adopted to by the English colonisers. Similarily, the French, equally impressed by the trinkets worn by the coastal people, named The Ivory Coast, Cote d'Ivoire.

In 1482, the Portuguese built a castle in Elmina. Their aim was to trade in gold, ivory and slaves. In 1481 King John II of Portugal sent Diego d'Azambuja to build this castle.

In 1598 the Dutch joined them, and built forts at Komenda and Kormantsil. In 1637 they captured the castle from the Portuguese and that of Axim in 1642 (Fort St Anthony). Other European traders joined in by the mid 18th century. These were the English, Danes and Swedes. The coastline were dotted by forts built by the Dutch, British and the Dane merchants. By the latter part of 19th century the Dutch and the British were the only traders left. And when the Dutch withdrew in 1874, Britain made the Gold Coast a crown colony.

In 1598 the Dutch joined them, and built forts at Komenda and Kormantsil. In 1637 they captured the castle from the Portuguese and that of Axim in 1642 (Fort St Anthony). Other European traders joined in by the mid 18th century. These were the English, Danes and Swedes. The coastline were dotted by forts built by the Dutch, British and the Dane merchants. By the latter part of 19th century the Dutch and the British were the only traders left. And when the Dutch withdrew in 1874, Britain made the Gold Coast a crown colony.

Political highlights

T1957 - independence, Nkrumah of CPP is PM, 2 key parties
1960 - declared republic, one party system, presidential system
1966 - military overthrow of 1st republic
1969 - 2nd republic, Busia of PP is PM, 2 key parties
1972 - military overthrow of 2nd republic
1978 - palace coup to restructure military government
1979 - junior officer uprising and military housecleaning
1979 - ushered third republic, Limann of PNP is President, 3 parties
1981 - overthrow of the constitutional PNP gov't by the PNDC military junta
1983 - attempted overthrow of the PNDC junta by other junior army men 1992 - Rawlings of NDC is Dem elected as President, 2 parties **
1996 - Rawlings of NDC is re-elected, 2 parties
2001 - Kuffour (NPP) is President

Summary: multiparty system: 16 years
military system: 21 years
one party system: 6 years

** fraud allegations led to an electoral boycott resulting in an effective one party system. Also, marks the first time when the head of a military regime had contested an election.

CLIMATE

Accra Weather

The climate of Ghana is tropical, but temperatures vary with season and elevation. Except in the north two rainy seasons occur, from April to July and from September to November. In the north the rainy season begins in April and lasts until September. Annual rainfall ranges from about 1,100 mm (about 43 in) in the north to about 2,100 mm (about 83 in) in the southeast. The harmattan, a dry desert wind, blows from the northeast from December to March, lowering the humidity and creating hot days and cool nights in the north. In the south the effects of the harmattan are felt in January. In most areas the highest temperatures occur in March, the lowest in August. The average annual temperature is about 26 degrees C (about 79 degrees F).

Average Temperatures

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