Ghana Recent History

British possession on the west coast of Africa; it was said that it had been visited in the Middle Ages by some European sailors but it is known with certainty that the first occupation took place in Ora del Mina (later Elmina) by the Portuguese in 1481.

In 1553 the British arrived and immediately after the Dutch. In 1642 a kind of exchange took place between the Portuguese and the Dutch: the former withdrew from what they called the “Costa de Ouro” in favor of the Dutch, and these renounced their rights to Brazil in their favor. Then both the British and the Dutch immediately started trading in slaves and gold.

According to Abbreviationfinder, an acronym site which also features history of Ghana, in 1871 the Dutch withdrew completely and the British, with the definitive abolition of the slave trade, demolished all their fortifications in the 19th century, letting the country organize its government on its own.

From that moment the connections with the inner areas began, there were some wars with the natives, especially Ashanti, and finally at the end of the century the town organized itself in what were called the “northern territories”.

Towards 1900 a substantial economic development policy was applied with the construction of railways and rehabilitation studies. After the Second World War, the Gold Coast acquired state sovereignty within the Commonwealth, the consequence of a British policy born during the war.

Ghana Recent History

He had a Legislative Council in 1946. The powers of this Council were extended shortly thereafter to the Ashanti protectorate territory, but not to those of Togo and the northern territories, which reached in 1950 when it was no longer a Legislative Council but a Legislative Assembly, of 104 members, all African and all elected. The Constitution was drafted under which elections were called.

In September 1954, a National Liberation Movement was formed in the Northern Territories which called for the revocation of the government of national unity for a federal one. This thesis was corroborated by the “Convention People’s Party”, led by Kwame Nkrumah, who emerged victorious from both the 1951 and 1954 elections. Since the issue could not be resolved, he resorted to the 1956 elections, which were equally won by Nkrumah.

Then a plebiscite was called by the United Nations in which the inhabitants of the territory of Togo, under British trusteeship, expressed themselves in favor of a union with the Côte d’Or, an independent state.

In 1957 the Gold Coast became an independent state of West Africa and became part of the Commonwealth. It took the name of Ghana, already belonging to an ancient empire that extended further north. And this state also included previous colonial possessions such as the Ashanti protectorate, the Northern Territories and the Togo protectorate.

The first Constitution was modified and then in 1958 the regional Assemblies were abolished, replaced, to legislate, by a National Assembly.

In November 1958 Nkrumah, Prime Minister of Ghana, signed an agreement with Sekou Tourè, Prime Minister of Guinea, to make the two states the nucleus of a Federation of Independent States in West Africa.

On June 30, 1960 Ghana, through a referendum, became a Republic and the President was Kwame Nkrumah; this young republic a month later supplied its troops to the United Nations to face the Congo crisis.

The president’s internal policy, based on authoritarianism, attracted several dissensions for which some ministers resigned. The opposition strengthened and in August 1962 in Kulungulu the president was the object of an attack.

In December 1963 some alleged perpetrators of the attack were acquitted, and then Nkrumah exonerated the president of the court A. Korsah.

In January 1964 the president suffered another attack. In 1965 the National Assembly was renewed and a Presidential Guard was established, distinct from the army, with which the President never had too friendly contacts.

The country’s subsequent economic difficulties, following the fall in the world cocoa price, Ghana’s largest export product, and the authoritarian excesses of Nkrumah, led to a coup.

In the absence of the president, at that time visiting Beijing, they dismissed him, the Constitution was suspended, a National Liberation Council was installed consisting of 4 army officers and 4 police officers, chaired by General RA Ankrah.
Within the country this council sought to remedy the difficulties and unemployment and initiated a reform plan. Abroad ties with the West were strengthened, relations with China were severed and controversy began with the Soviet Union. Relations with the neighboring countries improved, less than with Guinea, which was guilty of having hosted Nkrumah.

In April 1969 AA Afrifa replaced Ankrah in the National Liberation Council, readmitted legally some parties including K. Busia’s “Progress Party” and the “National Alliance of Liberals”, led by Gbedemah. In August the Second Republic was proclaimed; the single party is excluded; powers were divided and Busia formed the new government, while the presidency was taken over by E. Akufo Addo.

To limit economic difficulties, the government expelled all foreign workers and in 1971, with another crackdown, the government proposed a very austere budget forecast; spending and tax reductions were applied, and unions were finally suppressed.

In January 1972, in the absence of Busia, another coup d’etat handed the government over to a “National Redemption Council”. With it the bureaucratic and military privileges were restored, the foreign debts were canceled, especially those with Great Britain and somehow the international politics of Nkrumah that in April 1972 had died in Romania and whose body was partially revalued, requested and obtained, she was buried in her native country.

Ghana, in fact, reaffirmed Pan-African solidarity, reactivated trade with socialist countries, especially with China in agriculture.

In January 1973 the government affirmed its participation in the mining, gold and diamond-bearing activities, and with the successes obtained the trade balance of that year closed in equality. However, the world oil crisis came and all previous benefits were canceled. The difficulties and even the coups d’etat returned without the Council losing power.

But in October 1975 the council was replaced by the 7-member “Supreme Military Council” chaired by General IK Acheampong. This military regime met with great opposition and in July 1978 F. Akuffo took power and restored the civilian government. But failures and corruption of the ruling group triggered a coup led by Lieutenant J. Rawlings, who assumed power and had 8 members of the previous regime shot, including Afrifa, Acheampong and Akuffo.

There were other elections and another president but the scandals continued and then Rawlings, on December 31, 1981, abolished the Constitution and the parties and assumed power at the head of the “Provisional National Defense Council”, composed of military and civilians together. This state of affairs provoked vast dissensions everywhere and the years from 1983 to 1987 saw the succession of negative events, including a terrible drought and the return of a million Ghanaian citizens expelled from Nigeria.

A first step towards the reconstitution of a National Assembly was undertaken with the local elections of December 1988. In September 1989 there was another attempt at a coup d’etat and certainly if, after all these disorders, a national disaster did not come, it was due to the charisma of Rawlings who procured, despite everything, aid to the country from international bodies and foreign investments.

In 1991 the government entrusted a group of experts with the drafting of a new Constitution, which was approved by referendum on April 28, 1992, with which multi-partyism was approved, but with some reservations, which immediately put the opposition.


Immediately, starting in 1993, the economic situation worsened and then the government had to apply further austerity measures. This went on for a few months but in the spring of 1995 serious riots broke out due to the increase in both the prices of consumer goods and taxes. And to make matters worse, dangerous situations of tension between the different ethnic groups of the Nanumba and the Konkomba had arisen already in February of the previous year. An agreement was also reached between their representatives and yet in March 1995 the riots returned which soon led to violent clashes.

In December 1996, although with less popularity, Rawlings was re-elected to the presidential election while to the legislative elections, even if the victory went to the “National Democratic Congress”, another opposition force was highlighted, the “New Patriotic Party” which won 60 seats.

Rawlings also carried out an intense international political activity, between 1994 and 1996, intervening in person as a peace broker between the warring factions in the civil war of Liberia and making that country presided over by his peacekeepers, until January 1999. the same task was also carried out between 1998 and 1999 in Sierra Leone, another country devastated by the civil war.